Whenever I’m in the grocery store standing in front of the endless varieties of eggs, I have the same conversation in my head. Sometimes this conversation occurs out loud and that’s when I know I need to walk away. It goes a little something like this.
What type of eggs are worth the extra money? Are these really local or three states away? Is that better than the non-local but free range? Cost vs. quality? And most importantly, why can’t they be organic, free range and local all in one package?
Is it just me or do you go through this in the egg isle too? Maybe you’re one to stick with the familiar brands that are more widely known? I’m throwing you a lot of questions, I know. If you are still a bit perplexed on the different labels and find yourself frustrated and ending up with the usual dozen, I’ll break it down for you here.
Organic ~ my favorite label, covering most of what I value in an egg. The chickens are able to roam outside, live cage free, fed organic grains and humanly raised.
Free Range ~ to remember this one think “Free Bird” and you’ll know they are let outside to roam free. Not all caged up and stuffed together under one roof. The tiny issue with this label is that it isn’t regulated by the USDA so while you are hoping they are true to the standards of free range, no one is checking.
Cage Free ~ The hens are not caged as the label suggests, but this doesn’t guarantee they are outdoors or have access to an outdoor area. Another issue with this label is not having any USDA regulation so who knows what they are fed, how they are treated and what standards they are living in. In theory, it sounds good when you see it on the carton but it may or may not be all it’s cracked up to be. (I was waiting for a reason to use that line!)
There are several other labels given to eggs either as add-ons or stand alone. These add even more confusing information to the process of egg buying. Things like, Omega-3, vegetarian fed and high in certain vitamins. Those are more personal preferences if you feel you need extra Omegas or want your egg-layers to be vegetarian. Personally, I choose first from the list above and second consider the other items a bonus.
Where does all this leave you? I’m hoping I’ve given you a few useful tips for your next trip to the store. Some good food for thought!
For me, the best eggs are from local farms, organically raised in a humane setting. I’m lucky enough to find those at several farms around the area where I live or in any of our health food stores. But I know the best eggs would come from my own back yard!