Monday, April 18, 2011

Why should eggs cost less than coffee?

The best eggs in Boston are not something money can buy.  They come from people who raise their own chickens.  By some stroke of luck, I've had a few chances to try the fruits of their labor, but due to department of health regulations I can't buy them legally.  

It all started when I lived in Belmont.  Who knew that 5 miles from the Prudential Center there were fresh eggs being laid with orange yolks that taste like liquid gold.  I've met these chicken ladies through my blog and my classes and they have generously shared their glorious eggs with me.  When we moved to Natick, I met another such kind soul who gifted me with a dozen of eggs from her back yard a few weeks ago.  I would gladly pay as much as necessary to buy them.  Unfortunately, it's not legal for these recreational chicken farmers to sell them to me and I can only accept so many freebies.  

A few weeks ago, I noticed two very expensive egg brands at Whole Foods.  Pete & Gerry's and Azuluna.  The light blue color of their shells caught my eye and I decided to try them in spite of their high price tag.  Both companies raise Ameraucana hens that are known for the blue-green tint of their egg shells and are supposed to be superior in flavor.  Azuluna are a bit more expensive because they claim to be "free range" rather than just "cage free."  It's hard to get straight dope on those terms, but from what I've read "free range" birds are the ones that actually get to roam outdoor while "cage free" birds don't.  So how do they taste?  Both are great!  Not quite my back yard chicken friends' level of great, but still noticeably better than all the other supermarket eggs (including organic and local ones).  

I have tried Pete & Gerry's side by side with Chip-in Farm and the difference was striking.
Pete & Gerry's on the left / Chip-in Farm on the right
Both are from Grade A Large Eggs
I'll have to try Pete & Gerry's side by side with Azuluna next time.  

Here are the rough prices (from memory, so don't quote me on this).  

Azuluna at Whole Foods -- about $3.50 for half dozen
Pete & Gerry's at Whole Foods -- about $3 for half dozen
Pete & Gerry's at Russo's -- about $2.50 for half dozen

When you really think about it, that's what you pay for coffee with foamy milk.  Aren't 6 truly wonderful eggs worth one cup of joe?


jmisgro said...

It's amazing how eggs differ. We had our own chickens when we lived in PA. I really miss that. Hopefully we will have some again!
I have cousins that live in Natick!

swag said...

You clearly don't drink the coffee that I drink.

It's all about supply and demand.

Emma said...

Would it be illegal for a friend to help another friend purchase chicken feed in exchange for some eggs?

I can't wait until we can get some chickens at my house, or at least until my mom's chickens start laying more productively again, the eggs are nothing like those in the supermarkets.

Julia E said...

Helen, I tried the Chip-In eggs after you mentioned them in class one time. I have not found "real" eggs since moving to Boston last October. Once you're used to getting them from a great farmer with great chickens, you're spoiled! I have not cracked them side-by-side, but I have bought both the Azaluna and the Pete & Gerry's. For what it's worth, I find the Azaluna ones to be better. That's just my subjective opinion, of course, but they are the ones I find myself returning to Whole Foods to buy - even if they are very expensive!

Jon Sakata said...

Azuluna eggs are by far the best we've ever had. They have even larger, richer, more flavorful yolks than P & G's and we won't even mention how much more superior they are compared to all other eggs stocked at Whole Foods (it's hard to even consider these others real eggs). Most impressive, are how tasty the whites are. We believe this is because the chickens are able to eat worms and bugs as well as unadulterated (no hormones/antibiotics) feed. The ARE worth the extra expense, because every bite is such a pleasure to savor compared with other (so-called) eggs.