You’ve made the smart choice and have decided to buy pastured eggs. Great! But is choosing pastured over conventional the only decision you need to make or is there more to know? For instance, are all pastured eggs equally nutritious? Is there a difference between brown eggs and white eggs? Here are a few things to consider when buying your next carton of eggs:
Don’t Worry About the Color of the Egg
There is a misconception that different colored eggs mean that one egg is better for you than another. This is simply not true. The difference in the egg color comes from what type of hen laid the egg. For example, a White Leghorn hen will lay white eggs while Rhode Island Red hens lay brown eggs. And while not commonly seen in the grocery store, there are blue eggs, green eggs, and even speckled eggs — all with no difference besides the shell color (and sometimes the size).
Ask Your Farmer the Right Questions
There are a few questions you can ask your farmer to determine whether you have found the appropriate egg source. These include:
- What do you feed your chickens? Pastured chickens typically have a diet consisting of grass and grubs. However, it is not uncommon for this to be supplemented with soy and corn. Because soy and corn are typically GMO products, it is important to ask your farmer if this is a concern.
- What happens to the roosters? Hens are the moneymakers in the egg industry, but not all chicks a farmer receives are hens. This brings the question, “what happens to the roosters?” Unfortunately, in commercial egg farms and hatcheries, it is common practice to dispose of the roosters in various (and often questionable) ways. By asking this simple question, you will gain insight into the ethics and standards of the farm.
Appreciate the Imperfections
Pastured eggs will come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Some may even have a little dirt or straw on them. At Rafter W Ranch, we gently wipe off any straw or dirt that may have stuck to the egg but don’t be alarmed if we missed a little bit. A damp rag will do the trick.
Bonus Tip: Be sure to ask your farmer the best way to store your eggs. Commercial eggs are usually washed before they are shipped to the store. Though this process removes most bacteria and dirt from the egg, it also removes the bloom on the egg. This, in turn, allows the pores to open, leaving the egg vulnerable to contamination. Whether a farm washes their eggs before selling them will vary from farm to farm. If your eggs have not been immersed in water they do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. These eggs, like the eggs from Rafter W Ranch, can be stored right on your kitchen counter.
In addition to our pasture-raised meats, Rafter W Ranch offers delicious, soy and corn free pastured eggs. Stop by our website to get your order started.