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Jul 15, 2008 03:41 PM

STLM - Great quality organic eggs?

Looking for really good quality eggs for fresh pasta and for zabaglione. In Europe, they are almost orange. (I would love to know what they feed them).
Want organic or better quality and willing to pay for it. Will I find them at St. Lawrence Market or elsewhere?

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  1. I know what you are looking for and I haven't seen them in Toronto for ages (though they are undoubtedly around). Fresh From the Farm on Donlands has pretty good ones, though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: embee

      You can get them if you develop a relationship with a farmer who raises animals on pasture. Ask around at the farmers markets. These farmers usually raise and sell beef, pork, and lamb, but many of them raise chickens as well. If they get to know you, they may sell you their eggs under the table.

      I went on a mission to find them after reading the Omnivore's Dilemma. I thought to myself, we have pasture in Ontario, and lots or farmers, so why can't I find real eggs, the type of eggs that they get in Europe and in most other part of the world?

      I found out that these farmers are not allowed to sell eggs that have not been inspected and graded. I think there are egg marketing board issues as well. Their egg volumes are not large enough to justify the expense of complying with the onerous regulations.

      Egg yolks that are dark orange in colour come from chickens that are raised on pasture, where they can eat bugs, various grasses that are high in beta carotene, and other things that are not found in a battery cage. These are the foods that chickens are meant to eat. Most importantly, pasture raised chickens don't have their beaks hacked off, so they can peck and forage as they please. Even if there are bugs flying around, chickens in battery cages wouldn't be able to eat them anyway because they don't have beaks.

      I'm a city boy and until recently, I've never seen or eaten eggs like this in my life. If you do find them, you will never want to eat a supermarket egg again, organic, omega 3, or whatever.

      You can thank our parents in Queens Park for making it so difficult to get real food.

      1. re: acd123

        Thanks for the information and education. This is so frustrating. I would like to know why they are not looking into what is going on with European farming and trying to bring some of that knowledge here. For Canadians, we have sooo much land that this should not be an issue at all. I am sick of pale eggs.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The Clarks at the SLM sells them in the Farmer's Market on Saturdays (they are the older couple in the middle of the North Market). They sell the Thursday/Friday eggs separately so at least you can guarantee that they will only be about 2 days old.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Otonabee

          Harlan Clark's eggs are definitely super fresh, but they are not what the OP asked for. Even their so-called "free range" eggs have yolks that are pale yellow. Fresh yes, pasture-raised no.

        2. My brother has about 100 chickens that are free range raised in Northern Ontario and their beaks are clipped. When he gets them as chicks from a rural supplier in Elmira their beaks are already clipped. Let me tell you he moves them from area to area as they will strip ALL the grass right down to dirt if they congregate in an area too long, so I know the beaks don't hold them back from foraging.. These birds do produce darker yoked eggs but are far from "orange" He does suplement their diets with out of date produce from the local food store, and if they eat a lot of tomatos the yolks do get darker, I suspect pigment of their food has a lot to do with it. As a side note, I was visiting a week ago and watched them go crazy fighting for watermelon. He gets usually 7 dozen eggs a day and the locals buy them as fast as he collects them.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Jack Sprat29

            I lived in Alberta for while. Eggs there, regular store-bought variety, are a pale sickly yellow. It has to do with the diet. Chickens there are raised more on a grain-based diet whereas in Ontario, there's more corn, which explains the darker hue. At least, that's what I was led to believe. But it makes sense.

            w.r.t. the OP, has anyone bought eggs from the dude at Brick Works that also sells olive oil? I'd be interested to hear some feedback.

            1. re: Jack Sprat29

              That's not what I was told by a grass farmer. He told me he has to get his heritage breed chickens from a special source so that their beaks aren't chopped off. He told me that the only way for the chickens to do really well on pasture is to have their beaks intact. Perhaps they need their beaks for the bugs, which definitely contributes to the darker yolks. That makes perfect sense to me. The eggs I'm getting now have deep dark orange yolks. Also, the consistency is a bit different. The yolk is not as runny, more coagulated than supermarket yolks.

              1. re: acd123

                I really don't know other than what I saw. 100 chickens (all with clipped beaks) cleared a patch of pasture 50 ft x 20 ft of any hint of green in 4 days.

                1. re: Jack Sprat29

                  Perhaps they can clear a grassy patch, but I think that they can't catch and eat bugs, which is where a good amount of the orange colour comes from (I think). It's akin to giving gramps an apple before he puts his dentures in. I'm sure he would have no trouble with chocolate pudding, however.

                2. re: acd123

                  Hi acd, where do you get the eggs from ? Thanks !

                  1. re: corinaci

                    The farmer has asked me not to reveal to anyone that he sells me eggs beyond the farm gate. He could get into trouble. The last thing I want to do is jeopardize my source.

                    A few weeks ago, health inspectors were lurking around the Brickworks market and making trouble for a few of the farmers who were selling ungraded eggs.

                    I hate saying that because I want everyone to eat them. I recommend that you quietly ask around at the various farmers markets around town. That's what I did.

              2. My chickens free range on green grass and little critters for as much of the year as possible. Their beaks are not clipped, you have to pay extra, and I don't feel it to be necessary because they are not crammed into cages where cannibalism occurs. In the spring, the yolks turn a yellow/orange colour within a week of the first grass growing. Once the insects come out, the yolks turn an even more beautiful darker colour, and are absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, it is only legal to sell ungraded eggs from my house. As soon as the eggs leave my property, they are considered dangerous and illegal to sell. Hmmm???? Farmers' markets are fighting for regulations to change so that they are considered an extension of the farm gate, not a supermarket.
                Check out

                2 Replies
                1. re: earthygoat

                  Great info here too. Are you in the GTA area?
                  I am interested in these Heritage birds; can anyone enlighten me on this?

                  1. re: itryalot

                    I'm in Hastings, about 30 mins north of Cobourg. My chickens are mostly heritage breeds, meaning they are old fashioned breeds whose populations have dropped because they do not do well under industrial agriculture conditions. My breeds are dual purpose, they are OK at producing eggs and meat at the same time, but they do not produce at the "efficient" rate that specific egg laying or meat breed birds do in a strictly controlled environment. For my use, they are great because they do very well on pasture and aren't easily picked off by predators due to their camoflage colouring. People love their tasty eggs (we don't have difficulties selling them) and their meat is like the old fashioned, flavourful chicken we used to have, not jelly like mush in grocery store.

                    Check out Rare Breeds Canada and American Livestock Breeds Conservancy to learn more about heritage livestock, not just chickens :)