Local Eggs

The first time I visited Jack’s home town he took me on a road trip to visit the Rakswarin Hot Springs in Ranong, near the Thai/Burmese border. There locals sell quail and chicken eggs in a hand made net. Had I not been with Jack I’d have no idea what they were for. These are meant to be dipped into the hot springs to cook. Upon returning to your eggs some time later, you find they are hard boiled and ready to eat.

I wonder how this came to be a thing. It’s just not the first thing that comes to mind when I see hot springs. Plus we’ve never been allowed to dip eggs at Sulphur Mountain in Banff, AB. This would be strictly frowned upon.

Quail and Chicken eggs in the 65 degrees Celsius pool at Rakswarin.

Since eggs are a big part of my family’s diet I thought I’d do a little research on the best eggs to feed my family. There is a surprising number of things a person can consider when choosing eggs so I had to first sort out what is most important to us.

Organic, free range, free run, local, brown, white, Omega 3 are just some of the choices available to us. After learning what each of those means and narrowing it down to something reasonable I determined that our top criteria are :

  1. Animal welfare – The idea of ingesting anything that comes from a distressed animal is a complete turn off.
  2. Local – With so many egg producers in Alberta, they’ve got to come from around here.
  3. Nutritional value – I want eggs that come from hens that eat bugs. Eggs from pasture raised hens would be ideal because they also get plenty of sunshine which raises the vitamin D content. However, this is not an option during the long, frozen Alberta winters. So Free Range it is.
  4. Organic would be nice but not a deal breaker. The nutritional difference is apparently insignificant.

Before doing this research I assumed that Organic is best. In looking for the best price on Organic eggs, I found that Superstore sells a tray 30 organic eggs for only $13.99. That’s a sweet deal! BUT what I don’t like is that these inexpensive eggs come all the way from Ontario! Why transport from so far away when many eggs are produced right outside of Calgary? Imagine the energy wasted! How on Earth are they cheaper than the ones from local farms? The eggs we get here must be fresher and I just can’t get over how these actually come with a much higher cost, when looking forward at the big picture.

I admire people who have their own egg-laying hens. They have the freshest eggs right in their yard. It just doesn’t get any more local. Jack enjoyed this luxury growing up. His dad is deeply involved in cock-fighting (~cringe~) so his family had several roosters and hens and eggs were plentiful, unless the roosters and hens got busy. I ate my share of those unfertilized eggs and recall how much I loved the bright orange yolks which where so rich and healthy. Delicious!

A rooster behind the house we lived in.

I contacted several local farms hoping they would allow me to see their operations. This way I could actually see the hens’ living conditions. Of the (only) two that took the time to respond only one ever opens their farm to visitors. It’s Sunworks Farm in Armena, Alberta  https://www.sunworksfarm.com/ . They can’t allow private tours because they are busy working but they do have a big annual celebration on the Labor Day long weekend where everyone is invited for a BBQ and to see how they operate! The company was very responsive to all of my questions and several e-mails.

After seeing that their eggs are Certified Humane, Organic, Local and Free Range, meeting all of my criteria,  I had to try them. I found them at the Calgary Farmer’s Market (Blush Lane) and see they are also available at the Market on McLeod. The carton looks like this:

Sunworks Farm label
Beautiful Sunworks eggs

The yolks weren’t as orange as the ones we had in Thailand but were still  golden and the taste was exceptional. The cost is $7 per dozen which is up there but the eggs are huge! To me, these are well worth it. I would rather eat a smaller amount of really good food than to eat a load of flavorless food of questionable origin.

I have found my eggs and will be buying only these as much as possible. Since the markets are far from home I will call our neighborhood grocer to see if they would consider bringing them in. These people want our business so why not ask? It would certainly make it easier to buy them regularly.

I’d love to hear which eggs are your favorite, and/or how you choose. What do you think of the $7 per dozen for a quality local product?

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