Wednesday, June 26, 2013

buying local

last week i was out of eggs.

and i thought i might could stop by a house where they have a sign out that says they have eggs and stuff for sale. i know the people; the woman is a church organist at a nearby church and we are friendly.

so i pull up in the driveway and i ask what she's charging for a dozen eggs.

four dollars.

...which is a dollar a dozen more than what i'm used to, but these are special organic really, really free range eggs. that's what she says.

but then we go up into the house to get the eggs - and you have to picture this place, because back behind their hedgerow they live in a log house with stone paths and a barely tame garden spilling out in wild green abandon all over the place and there are not just free range chickens, but ducks and geese and peafowl and a turkey running around with a brood of new chicks -

so anyway, we go into the house, which is full of violins and cellos and potato sets and jars and jars of honey and maple syrup and we're talking about eggs and stuff and she asks if i like duck eggs and i say i've never had duck eggs, so she tosses one of them in my box and i mention that i used to barter soups and ice creams for my eggs but the guy let go of his flock and she says she likes barter and she knows i make bread which she can use, but then she asks me what i use for sweetener because they don't eat processed sugars and when i tell her that i do use white sugar, she hands me a quart of grade c maple so i can use it for baking things i can trade back to her for eggs and then on the way out we stop at the garden and she throws in a bag of kale, spinach, and chard just because.

that's a lot of value for my four dollars.

today (that's last week to you) i fried the duck egg and a chicken egg side by side for lunch just as a taste test.

quite frankly, if you're eating chicken eggs out of a lot of yards and a lot of breeds with different feed you don't get used to any one particular flavor of egg because they're all pretty much egg-flavored and even though there are differences in taste,  good free range eggs are good free range eggs and i don't notice much of a difference between the duck egg and the chicken eggs.

if you'd 'a' put either of the eggs next to a supermarket egg i would have been able to taste a difference, but to me the variation between duck and chicken wasn't any bigger than the difference between different kinds of chicken and since the boxes i buy tend to be all a mix, i'm used to variation.

if you are not an eater of real free range eggs, it boils down to this: when the chickens get to run around free and eat what they please, bugs and grass and whatever looks good to them, the eggs have a richer flavor.

and oh, baby! these things were rich and delicious. i am thinking that if this woman wants to trade things, i will just put her on my list and drop some of whatever i'm making off at her house whenever i have it.





duck egg on the right.

7 comments:

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

well to this city gal that was interesting!! Never had a duck egg.
Never tasted a free range chicken egg either but would like to taste the difference!!

Kristin @ Going Country said...

To me, the difference between a store egg and a real egg is not a richer flavor, but rather an absence of a disgusting sulfur flavor that I ALWAYS taste in even "good" store eggs.

I don't like how much yolk there is in duck eggs for fried eggs, but they are THE BEST for custards and things.

flask said...

here's an update for you guys: yesterday i went out to ann's to bring what i;d made her and get some more eggs.

she tossed a few peafowl eggs in my box but to make a full dozen she had to go out to the henhouse and pick fresh from under a chicken.

i am glad to know that duck eggs make awesome custard.

GDad said...

GPop buys the "organic" eggs from the store. These are eggs that have more packaging than Lunchables. There's a farm around the corner from our house that sells a dozen brown eggs for $2.50. I keep pointing that out to GPop, but he doesn't go there for whatever reason.

flask said...

gdad: maybe you should tell him that "organic" storeboughten eggs are nearly always from horribly caged chickens, even when the box says "cage free".

for a long time i was buying "cage free" eggs, but then i saw some pictures of what that really means: no actual bars, but still packed in on a floor inhumanely tight and until i found local yard chickens, i just quit using eggs at all.

plus eggs from thehouse around the corner won't have been power washed with chemical solvent and will therefore keep longer in your fridge.

storeboughten eggs HAVE to be powerwashed because the chickens are kept in filthy conditions and the washing in solvents takes a lot of the protective covering of the shell off.

Zhoen said...

I have a work friend who keeps chickens. And I buy her eggs, ignoring the discount she would give me - I always pay her full price. Because those eggs are wonderful, and I often have her especially thank her hens for me. I even like 'em hard boiled. (I steam them, but same idea.)

I'd love to try duck eggs.

Friko said...

Only free-range eggs in this household. Most farm gates round here have a basket of eggs and an old tin for the money at their gates.

Battery farms should be banned everywhere but I know that most supermarket pre-cooked foods have battery hen’s eggs in them.

I enjoyed reading your blog; you are refreshingly different.

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