We have all heard about the recent recall of over half a billion eggs due to salmonella, and if you have seen any of the documentaries such as Food Inc., you know all about the factory farming conditions which contribute to outbreaks such as this. This mainstream media attention has brought a new spotlight on the problem and I think that it will go a long way in helping people make the right choices in their purchasing decisions in the future, but I feel that it is important to note the vast differences that farming conditions have on the quality of the eggs beyond food safety issues.
The picture shown above is one that I took while making dinner one night. I had just been to the farmers market and bought a dozen eggs from my local farmer, market buddy, and “eggman”, Wes of Wag Organic Eggs. I still had one of the “cage free, vegi-fed” eggs in my fridge from my previous trip to the grocery store and so I cracked that one first. Then cracked in one of Wag Organic Eggs’ pasture raised and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic eggs. Can you guess which is which? The egg with the dark orange healthy yolk comes from a free range chicken that has been raised out at pasture and along with being fed an organic chicken feed, goes about its daily life eating all the things that are natural to a chicken’s diet, such as grass, grubs, and bugs, while the egg with the yellow yolk came from a chicken that was fed an all vegetarian diet, most likely indoors and without access to pasture.
Not only do the pasture raised farm fresh eggs taste better (which I can personally attest to), but they are also much higher in vitamin D because the chickens are raised outdoors…and that is a vitamin that Oregonians such as me tend to be seriously lacking due to our long 9 month rainy season!
Pasture raised is better for the land as well, not contributing to factory farm run-off pollution issues and instead fertilizing the soil and providing a healthier environment for the chickens. Next time you need eggs, consider buying them direct from a local farm that pasture raises their chickens. They may cost an extra buck or two, but isn’t it worth it to know that you are bringing home the healthiest possible products?