The smallholding that I’m staying at sells Grade A eggs. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wondered what that meant. I’d always go to the store and see “Grade A” on every box, but never any “Grade B,” although I was told they exist. Curiously I’d open the box and see twelve perfect white eggs, each fitting perfectly in the box.
These days, though, you might open the box and see twelve brown eggs. All perfectly the same shade.
Carol and Graham sell their eggs directly to their customers, which apparently is all they are legally allowed to do. No commercial selling for them. But this probably works out to their advantage anyway. It probably wouldn’t be worth the hassle given that they only get about 45 eggs a day, and they manage to sell all of them that are sellable.
Sellable? Well this doesn’t just mean those you can eat. There are several every day that they don’t sell. And we eat them for breakfast the next day.
These include eggs that are awkwardly shaped, maybe have stained shells because they had chicken poop on them, or have a broken shell but the membrane is still intact.
And if you want to get really picky the yolk has to be a certain shape, the white has to be a certain consistency, and the air pocket has to be a certain size-depending on if you are in the UK or the USA. (Non-exhaustive info: USA-http://curbstonevalley.com/blog/?p=3354 UK-http://www.egginfo.co.uk/page/eggsizes)
I found this guy in the Leghorn’s pen. You can see the difference in size and even quality of shell. The shell was actually harder and with what looked like scratch marks on the outside. As Carol said, “That must have hurt coming out.” And as you can see to the right, when I cracked it open there were two yolks on the inside. This egg was a bit of an oddity, most abnormal eggs look like this:
I have yet to find two yolks inside of one of these long ones. But these are usually the ones I pick to eat for my breakfast, mostly because it looks fun. Again, unsellable and not up to standard, but completely edible.
Carol has told me that you’ll find this on smallholdings, but in factory farms they are less common. Such anomalies are “bred out” of the chickens.
And check out this guy:
This one’s my favorite. Something obviously went wrong in the formation of this egg’s shell. Not only was it shaped oddly, but it was fragile. And yet again, completely edible.
Also, I bet many of you think that brown eggs mean healthy and organic. Not necessarily. It actually just depends on the breed of the chicken. The large white one above as I mentioned was from the Leghorn pen. Leghorn’s are known for being high egg producers. They are probably all the white eggs you see in stores. In lieu of the craze toward “all-natural” and “organic,” the food industry decided that they would switch breeds because it looked more natural. In all actuality it has no baring on the nutritional value what so ever. It’s all about the breed. They could have been reared inside or outside, it doesn’t change the color.
Carol and Graham have a whole mix of breeds, and this is what their eggs look like: