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Smashing Eggs

July 30, 2012

Congratulations to Burnt My Fingers and Fuddley for winning the All Good Bakers egg and cheese sandwich on a bialy giveaway. Irisira also won a sandwich, but you already knew that.

You know what else you seem to know?

That eggs raised locally on a small scale are better than those raised in gigantic factory farm operations, even if the latter happen to be close to home. Well Stevo isn’t convinced. And he’s actually far from alone. But I have to say that I think this has been the best contest yet on the FLB. Not necessarily because of the value of the prize or the volume of the response. But because your entry comments were truly illuminating.

I know you all are busy, and probably didn’t have time to quantify the comments left last week to learn about your fellow FLB readers. But I did. And I’ve been doing a little bit of follow up research regarding eggs as well. Oh boy. I wish I could unlearn what I discovered.

First the good news.
There seem to be plenty of readers with backyard chicken connections. Whether you have hens yourself, if they belong to a loved one, or if you have a financial arrangement with a friend who keeps chickens, well over 10% of you have access to some amazing eggs.

I was also impressed with the sheer variety of local farms that were mentioned, and I’m looking forward to checking some of them out myself on those off weeks when my own backyard chicken connection falls through. Elihu Farm was the most popular by a wide margin, but others got their eggs from the following list of purveyors:

Cooper’s Ark Farm
Cornell Farms
Feather Ridge Farms
Brookside Farm
Mountain Winds Farm
Homestead Farms
Tilldale Farm
Weston Hill Farm
Jus-Lin Farms
Wind Drift Farms

Now these are too small to show up on the Cornucopia Institute’s report card on organic egg producers. But some of the other names that readers brought up are indeed covered by this watchdog organization. Brands like 4Grain, Giroux and Pete & Gerry are sold at Price Chopper, Hannaford and ShopRite. And at I’ve bought them all in the past thinking that they were all a pretty good option. In fact, Giroux being local has seen more than its fair share of budget from the Fussies.

Those days are over. Thanks to the tremendous work the Cornucopia Institute has done in trying to untangle marketing from practice.

The institute ranks organic egg producers on a scale of one to five, with one being the worst and five being the best. Of those three big brands, Pete & Gerry actually does pretty well. They come in at three eggs. Right in the middle.

However, when I took a closer look at their report card, I was not pleased with what I found.

For example at Pete & Gerry’s, while there are no cages, it’s awfully crowded as each bird is only allocated 1.4 square feet of space. With only 3-6 exits to the outside per house, it’s not easy for the hens to get into the sunlight, where there is no pasture, but rather a combination of living vegetation and dirt. Still, all the hens couldn’t be outside at once anyhow as the space can only accommodate 65% of the birds.

Oh, and despite seeming relatively happy, Pete & Gerry’s beaks their birds.

And Cornucopia rates them the best of the three. Although to be fair, Giroux got low marks because they didn’t disclose any information. The funny thing about Giroux is that they used to carry the Certified Humane label. Except now they don’t. And there could totally be a good reason for that. Applegate Farms also dropped their certification. Perhaps they didn’t feel being certified was valuable. Perhaps they weren’t so keen on being inspected. It’s hard to say without visiting the farm. Maybe I’ll have to find my way there and check it out someday.

The other good piece of news to come out of this giveaway is the knowledge that Nighthawks Kitchen also uses better eggs for their sandwiches, in the form of those from Wind Drift Farms in Poestenkill.

When it comes to delicious egg and cheese sandwiches, the more the merrier.

There are still plenty of you who are unconvinced by the above and continue to buy conventional eggs at the big supermarkets for a variety of reasons. Another time, I’ll try and see if I can bring you over to my side of the fence. I’m glad to know that I’m not entirely preaching to the choir. But perhaps these recent posts have already been food for thought.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2012 9:46 am

    I am delighted to have egg all over my face, figuratively speaking… thank you! Britin, I look forward to claiming this bounty and also ordering a side of your legendary gazpacho.

    • July 30, 2012 9:58 am

      Congratulations BMF! (and Fuddley) Our soup this week is Cold Cucumber Honeydew Habanero. I’ll ask Nick about making more Gazpacho next week! We look forward to seeing you :) Thanks, everyone, for playing!

  2. July 30, 2012 10:18 am

    I want a backyard chicken connection. Who can I pay for eggs???

    • July 30, 2012 11:30 am

      All of the farmers (who sell fresh eggs) at the Saturday Delmar Farmers market raise the chickens as if they were “backyard” – small flocks, allowed to roam, non-gmo feed, etc. There are more egg vendors than ever this year, so if you come to the market early enough, you should be able to get some! I think they are usually $3.50-4.50 a doz. :)

  3. July 30, 2012 12:10 pm

    My husband and I enjoyed All Good Baker’s egg and cheese for the first time this weekend. We had ours on their weekends-only croissants, though. It was probably the best thing that I’ve eaten in a year. I am anxious to go back and try a bialy egg and cheese (I did bring a bialy home), but I’m not sure that I could pass up the croissant if it was available.

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