Brandmoore Farm, Brookford Farm, Burnt Swamp Farm, Coppal House Farm, Hurd Farm, Jesta Farm, Kellie Brook Farm, Meadow’s Mirth Farm, Mona Farm, Our Place Farm, Patridge Farm, and Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm will all be bringing our featured food, eggs, to our April 13 Winter Farmers’ Market in Exeter!
Eggs are quite abundant in the springtime, as chickens respond to the longer daylight hours with increased production. Eggs are an amazing food, and local eggs are even better! For one thing, local eggs are better for you: Mother Earth News found that eggs from hens raised from pasture contain “1⁄3 less cholesterol, 1⁄4 less saturated fat, 2⁄3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, 7 times more beta carotene, and 5 times more vitamin D” than typical supermarket eggs from factory farms.
Not only that, but they’re also better for our environment: Rather than creating a waste management problem like their industrial counterparts, chickens on small farms in our region are part of a healthy, sustainable system, helping to enrich soil fertility and control pests and weeds.
Plus, there is the health of the chickens to consider: There are many labels on supermarket eggs, but even ‘cage-free’, for example, doesn’t mean the chickens aren’t living in cramped, unhealthy conditions. At the farmers’ market, you can speak directly to the farmers about how they raise their chickens. Chickens that eat a diverse, high quality diet that includes grains, grass, vegetable scraps, and insects produce amazing eggs. Their eggs have rich, deeply hued orangy yolks that are incredibly delicious!
In addition to chicken eggs, you can find duck, goose, and quail eggs at the market:
The large size of the duck egg gives it a larger yoke to white ratio than a chicken egg. Many bakers report that using duck eggs makes cakes rise higher and provides them with excellent taste due to their high fat content. As the water content in duck eggs is lesser than chicken eggs, you need to be careful not to overcook them.
Goose eggs are very richly flavored. As goose meat is to chicken, goose eggs are to chicken eggs: richer, fattier, heavier, and more deeply colored. Some chefs particularly prize goose eggs for making pasta, claiming a superior flavor and texture in the final product.
Quail eggs are packed with vitamins and minerals. Many people with allergies to chicken eggs turn to quail eggs, because they have not been known to cause allergies or diathesis, and can actually help fight allergy symptoms due to the ovomucoid protein they contain. An interesting note: the splotches on the eggs are unique to each female quail, like fingerprints, so if you pay really close attention, each egg from a unique hen will have the same pattern of splotches.
Chicken eggs are of course the most commonly eaten eggs, prized for their versatility in so many dishes. You can eat them scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, pickled, and in baked goods and desserts. Fresh eggs can last up to five weeks in the refrigerator. Be sure to stock up!