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Oct 21, 2008 07:22 AM

Looking for great eggs in Boston

I'm getting more interested in fresh, high-quality eggs (chicken, primarily--though I'm interested to hear other varieties) and wondered if anyone has suggestions of good local purveyors around town. Thanks.

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  1. Look for Chip-In Farm eggs. They're mentioned frequently on this board and are available at Russo's and Formaggio. Wilson Farms sells its own eggs. Owen's Poultry Farm in Needham also sells farm fresh eggs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Velda Mae

      Near Wilson's Busa Farms offers Chip-in... Mayflower Poultry doesn't necessarily get their eggs from MA, but they are from the "region" and said to be hormone/antibiotic free. Note that Mayflower tends to specialize in super-jumbo double-yolk type eggs, while one of my favorite things from Wilson's are their pullet eggs (the only other place I know offhand with small eggs is Chelsea MB).

      There are some CSAs which offer eggs and other add-ons, I think sometimes including duck eggs. You could search the board or some other sites for more info:

      Quail eggs are commonly available in Asian markets and Brazilian stores, no idea if they are local. Duck Eggs sometimes inAsian and more often in Southeast Asian stores but I don't see them as much as quail. Formaggio/Russos/Savenors often have other types of eggs, but I think it varies from time to time.

    2. Mayflower Poulty on Cambridge St in East Cambridge. Which I now see has been mentioned. As an egg freak- I love them! The super jumbo double yoke eggs are fun, filling and make for a lovely deviled egg.

      1. Do "high-quality" local eggs really taste noticeably better than supermarket eggs?

        13 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy

          Is that a troll?

          They absolutely taste noticeably better (provided they are fresh). It's like the difference between Perdue chicken and a proper free-range bird.

          And the good local eggs are not that much more than the cheap supermarket eggs.

          1. re: DoubleMan

            dave's fresh pasta in davis square also sells chip-in eggs, i believe.

            i haven't checked recently, but i recall those eggs being a LOT more expensive than regular eggs from the supermarket. i might be wrong about that, though.

            as far as flavor, i can't say that i notice much of a difference in baked goods which is where most of our eggs end up. i suppose if there's a difference in flavor, it would show up more readily in a scrambled or boiled egg etc. taste-off.

            i also wonder whether, if you don't use them very quickly, the premium eggs would deteriorate to the point where they are indistinguishable from cheaper ones.

            1. re: autopi

              Freshness affects the rising power of eggs, so depending on the baked goods recipe it is important to the finish product. You also have to consider the temperature of the egg in cake baking, locally bought eggs have a protective coating which is often washed off commercial eggs, and are safer at room temperatures.

              That's not to say that supermarket eggs aren't fresh (and sometimes they are "local"), but many come from far away and I do recall that rising power declined pretty quickly and some of the vitamins too but someone more informed on the appropriate board could speak more definitively.

              When I buy local eggs, I have an irresistible urge to fry them in butter with as little extra as possible and savor them in a way I just don't with the supermarket eggs. Bit of salt and fat, but no pepper needed. And it doesn't seem the same when I use my supermarket eggs. Part of this is just the freshness, which is even more noticeable in how they scramble (here I'll cheat and use more seasoning). However, $.99 or $1.29 a dozen (common at MB depending on season) is a lot less expensive for an 8-egg cake than $4.29.

              1. re: autopi

                Chip-In eggs at Russo's run $2.39 a dozen, I believe. More expensive than they used to be (they were $1.79 a dozen when we first started buying them!) but cheaper than the more expensive eggs at the supermarket.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  wow, that sounds like a great deal--i can't confirm for sure, but i seem to recall the price at dave's for chip-in is over $4. i'm told that you can get good free range eggs at pemberton for about $2-3, but they are not chip-in brand.

                  1. re: autopi

                    Someone once mentioned that Chip-In were wicked expensive at Formaggio or somewhere like that too. Maybe Russo's buys in enough bulk to get a price break.

                    Be warned, though: Russo's does occasionally run out of them. More than once, we've bought the last carton or two.

              2. re: DoubleMan

                Not a "troll" at all.

                I have only really tried local eggs once or twice and did not notice a huge difference but it was years ago.

                Supermarket eggs seriously are pretty fresh, but obviously fed icky (seriously) industrial feed and antibiotics, and kept in tiny little wire cages with artificial lighting cycles that encourage them to lay more eggs. Short story the supermarket eggs are laid by chickens that are not very happy.

                I imagine the real test would be just plain scrambled or hard boiled eggs. Will have to give it a whirl.

                When it comes to free range chickens I have found some with no real flavor difference and others, particularly a chicken I cooked in Paris, purchased at a local butcher, that absolutely blew me away with it's delicious chickeny flavor.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I prefer the flavor of local and free range over the supermarket variety, for sure. However, I'm spoiled by both chicken and duck eggs from my sister's farm in the Catskills. Scrambled or hard-boiled, they're tough to beat. Also, they have the most gorgeous colored yokes - practically orange.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Farm fresh eggs are indeed better than the supermarket variety. For years, a friend from Holbrook would bring me fresh eggs, never more than a day old, and the omlettes I made were heavenly. Sadly, they no longer have chickens and I'm buying Egglands Best.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      The real test for me is dipping a piece of bread into the yolk of an over-easy egg. Supermarket eggs are almost flavorless.

                      A few months ago, my wife bought some Egglands best organic eggs and it brought back memories of eating eggs just hours (and sometime minutes) after they were laid by the chickens in our yard. But that was a fluke since I have yet to have a delicious supermarket egg since that batch - fresh, organic, or not, since then.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        I first sought out a local poultry farm (Seven-Acre) after a breakfast of nearly colorless, flavor-free scrambled eggs from Market Basket. What a revelation! Old brain cells switched on with the memory of what eggs used to be. I've mentioned this before - I needed to get extra calories into one of my 2 rescued greyhounds at the time - so I'd make hardboiled eggs, giving a little white to the other one (none the wiser - it was a treat in his eyes) while the subject dog got the yolk and most of the white. After some months I ran out - it was close to Xmas so Seven-Acre was out, too. I boiled some MB eggs and my greyhound refused to eat them!

                        BTW, "cage-free" and "free-range" are not synonymous. I've seen pics of a cage-free set-up in which the birds were corraled in a windowless building, nearly as crammed-together as the usual commercial cage setup. Free-range, I once read somewhere, can mean either as it sounds, or given at least part-time access to an outdoor pen where they can peck around. The latter appears to be the case at Seven-Acre. The henhouses are set well-back from the store area. The frontmost of these has a roofed, chicken-wire sided pen attached. The ground looks to be plain dirt - no plants. Sometimes birds are out there; sometimes it is empty. The other buildings are obscured by the front one. I don't know what the chickens and turkeys are fed - presumably they are able to eat some insects even in a fairly barren pen. The yolk color is deep yellow-orange, very different from that of a supermarket egg. The chickens sold for cooking are pale-skinned, so I am sure they don't get the marigolds that Perdue feeds to give their birds' skin that yellow tint.

                      2. re: DoubleMan

                        I second DoubleMan on the better flavor. Does that triple or quadruple him, since he's already double? hmm :)

                        And I would add that while such eggs are far more tasty, another great aspect is that the chickens didn't have to live eight to a shoebox-sized cage. Sorry to get all PC, but I think this aspect matters. Eggs are a lot more affordable than some other humanely raised poultry/meats (although I buy those too) and a good way to get started on more kindly raised animal products for anyone interested.

                        And of course they are very delicious! Best runny yolks ever--it's a win-win.

                      3. re: StriperGuy

                        I actually can only taste a marginal difference among anything you get in a supermarket, whether labelled as organic, cage free etc. versus the regular mass-produced kind. I do agree that eggs that are farm fresh/local/from your friend's coop are spectacular.

                      4. I usually get eggs from Wilson Farms - they're quite good. I find that the yolk is much richer, particularly in runny-yolk applications (fried, poached, soft-boiled). I think this is partly due to color, since the yolks have a much deeper orange hue, but there is an actual flavor difference.

                        I know Chestnut Farms sells eggs, and I'm sure other CSA/farmer's market vendors do as well.

                        1. You can buy fresh eggs from "Backyard Birds"- they are on the same road as verrill Farm -pass verrill Fram on your left and continue to the end- a white house and look for the door painted blue- you go in and take the eggs and leave your $$- is on the honor system. I understand that each dozen contains a variety of size and colors. Unfortunately, I have been several times and they were out of eggs. I have tried to determine if there is a time of day that is better to find them but without success. Maybe someone else can answer this???[I emailed them with that questions and they did not respond[.