Eggs are America’s number one favorite breakfast item. They’re so versatile, which makes the possibilities for breakfast endless: omelets, french toast, Eggs Benedict, egg-in-a-cage. Or maybe you like them scrambled, sunny side up, or hard boiled? In recent months, the price for conventional (store-bought) eggs has fluctuated. It saw a steep increase in 2022 due to production costs and an avian flu epidemic. Now, it is slowly starting to come back down a little. Consumers have taken to the their local farms and farmers markets trying to obtain cheaper eggs to feed their families. This has spurred questions regarding what the difference is between farm-fresh eggs, and store-bought eggs.
Are fresh eggs better tasting than store-bought?
In my and my kids’ opinion, fresh eggs are better tasting. Because our chickens, like many “backyard” or local farm chickens, free range most of the day, their diet consists of much more than layer feed. They get a lot of bugs, plants, and the occasional small rodent. Yes, chickens eat small rodents! They also get scraps from our kitchen, such as carrots, cucumber skin, leftover veggies, sometimes scrambled eggs from breakfast, even. Much of what we have leftover, or scraps others might throw in the garbage/compost pile, our chickens get.
Our chickens even get the occasional treat of watermelon, or frozen fruit/veggies, which cool them on these hot summer days. Needless to say, this diet of theirs packs a lot of flavors, which in turn enhance the flavor of their eggs. Whatever way you prefer to eat your eggs, they still taste better than store-bought. This is true, even if you don’t enhance them with spices or special cooking techniques.
Do fresh eggs differ in nutrition than store bought?
The answer here is, yes! You can actually see the difference in fresh eggs versus store-bought, as the fresh eggs are a very bright yellow or orange. That is the nutrition! A chicken’s diet consisting of mostly grain and other light colored items is going to make a pale yellow egg color. But chickens who eat a variety of colorful items, including fresh grass, which contain beta-carotene or other carotenoids, are what give you a deeper, richer color yellow or orange. Carotenoids are extremely good for your health, as they help fight cancer, improve eye health, and boost your immunity.
Since most store-bought eggs come from chickens who are not considered free-range, the health benefits of the eggs from farm-fresh/free-range chickens far surpass those of the store-bought eggs. According to this article by Rutgers University, there are many other benefits besides fighting cancer, or improving eye health. Vitamins that give you an extra boost from the farm egg are D, B, E and A. You also get twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which we all know are good for your brain.
Which do you prefer?
Aside from the prices for store-bought eggs, which have hit consumer’s pockets hard this last year, why would you prefer a farm-fresh egg over a store-bought one? If you get a better tasting egg, one that is higher in nutrition and comes from a place where you know the chickens are fed and treated well, the option to pick seems clear.
Farm-fresh eggs differ greatly from store-bought eggs, indeed. That difference makes them the best option! Choosing to support a nearby farmer, or friends with their own backyard chickens, supports families in your local community. It also means supporting a healthy local community. What an eggs-cellent idea!