Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can you pick out the organic, free range egg?

Eggs from happy, free roaming chickens are measurably different from your regular grocery store variety.  Besides the issues of antibiotics, hormones and the like in industrially raised eggs, there are some vast differences in taste between the two.  It makes sense really. Eggs carry the energy from where they came from.  Battery hens in cramped conditions laying egg after egg without ever seeing the light of day could not produce the type of egg a healthy chicken would.  Taste the difference yourself.  

Be wary of terms like "organic", "cage free", or "free range" on supermarket eggs.  Organic simply means that the chicken is eating organic feed, they can still be living in cramped, indoor barns. Cage free is equally ambiguous.  A barn crammed full of chickens, without basic sunlight or fresh air, can produce "cage free" eggs.

Your best bet is to find a local farmer that can supply you with eggs.  Go visit them.  Any time we've ever moved I've had to source our farmers to supply us with the quality of food we wanted.  It's a wonderful experience to speak with the people that produce your food, to share in their passion. We've been so grateful to have made such incredible friendships through our search for healthy food. It's also a wonderful experience to share with kids.  Teaching our children what healthy animals look like, how they are raised, and how we can make a difference by purchasing food locally is a benefit to them and their communities in the future.


  1. What makes the yolk so much brighter? Also, I noticed some egg shells are very thin and fragile - is the an indication of anything?

  2. Hi Carlitta,

    Well, the yolk being brighter in this case is because the chickens were outside consuming plants that allowed them to produce healthy, vitamin A laden yolks. The problem with using this as in indication of healthy eggs is that commercially raised layers are sometimes fed things in their diets (marigold petals for example) to make their yolks more yellow, making the consumer think it's from a healthier hen.

    Weak shells may be indicative of inadequate or imbalanced minerals in the hen's diet.

    You really want to pay attention to the weight of the egg, the strength of the shell, and knowing where the animal came from. You may also notice, in the picture, that some of the eggs don't seem as 'perky' as the others, with well defined, uppity yolks - the snobs of the bunch :)

    You may also like to check out this recent post I wrote on selecting fresh eggs for more clarification.

    Thanks for the questions. Let me know how your search goes.


  3. Love this post! We have been studying eggs in our home-school. My family can really taste the difference in the eggs from the local farmer vs. the "cage-free" and now I don't want to eat anything else.

  4. Hi Gluten-Free Dish,

    I totally agree. I can't even choke down a commercial egg anymore. They give me the willies.