Eggs, Glorious Eggs! Keep reading for 10 things you might not know about buying eggs! (And how buying eggs direct from a farmer saves money and the environment even when it looks like it costs you more.)
Let's start with the carton.
I know you knew you were buying this one, but did you know that in a traditional sales model, the handler might pay more for their carton than they pay for the eggs they fill it with? When you see those .99 eggs, how much do you think makes it back to the farmer? Not very much. The farmer takes the hit over the paper producers and handlers.
Since the carton is worth so much more than the eggs according to traditional sales models, let's stick with that for a moment. Because you certainly don't want to throw away something so valuable! What exactly are you buying when you buy an egg carton?
More egg cartons- Minnesota state law allows for recycling and reuse of clean egg cartons. We are happy to collect cardboard cartons from you at any time!
Fire starters and Seed starters - We only want to use the cleanest cartons for our eggs so what we deem not clean enough gets divided. The bottom section becomes a seed starting try and the top is used for starting our wood stove. The thick paper cartons burn more slowly than other fire starting materials.
Of course, you didn't buy the eggs just for a carton- even if it can be used in a variety of ways that don't involve filling up landfills.
What about those eggs that fill the carton?
The obvious thing you are purchasing is high quality adaptive nutrition. Have you ever compared the color of a farm fresh egg to the store bought eggs? The color is striking, and what is more fascinating is that farm fresh eggs change with the seasons. They have different cooking qualities during different times of the year. The yolk changes to reflect the more limited diet of a winter pastured hen as opposed to a summer pastured hen.
That eggy goodness has uses far beyond the food you eat, however. Maybe people use raw eggs for hair care. In fact, we feed many of our broken eggs to the dogs and it keeps their coats smooth and shiny year round. (I guess that makes pet food a bonus use for those raising their own eggs!)
Beyond the carton and the egg.
Your egg purchase doesn't stop at the egg or the carton. There is something separating the two and you don't want to miss out on all the things that an egg shell is useful for!
Calcium supplement- Shells can be washed, dried, and ground and then fed back to the chickens to help them grow stronger shells. They can also be fed to other species in need of calcium supplements the same way.
Organic Pest control- Crushed egg shells are also great for pest control in the garden. Slugs and cabbage worms are particularly averse to egg shells. Sprinkle some around your brassicas (cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc) to reduce and even eliminate infestations in combination with other natural methods like rotating garden beds.
Why pay more for a dozen eggs?
Because you are paying for far more than eggs. The nutrition inside a farm fresh egg is superior and changing with the seasons. It can be used for far more than just breakfast. The carton is quite likely already recycled and buying local helps keep excess cartons out of the landfill- not to mention less carbon output from the handling process. Another win for the environment. The shells are stronger because the chickens have been supplemented with the best calcium supplement out there- their own shells. And at the end of its life? Our farm fresh chickens make the most delicious bone broth and their manure goes on to grow more great crops the following year- some of which supplement the diet of the next generation of egg layers. All of which allows us to grow food without the interruption of chemical inputs (aka pesticides and herbicides).
The next time you hit to store for a dozen eggs, be sure to take a moment to appreciate all that you are really buying. If you are ready to take another step towards supporting local and sustainable food, check in with us for our current egg availability or find a farmer close by to purchase eggs from.