How to Buy Eggs

Good morning all!

We know you must think we are crazy for talking about eggs less than one week after Easter but it’s our job to keep you on your toes!  We are often asked “does organic really make a difference”?  The answer is a resounding YES in the case of eggs.  We wanted to provide you an egg buying guide to understand the ins and outs of the egg labels you are seeing at the grocery store.  We know that many of you think “an egg is an egg”.   At one point in our lives it was true as most eggs were truly natural and the hens were raised under humane conditions.

A basket of farm fresh eggs, notice the color variation.

Originally all eggs came from a person’s own backyard or a farm and were raised in humane manner with the hens having access to the outdoors only to come in at night to the henhouse (if one was built for them) for protection from predators.  Times have changed for sure.  We won’t go into the details of raising poultry for productivity but through the definitions and images below you will get an idea as to why organic and pastured hens are the way to go for your acquiring your eggs.

So how do we choose our eggs?

You have probably seen the following choices.  Natural, cage-free, organic and pastured.  Here is a quickie run down on each.

  • Natural – Tells you NOTHING! It is an ambiguous term that can be used on anything that does not contain added colors, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.  You can read it straight from the FDA here.

This is the FDA's definition of "natural"! Photo courtesy of steve-edwards.blogspot.com

  • Cage-Free – This means the birds were not confined to a cage but many spend their life in a crowded barn.  Similarly “free-range” birds have outdoor access but that word to focus on is “access”.  How much and how long can be minimal.

Cage-free. Not the warm and fuzzy image marketeers would like us to believe. Photo courtesy of cwrl.utexas.edu

  • Organic – This indicates cage-free, hormone and antibiotic free and fed an organic vegetarian diet.  This is going to be the most widely available choice for most of us.

  • Pastured – The OH favorite! These can be difficult to find but the birds are able to roam the fields the way nature intended.  They can forage for insects and grass which produce healthier and tastier eggs.

Ahhh, this is how all of our chicken should be raised! Photo courtesy of fr.wikipedia.org

We hope you found this egg buying guide helpful and will spend the extra dollar or two to buy organic and pastured eggs whenever possible.  At a later date we will provide the major health benefits of eggs and some different ways to prepare them.

In the meantime continue to enjoy your journey of healthy living and learning!

Love and hugs to all!

Donna and Daniela

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