Neighborhood Eggs

March 25, 2014

local eggs

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Here I am, waving hello from a plane to New York. Hello there!

It’s a short trip. I’ll fly back to California on Thursday — but I have a packed schedule full of meetings, errands and events. I always love a visit to New York!

One funny thing is that snow is expected in the city this week. Funny to me because we’ve been in shorts for the past couple of weeks in Oakland. So yesterday I was hunting down gloves and hats in the back of my closet as I packed, and getting advice on whether or not there would be enough snow to need my winter boots.

But the thing I want to tell you most is that we found a neighbor who keeps chickens and we asked her if we could buy a dozen each week! This has me grinning like it’s the biggest news ever!!

I realize I’m unreasonably happy about it. It’s not like there aren’t eggs in every single grocery store in the entire country. It’s just that we Loved-with-a-capital-L eating eggs from our neighbor in France — we even made an Olive Us episode about it! The chickens roamed free on the little farm and we could see them from our window. The yolks were huge and orange instead of yellow, and the eggs were so delicious! We ate at least a dozen each week — boiled, scrambled, or poached.

We assumed we’d get re-adusted to the standard U.S. eggs when we moved back, because we weren’t picky about them at all in years past, but it turns out we haven’t re-adjusted. In fact, we’ve pretty much stopped eating eggs altogether except in baking. And we’ve missed them. So I’m hoping these local eggs will expand our menu once again.

We just got them yesterday and I haven’t even eaten one yet, but they’ll keep till I get home. I’m crossing my fingers they are as delicious as they are beautiful! It’s a little hard to tell in the photo, but the pale ones are a wonderful shade of green/blue/grey. The only thing left to decide is whether we’ll keep them in fridge or on the counter. : )

Tell me friends, have you ever had a similar experience? Maybe had a particular bread, or cheese, or fruit, or ice cream that was so good that you were spoiled for all other versions after that? Or maybe you buy eggs from your neighbor too? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — I feel like such a food snob about these eggs! I shake my head at myself when I think about it.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ Little Nesting Doll March 25, 2014 at 7:46 am

We buy all of our meat from a farm about 45 minutes away from our house. It’s grass-fed, organic, free-range…all the right adjectives. And it is simply SO MUCH MORE DELICIOUS than any meat you can buy in a grocery store that I can’t even imagine going back, even for one meal. The added bonuses that it’s better for us and good for the environment and the local economy are great, but the taste is reason enough on it’s own. :)

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2 Bambi March 25, 2014 at 7:48 am

That is great! I would love to have local eggs!!!

Greetings from Germany and please take a chance today:

http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/03/take-chance.html

Love,

Bambi

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3 Stacy March 25, 2014 at 7:54 am

For about 9 months we had 8 hens laying every day, enough eggs for our family of 4 and my in-laws…all but 1 laid the green/blue eggs…we fed them all of our table scraps along with their feed and the free range stuff they ate and I will tell you what, those were the richest, yummiest eggs ever so I know exaxtly what you mean about the gorgeous orange yolks, so much more tasty than store bought….sadly some creature (possibly a raccoon or fox) decided to take out the chickens 1 by 1 :( and they were gone before we could take out the creature. for now, we buy cage free brown eggs at the store which are better than the white, but still sadly lacking.

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4 Anne March 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

While I can easily imagine that the neighborhood eggs taste better, I am amazed that you only need a dozen a week! We must be considered big egg eaters as 3 of us can easily use 18 a week just for breakfast, never mind baking.

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5 Karen March 25, 2014 at 8:38 am

My parents live in Sonoma and have five hens that are each about five years old. They still lay eggs but have slowed a bit. My parents are moving back to the peninsula and are looking for a good home for the egg layers. Not sure they would produce enough for your family (they get about one egg per day), but if you decide to give chicken ownership a try, I can hook you up!

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6 Stephanie (afunhouse) March 25, 2014 at 8:41 am

Our local farmer’s eggs are fabulous, too, and we really love and appreciate their huge, orange flavorful yolks but I think my love for our Organic Valley cooperative pasture butter is on par with your neighborhood egg adoration! In the Upper Midwest the cows can only graze for part of the year so we get butter fresh from the pasture grazed cows in small batches. When our stash of pasture butter runs out, I admit, I complain about every pound of ‘just plain old organic butter’ I grudgingly use until we have more fresh from the pasture grazed cows! The difference is absolutely amazing- creamy, bright yellow and full of incredible earthy scent. It’s made me into an (unapologetically vocal) butter snob (for which I am happily teased by my family!) so I completely understand where you’re coming from! Enjoy those eggs!

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7 Morah March 25, 2014 at 8:44 am

I am an American living outside of the USA (and not even in a foodie culture country like France) and I am also astounded by the eggs when I go back to the USA for a visit. The watery pale yolks gross me out. I’m a huge egg lover and always have been but I am totally put off by them. There is something very wrong about they way eggs are raised in the US.

Thank goodness for farmers’ markets! Even at $5+ per dozen they’re well worth it.

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8 mau March 25, 2014 at 8:50 am

Once you get used to eating free range eggs, you’ll never go back to the store-bought ones. I buy mine from the veg guy (which he gets from local farmers). They taste completely different from the eggs I used to buy from the supermarket. So tasty!

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9 Amy March 25, 2014 at 8:52 am

I love getting fresh eggs from the farmers market. So tasty! I traveled to Mexico last year and ate freshly made tortillas from scratch. Even the corn was freshly ground! I have been ruined ever since. Can’t eat a store bought tortilla now.

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10 annie March 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

when we lived in peru i got totally spoiled for cheap/ripe/big avacados and cheap/fresh/delicious bread.
everyday there was a guy with a cart full of avacados in the neighborhood, and he’d ask if i wanted to eat the avacados that day or the next and depending on my answer would select those with the ideal ripeness. plus they were like $0.30 an avacoado, and they were way bigger than the hass variety (pics here http://seymourchase.blogspot.com/2010/04/emerging-patterns.html). and just up the street was the neighborhood panaderia where i’d buy a dozen freshly baked rolls for less than a dollar. It was so delicious – and was so disappointing to return to the states and have to shell out a $1-2 for a little avacado that i had to put on the counter and wait as it ripened. we hardly eat them anymore. my hope is to someday live somewhere where i can grow an avacado tree in our yard …or have a generous neighbor who does :)

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11 Angela DeMuro March 25, 2014 at 8:57 am

Ha! I love this post! We buy our eggs from a neighbor too! and they do taste better and feel better, as we know they come from happy chickens:) And I have to say they are so beautiful to look at in a wire basket in the kitchen!

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12 Ann March 25, 2014 at 9:02 am

I recently discovered Kerrygold butter — butter from grass-fed Irish cows — and I won’t be going back. There’s a marked difference in taste between it and regular store-bought butter.

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13 marie March 25, 2014 at 9:03 am

I grew up in the mountains and live in the city now (for many years actually). The number 1 thing I ‘order’ from my mother when she comes to see me: eggs. I totally understand what you mean !

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14 bdaiss March 25, 2014 at 9:05 am

Don’t feel like a snob! More people need to get out of the grocery stores and talking to their local farmers! (Even if that means “the neighbor who happens to keep a few chickens”.) Our food system is sadly broken right now and the only way to fix it is if enough people send the message that factory food is not healthy, real food and we’ve had enough. As an added benefit, you’ll be supporting a family rather than a corporation.

And no – you really do not want to know what goes on with standard US eggs. But you should. This short film gives a great explanation behind all the kinds of eggs you’ll find in a grocery store: http://www.pbs.org/food/features/the-lexicon-of-sustainability-the-story-of-an-egg/ You’ll never look at grocery store eggs the same. Lexicon of Sustainability (http://www.lexiconofsustainability.com/) is a great resource for those looking to move away from factory food.

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15 Mindi March 25, 2014 at 9:05 am

A few years ago, someone on Freecycle was selling eggs from their chickens. They would deliver them to my doorstep every Tuesday for $4/dozen! It was great. Eventually their chickens stopped producing and I think they moved away. I sure miss getting the fresh eggs. I really need to look into getting them again after reading your post.

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16 barchbo March 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

How wonderful! I wanted to raise my own chickens for the eggs and the educational experience for my kids…but I am afraid of birds.

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17 Stacia March 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm

You can very easially cut the tips of the wing feathers on a chicken so they cAnt fly,…if this is the root of your phobia. Chicken keeping is so fun!

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18 Tania March 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

A guy at my husband’s work sells eggs in the summer and we buy from him. Or from Whole Foods, although I don’t like wasting those on baking. :) Have you ever noticed how much harder the shells are on free-range eggs?

It is my husband’s dream to keep chickens one day (when we have a yard, not just a balcony) and I’m all on board, but we like to travel and go away on weekends and I wonder whether that’s compatible with hen-ownership. Anyone has experience in this field?

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19 ElizaH March 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

I live in a rural area where every street has one person that sells eggs…but they slow production in the winter and even in the summer if you don’t get there before 8 or 9 am they’re sold out! But the difference in taste is amazing!

I wish I could afford to buy non-homogenized whole milk (organic, but still pasteurized for us) because I LOVE the taste difference…and the clotted cream that rises to the top, but the price is astronomical.

I also used to eat fresh figs when I lived in Australia (as they grew in my yard), but i’ve never found them to be very good at all when imported to Canada…

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20 Shanna March 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

Obviously its time you got your own chickens! Its really not very hard. Ours live in a coop under our back deck. We have a pulley that opens the chicken door for them to free range, so we don’t even have to go outside when its raining. We have a tiny yard across from City Hall if we can do it anyone can. Its a fun adventure to get chicks and then get eggs from those chicks. Great Olive Us episodes ahead!

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21 Amy3 March 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

Keeping chickens is a cherished dream of mine (along with beekeeping and running an inn!). The next best thing would be getting eggs from a neighbor.

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22 mary m March 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

Are they cleaning the eggs first? If so, put em in the fridge! If not, don’t!

I’m lucky in that 2 co-workers have chickens, and they bring eggs to work each week. Only $3 a dozen! Love it :)

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23 Gabriele March 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

Your post today coincided with my trip to the neighborhood farm stand. I so agree about fresh eggs. I had to write about our little farm.
http://backontheflooragain.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-farm-stand.html

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24 Jennifer March 25, 2014 at 11:19 am

I hear you! We bought eggs from a local organic/biodynamic farmer when we lived in Australia, not really knowing how very delicious they were. When we returned to the States, none of us could stomach supermarket eggs. We now have 3 chickens of our own! We are quite smitten with them, too.

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25 Emily March 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I went to Greece last summer and realized I have been getting shortchanged on feta cheese my entire life! Now I can’t get excited about the American version but I daydream about creamy, fruity Greek feta.

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26 Hanna (mapart.me) March 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

When I was in Italy 13 years ago fruits, especially peaches, were so delicios I stopped to eat them at home (in Poland) for more than 10 years. I totally understand what you say about eggs!

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27 Hanna (mapart.me) March 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I mean I stopped to eat peaches, not all fruits of course :)

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28 Zoe - SlowMama March 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I am a food snob — and proud of it :-) With the exception of a baking emergency, we get all our eggs from either an Amish farmer or a local farmer. In the winter, there not quite as yummy, since they are not eating fresh grass and bugs, but one spring through fall, they are amazing. I couldn’t go back.

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29 Mari March 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I was just talking to a friend about this yesterday. I am a snob about peas. Growing up we always had peas from the garden, fresh when in season and then frozen to last through the year. I can’t get myself to eat store bought peas still. I do grow my own but not enough to freeze them for the winter. My mom has promised a delivery of peas soon!
We have chickens and the eggs are very special. They just started laying again a few weeks ago so we are enjoying eggs for breakfast again.

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30 Sandra March 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

My husband raises chickens. The blue/green eggs are sometimes called “Easter Eggs”. Perfect timing for a no fuss Easter Egg hunt! Do your eggs come pre-washed? If so, they may not be okay to leave on the counter.

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31 jovana March 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

you’re not a food snob at all! free range/homebred eggs are amazing and so so different from the “regular” stuff. i live on a small farm (i guess it’s not really a farm, we just have a tiny orchard, some chickens and a vegetable patch) – it’s my in-laws’, we came to live with them when we got married. when i moved here i suddenly started liking eggs, i’d never cared much for them before. and when i bake a cake for my friends they all wonder why it’s so yellow!

and the best thing is, my father-in-law says it’s actually cheaper to feed them corn and wheat and stale bread and whatnot and let them graze than to buy industrial chicken feed with hormones, antibiotics etc.

growing up, my grandparents had a little farm like that too, so i’ve always been aware of the difference between supermarket food and homegrown. it’s worth noting that after i moved here i only got sick once in the first two years, whereas before i used to get sick every couple of months. (that’s only changed now because i’ve got a toddler to chase all day and no time to eat properly, but i’m working on it!). the difference when you eat homegrown, non-chemically treated food is incredible. as for food snobism, i’d say i’m a tomato snob because my father-in-law grows the best tomatoes i’ve ever tasted and it’s my favourite vegetable. i couldn’t go back to store bought.

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32 Eva March 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I’m a total egg snob. It makes such a big difference.

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33 Jenn J. March 25, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I’ve heard the difference between store bought and home grown eggs. I hope to try them soon.

But along your note of things that are ruined for you since moving back to the states… I cannot stand US tomatoes. After studying abroad, I’ve become a tomato snob. I only eat tomatoes when they are in season now… SO much better!

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34 Ellie March 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Tomatoes! When I spend the summer in Italy I can’t eat tomatoes after I’m back in Canada. And we ship olive oil. I haven’t have the egg epiphany even if my parents have chicken, but I don’t really want to…

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35 Hannah March 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

I feel the same about eggs! We’ve always had free-range chickens on our family farm so I’ve been spoiled by those bright orange yokes that only seem to come from the happiest chickens. Now that I’m away at university I rarely eat eggs because they just don’t taste the same. I can’t wait to go home in the summer and mix up some egg salad or eat a whole in one for breakfast.

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36 Kirsty@Bonjour March 26, 2014 at 12:09 am

Baguette! Since coming back from France I can’t eat the equivalent here. People will say, ‘oh, try so-and-so, their bread was baked fresh yesterday’. But when you are used to the bread coming out of the oven the hour before the lunchtime rush, you get really spoiled! I really need to learn how to bake my own.

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37 Ariana {And Here We Are...} March 26, 2014 at 4:11 am

I am definitely spoiled when it comes to eggs– we have so many resources in rural England for getting eggs from “happy hens.” But my favorite are the ones I buy nearby– I have to take the most charming walk to get them, and the chickens are named. Sometimes I find a green egg in my carton with a note that it was laid by the sweet Auracana named Margot!
If you’d like to come with my on my walk to buy eggs, you can do so by following this link: http://andhereweare.net/2013/12/charming-way-to-buy-eggs.html

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38 Kimberly March 26, 2014 at 9:23 pm

We get raw milk, raw cream, raw pastured butter and eggs (we eat eggs every day!) from a farmer near us and I am totally spoiled…I don’t want to drink pasturized milk or eat regular eggs anymore! :)

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39 Jessica March 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm

The good news is there are lots of great, pasture-raised eggs available in the Bay Area. You can check out the eatwild.com site for various farms, but my absolute favorite is eatwell farm out in Dixon- the eggs are amazing and you can visit the chickens for various farm events (such as strawberry picking days coming up soon). You may have to join the CSA for veggies in order to get the eggs though…. But I would highly suggest trying it!!

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