Farmers Market Report | News, Sports, Jobs

Farmers Market Report | News, Sports, Jobs

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

This has been a topic of debate for a very long time. There are other arguments surrounding eggs as well, like whether brown eggs are better than white eggs, farm-fresh vs. store-bought and if eggs should be washed or not. The list goes on and on. Who knew eggs were so controversial?

Before we weigh out these issues, let’s learn about the health benefits of eggs. A good source of protein, one large egg contains 6 grams. Protein is essential for muscle development and it is found in the whites of the egg. The yolks naturally contain vitamin D which is good for bone health and your immune system. Eggs are also rich in choline which promotes cell activity and lutein which aids in preventing age-related cataracts and muscle degeneration.

So, in a nutshell, or egg shell as the case may be, eggs are nutritious.

Now, on to some of the controversies about eggs. There is no nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs. Some people swear that the brown ones even taste better than the white but the color of the egg shell does not determine flavor. Freshness of the egg, the diet of the hen and the cooking method all contribute to how an egg tastes.

So why are brown eggs more expensive in the store? Simply put, hens that lay brown eggs are bigger than the traditional white egg layer. Therefore, they eat more feed and are more expensive to maintain.

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I mentioned that the freshness of an egg can determine flavor. One of the benefits of farm-fresh eggs is that they go directly from the coop to your plate. You can’t get any fresher than that. Eggs from a commercial hen house may not get to the stores for several days or more. The older an egg gets, the more it may lose its flavor. Most hens from small farm flocks have the freedom to forage and eat grass and bugs. This is more natural for them, thus they are happier. Most commercial egg producers cage their hens, with as many as eight in a cage. Purchasing farm-fresh eggs lines up with that producer-consumer relationship discussed in previous articles. You can get to know the people that produce the foods you eat. You miss out on that when you buy from the store.

Should eggs be washed or unwashed at the time of purchase? This one is really a matter of preference. Most countries outside the United States leave their eggs unwashed and at room temperature. This is possible because when a hen lays an egg, it is naturally coated in a protective layer called the bloom. This prevents bacteria from entering the porous shell of an egg. Washing removes the bloom and leaves the egg vulnerable. At this point, the egg must be refrigerated. Unwashed eggs, at room temperature, have a shelf life of approximately one month, and even longer if they remain unwashed and refrigerated. Be advised that once any egg has been refrigerated, it must remain so until ready to use. It is highly recommended that you wash your eggs in warm water before use. Do not use soap.

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Before we end, here is an egg-celent fact for you. Iowa is the No. 1 producer of eggs in this country with a whopping 14.8 billion annually. Farm-fresh eggs are available for sale at the Fort Dodge Farmers Market. The market is held at 11 N. 25th St., northeast of Kemna Auto. The market will run from June 10 through Oct. 14. Come join us on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you are interested in being a vendor, contact Kendal Pliner at 515-570-0058 or Diane Peterson at 515-570-2443.

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  • June 25, 2023