Cover photo of the article Why Fresh Farm Eggs are the Best!

Why Fresh Farm Eggs are the Best for You and the Bird

As a dietitian nutritionist, I’m often asked “Are fresh farm eggs worth the extra $1.50 per dozen?”  My answer, “Absolutely!” 

Most people work hard for the their money, so I understand the question.  They are wanting to know if fresh farm eggs are hyped up or are they worth the extra money.  Store bought eggs are $2.50 per dozen on average, where as fresh farm eggs are about $4 per dozen. 

So how about you?  Are you buying eggs fresh from the farm, or are you still on the fence?  Also are you among the people group thinking that buying organic eggs from the grocery is good enough?  

Let us dive deep into the benefits you will receive when purchasing fresh farm eggs!  I would like to arm you with the information to get the most for your money and health!    

picture of fresh farm eggs in a basket

Fresh Farm Eggs Defined

Fresh farm eggs may seem too simple to define, but there is no definitive definition.  Therefore, I would like to establish the boundaries in the contexts of this article.  

The Meaning of “Farm”

It seems like everyone has a backyard chicken coop that is overflowing with eggs. The rise in homesteading is wonderful, and perhaps you have been offered free or discounted eggs by a generous neighbor or kind co-worker.  These eggs may be fresh, but they are not from the farm.  

For this article, when I’m writing about fresh farm eggs, let me be clear that I am writing about eggs that come from a farm that is operated by a farmer.  I purchase my eggs from my local farmers at the Farmers’ Market.  

In addition to who and where I buy my eggs, I also make it my business to know how the birds are raised.  I choose to purchase eggs that are produced by pasture-raised birds.  These pasture-raised birds are able to forage for food, enjoy daily dust baths and natural sunlight.

These pasture-raised farm birds may have water and additional food provided by their care taker, but they are able to roam free in a safe, natural environment.  The natural habitat along with natural habits make a healthier bird.  And a healthy bird makes a nutritious egg.

The Meaning of “Fresh”

The number of eggs produced in one week by a bird is dependent on a number of variables.   These variables include but are not limited to : the type of bird, the season, food supply, stress levels, and more.  

Some farmers take advantage of high volume laying seasons, and will collect the eggs for storage.  Most pasture-raised eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for about 8 weeks.  These eggs can be considered farm fresh upon sale.  

However, the interpretation of fresh farm eggs in this article will be limited to eggs that are collected 7 or less days before getting into the hands of the consumer.  Once these eggs are in the hands of the consumer, eggs may be stored up to 8 weeks in the refrigerator.  

The Meaning of “Eggs”

The next term, eggs, may seem too easy to define.  However, you need to know that not all eggs are the same.  

For instance, my local farmers offer chicken, duck and quail eggs to the Farmers’ Market for purchase.  Because there are varieties amongst the bird, there are differences in the eggs.  Most eggs are similar in nutrition density, yet vary in size, taste and color.

Every farm is different, and every farmer has his/her own farming standards. Therefore, it is important that you make it your business to understand the farming practices that produce your food.  Click here to sign up for my newsletter, and get my top 9 Questions to Ask Your Farmer & more!

Picture of Quail Eggs, small eggs with dark spots

Nutrition of Eggs from the Farm

Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet!  Because eggs contain all the amino acids needed for the human body, they are considered to be the most comprehensive source of protein.  And when it comes to fresh farm eggs the overall nutrient make up is also optimal!  

For example, eggs that are fresh and from the farm have more vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and B vitamins when compared to factory raised eggs.  They also have a more antioxidants that contributes to better eye health.

In addition, they have less cholesterol and saturated fat which may be useful for overall health.  The total fat content is more, as well as significantly more omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are known for heart and cognitive health benefits.   

Eggs that are fresh from the farm are nutritiously dense because they are products of healthy birds.  There’s plenty of science to back this up.  However, it also just makes sense that the healthier the animal the more nutritious the meat, organs and egg.   

Chickens in green grass on the hunt for insects

Life for the Farm Bird

Pasture-raised farm birds don’t have it easy.  They forge for food, withstand bad weather, and experience predator confrontations.  Life on the farm for these birds can be challenging.  However, it also allows for the bird to be a bird.

For instance the pasture-raised farm bird enjoys the freedoms of bird life.  Their counterpart, the factory raised bird, is confined to a small cage.  If the factory raised bird is ‘free range’ then this bird, like the caged-bird dwells within a building with controlled lighting, temperature, activity, and food.  

The pasture-raised birds enjoy dust baths, the hunt for foods and a safe place to roost.  Their counter parts, the ‘caged birds’ and ‘free range’ birds have a place to lay eggs, but are not allowed to experience dust baths, pecking the ground for insects, and fresh outdoor air.    

Removing the natural freedoms and the native environment of the bird may keep them producing more eggs, but it doesn’t lead to healthy lifestyle.  Hence, birds that are allowed natural freedoms and their native environment will produce a more nutritiously dense egg. 

Again the healthier the animal, the more nutritiously dense the meat, organs and eggs.  

Picture of a farmer Mom with her Daughter, her Chicken and fresh farm eggs

Home Tips for Fresh Farm Eggs  

So are you convinced that the extra $1.50 per dozen is well worth the price of fresh farm eggs?  If yes, then you may have questions about how to clean, how to store and what to do with your fresh farm eggs.  

Make sure your fresh farm eggs purchased from the local farmer have been cleaned prior to sale.   If you want to ensure cleanliness, talk with your egg farmer about best practices to clean the eggs.  Also never consume a egg that has a broken shell.

To store fresh farm eggs, I recommend your refrigerator at home.  Also make sure that the temperature is set at or slightly below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid spoilage of the eggs and other refrigerated foods.

In addition to placing your eggs in the refrigerator, I suggest storing the eggs on a bottom shelf.  Fresh farm eggs have a sturdy shell but are still susceptible to breakage.  By placing the eggs on the bottom shelf away from other fresh foods, you will minimize cross contamination.      

As for what to do with your fresh farm eggs, be on the look out for my Fresh Farm Eggs e-cookbook coming soon! 

Picture of a hen hunting for food in a green, safe farm pasture

In Conclusion

Fresh farm eggs are truly a super food because they are a product of birds living a healthy, natural life.  The healthier the bird makes a more nutritious egg.  And in my opinion, a much more delicious egg! 

Even at the cost of $4 per dozen, fresh farm eggs are a bargain when it comes to nutrient density. What other protein and healthy fat source can you get for 33 cents per ounce?  

Fresh farm food locally grown is best!  And if you’re wanting to eat fresh farm food locally grown, the fresh farm egg is a nutritious and delicious place to start! 

References

1.Karsten, H. D., et al.  “Vitamins A, E, and Fatty Acid Composition of the Eggs of Caged Hens and Pastured Hens.” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 25(2010): 45-54. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21673178/

2.Brower S, Dorsey J, Malvetti K, Faga J. Taste and Nutritional Differences of Non-Factory Farmed vs. Factory Farmed Eggs and Poultry. https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/45132/PDF/1

3.Mugnai, C., et al. “The Effects of Husbandry System on the Grass Intake and Egg Nutritive Characteristics of Laying Hens.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 94(3, 2014): 459-67.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23775487/

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