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Where to buy GOOD eggs in Toronto or GTA?

I am tired of bland, lousy, grocery store eggs. I have purchased a couple of different organic types from Whole Foods; at about $6.00 per dozen, I was pretty unimpressed although they were a bit tastier.

My understanding is that it all comes down to what they eat. Any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, recommendations?

I would not mind paying so much, if the taste warranted it.

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  1. What about St. Lawrence Market (north side of Front St.) on Saturdays? I haven't been in a while, but I'm sure you'll find a farmer selling farm fresh eggs. I can't guarantee they'll be certified organic, but the person selling them should be forthcoming about what the chickens are fed and their living conditions. Hopefully a small farm will take more care with the chickens, which will in turn, improve their eggs. Other than that, you might try some Google searches for farmer's markets or farms that are willing to sell to the public. It would make for an interesting weekend drive in the country.

    I'm not an egg lover, but my SO is. Any eggs sold in grocery stores seem to have very weak flavour, whether they're free range, organic, omega-3 enhanced or just plain old factory eggs. They're all pretty poor, IMO. The best eggs I've ever eaten were in Tunisia, where the chickens wander free and peck at whatever specks they can find in the dirt. I saw many a chicken foraging in refuse. What can I tell you? The eggs were fabulous. The yolks were orange and the hard cooked ones that we often bought on the street peeled like a dream. Mass production of anything, be it a vegetable, an animal or dairy, just reduces it to a poor cousin of its original incarnation.

    9 Replies
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      Thanks for the reply. Truth is, I'm not overly concerned with the organic aspect - but I do suspect that whoever is marketing the elusive tasty egg is probably doing it organic.

      Is St. Lawrence Market only on Saturday? I've had that notion in the back of my mind and, since I keep the Jewish Sabbath, it rules it out as a place for me.

      1. re: szmeterling

        The Clark's only come to the Saturday North market.
        Their eggs are the freshest that I have found.
        They taste much better than the supermarket stuff, but do not have golden yolks, or the true brilliant taste of eggs overseas, where most eggs are free range (bug eaters).
        In a pinch I buy the organic eggs from Rowe's available at Loblaws.
        They seem a bit better than the others widely available.
        How long Loblaws stores them, I don't know.
        I can tell you that I wanted to buy some tru-taste milk at Loblaws on Dec. 3rd. and the milk was dated the 3rd...
        Check the date!!!

        1. re: erly

          You're so right erly
          I had eggs in switzerland this past fall and I could not believe just how eggy those eggs were! Everywhere I went the eggs were just phenomenal. Like egg flavour dialed up to 11

          I've never had an egg like that in North America.

          How close to the Clarks' eggs ceom to european eggs on a scale of 1-10? 10 being spot on and 1 being powdered eggs

          1. re: CoffeeAddict416

            I'd choose organic eggs in North America and Western Europe simply because I can't bear the idea of battery chickens raised in appalling conditions and fed hormone and drug-addled feed designed to keep them from infecting one another in such close quarters and to keep them pumping out (inferior) eggs. Organic is no guarantee of superior flavour, just superior farming practices. Ideally, I love the idea of supporting independent farmers, which is why I suggested St. Lawrence north. You can certainly buy eggs Tuesday - Saturday at the regular (south side) market, but there is no guarantee that they won't be pretty much the same tasteless product you're buying in the big grocery chains.

            In-a-pinch solution: find a friend who's willing to pick up some eggs for you on Saturdays. Invite him or her to a meal at your house to compensate for his or her efforts.

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              just in response to the organic statement...unfortunately, eggs from hens kept in battery cages who are fed "organic" food can still be labelled as "organic". buyer beware--"organic" does not necessarily mean "humanely raised"

              1. re: freebee

                My Darling Niece and hubby are just starting to raise chickens west of Strathroy, near London. They have to confront the predator problem and did it this way
                the movable chicken coop goes down a selected path each day
                There are only a few dozen chicks so far, but the project looks good, and they will have good eggs to sell soon.

                1. re: freebee

                  Are you sure this is the only requirement? According to a booklet I received (put out by the Ministry of Agriculture), the requirement of organic eggs is much greater:

                  "CERTIFIED ORGANIC" eggs are produced under Quality Assurance International organic standard. Hens are fed with certified organic feed, and have access t outdoor range whenever the weather permits. Stocking rate is 132 - 295 sq" per hen based on cubic space."

                  Could you direct me to a reliable source for your information that states the only requirement for organic eggs is that the hens be fed organic feed? (Now, whether certified organic = humanely raised is another matter...)

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    The hens/layers must have been produced from organically raised chickens too.

              2. re: CoffeeAddict416

                Unfortunately I would give them a 5 out of 10..
                However most eggs available here would get a 3.
                I am going to try Embee's suggestion of Fresh From The Farm, just have to google to find the exact location location, will pick some up this week, and I will give feedback.

          1. I know what you're looking for and Clark's eggs are not going to cut it. The closest I've found is an egg guy who sometimes sells at the Dufferin Grove farmer's market - but you need to get there RIGHT at 3pm because he sells out fast...

            1. Fresh from the Farm on Donlands sells farm fresh eggs. They're open Tues-Sat.

              1. Wow! My first post on Chowhound & so many helpful, knowledgeable replies. Thanks.

                I only just remembered that there was an egg place in Kensington Market ?on Augusta?

                I may try them out when I get a chance (more convenient for me than St. Lawrence) but would like to hear if anybody has bought there, do they just have standard cardboard-y eggs?

                2 Replies
                1. re: szmeterling

                  the egg place in Kensington closed about a year ago

                  1. re: blogs

                    But they re-opened at 1289 Caledonia Road.

                2. Fresh From the Farm on Donlands has great eggs and they are cheaper than supermarket eggs.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: embee

                    I had been buyng them at FFTF for the last 7 years or so (been buying from them before they moved to the current location) but didn't notice they were cheaper than the supermarket. But I did notice that their "large" eggs were smaller than the supermarket eggs. Not much difference in taste, though.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      They are all jumbo size (the largest of extra large). Two dozen cost less than $6.

                      They don't make any organic, or "natural" claims. The natural is implied, which is the same situation as at Cumbrae's, but natural is an almost meaningless term anyway.

                      I've found that the yolks are more vividly coloured than those of any supermarket eggs I've tried in Toronto. The yolks sit much higher, which implies freshness. Some of these eggs do taste especially good, while others are more ordinary. Similar supermarket eggs can cost twice as much, definitely aren't as fresh, and never taste special.

                      I don't really like Fresh From the Farm all that much. I will not buy their meat or fish, which is premium priced, mainly frozen, and can't even be seen through the wrappings. The prepared foods are extortionately expensive and usually very bland. The groceries are ordinary and also expensive. The "home baking" we've tried has been awful. However, I find those eggs to be a bargain.

                      I gave up on supermarket eggs when the major supplier of all Toronto supermarkets had a fire and reportedly lost 30,000 chickens in one building. Yikes. Most of the "specialty" eggs in the supermarkets have different brand names, but come from the same supplier.

                      1. re: embee

                        It's interesting what you said about the FFTF products, as I have a very similar opinion. I don't buy frozen meat, and they have lots of that. Everything seems very expensive, in some cases much higher that at the grocery store. I have some specific examples of that, suchg as the Welsley apple cider that they sell for $3.75, when it's available at T&T for $2.75 or so.

                        I was buying expresso from there, but recently the supply was very erratic, and that was all the reason I needed to get my own roaster.

                        I'll still order my Christmas turkey from them, as certain items are very good.

                        Did you get my email which I sent last night?

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          I have it now. It was caught in my spam filter for some reason.

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            I really like the fresh turkeys and the breakfast sausages at FFTF. I stopped buying most of the other meats long ago for the same reasons as you. But I do like supporting them when possible, and I try to buy their produce when in season. I'll have to try their eggs.

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              Yes, what is with not having the meat visible before purchase? I once asked if they could unwrap what I was interested in so I could see it and they complied but certainly seemed put out by the request. As a result, I have bought produce a few times in the summer, but I, otherwise, don't even consider them for shopping and I live about 5 minutes away!

                              I genuinely can't understand how they stay in business.

                          2. re: embee

                            Tried the FFTF eggs this week. Taste and consistency were average, but I was impressed by the thickness of the shell. Reminds me of REAL farm-fresh eggs -- they were always easy to crack and crack right. Still searching...

                            (Taste is a function of the feed given the chicken. Too bad the farmer doesn't spend that little extra for quality feed -- per egg, I'm sure it wouldn't add too much to the cost.)

                            1. re: yaddayadda

                              Difficult in winter. What feed would you suggest?

                              1. re: jayt90

                                Any whole grain is good for the chicken diet. And they can be stored throughout the winter.
                                I would suggest oats. Chickens love them, you can combine with other nutrients easily, and they are all around good for poultry (and humans naturally).

                      2. OK, I may be on to something...spent far too much time googling around and found Springcreek Farm Produce on Roncesvalles which claims to have eggs from "free-range chickens". While I know that this phrase is not guaranty of what we're looking for, I phoned & spoke with the proprietor - I think I drove her crazy with my picky questions. Anyhow, she claims that her eggs are great & just what I'm looking for.

                        Anybody heard of the place?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: szmeterling

                          Springcreek is good. I have bought eggs there before and did not have any issues with them. But I am not a picky person.

                          The price is right though.

                          1. re: szmeterling

                            I purchased eggs at Springcreek several months ago. They sold me the same eggs (Burnabae) I can get at no frills. Free-range eggs are available almost everywhere. I specifically went into Springcreek to purchase eggs hoping I would find those beautiful deep coloured eggs I ate at an Ontario B&B several years ago (they had their own chickens). I was, needless to say, very disappointed.

                          2. Am I the only one who thinks that it is absolutely outrageous that finding good eggs in a city of Toronto's size, ethnic make-up, and cosmopolitanism, is soooooo difficult???

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: szmeterling

                              Try Culinarium
                              705 Mount Pleasant Rd.
                              (647) 430-7004

                              Edible Toronto magazine is a good place to find sources for local food as well.

                              1. re: garlicscapes

                                Thank you for the tip. I just telephoned Culinarium - I couldn't find eggs on their website.

                                Yes they have eggs; currently they have 5 doz. @ about $6 per dozen. She tells me they come from free-range chickens "not free-run" [I've concluded that all of these terms are pretty useless]. I asked her what the chickens eat and she told me they are fed grain and corn but that they wander around the barn & outside and peck at the grass!!! sounding good, no?

                                She says the yolks are oranger and larger than typical eggs. I am getting excited.

                                1. re: szmeterling

                                  That sounds similar to the Fresh From the Farm eggs, which cost less that half of Culinarium's price.

                                  1. re: embee

                                    I was also a bit taken aback by the price, but for me the location and hours are MUCH more convenient.

                                  2. re: szmeterling

                                    My brother lives North of Huntsville and raises 100 chickens for eggs and can't keep any. They are "free range" meaning they walk in and out of the coop and are free to go wherever they want. They peck at the bugs, eat grass and like to raid the birdfeeders for seeds the birds drop. He feeds them "scratch" which is cracked corn, and a commercial chicken feed. His daughter works for a food store and brings home all the vegetable greens that are out of date, and that gets fed to them. I was surprised at how fast they will devour a tomato. He gets about 7 doz eggs a day and can't keep them. His regular customers take as many as they can get. He doesn't even have a sign out the end of the drive anymore. I'm a firm believer there is a different taste to his eggs, and its depending on their food. Natural food has the best taste.

                              2. OK, folks, some interesting news. I made to Culinarium and bought a dozen eggs for $6.29. I cracked, then fried, then tasted 3 different eggs:

                                No.1 from Highland Farms around $5/doz., touted as vegetarian (the chickens' diet) and cage free
                                No.2 from Culinarium, $6.29/doz., cage free and organic
                                No.3 from Metro/Dominion, $3 and change/doz, ordinary grocery store eggs

                                egg yolk colour: darkest was No.3, next was No.1, palest was No.2. That said, not much difference between darkest/palest

                                egg whites: No.1 was most transparent, with none of those stringy white things attached to the yolk, but 2 "blood spots", otherwise whites identical. When cooked, however, No's 1&2 had remarkably firmer whites than No.3. I do not know what this means but, yes, they all cooked evenly.

                                taste: all 3 tasted ABSOLUTELY the same. Bland and flabby, like we are all so used to.

                                How disappointing.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: szmeterling

                                  I too want "real" eggs and have been following this thread with interest. Now, as a city-slicker I know nothing about raising chickens but I was wondering if it's even possible/realistic to find good eggs (i.e. from pasture-raised hens) at this time of year.

                                  That is, are chickens allowed to roam outside during winter when there are no bugs or grass? If not, then their eggs wouldn't be any different from indoor-raised hens, no?

                                  1. re: DishyDiva

                                    It depends on what they are fed. I know of a place at the corner of McCowan and Mt Albert Rd where you can get fresh eggs. I bought a dozen a few months ago but never tried them. After going into the henhouse while the eggs were being collected, I just couldn't eat them. I'd never been in one before, and found the smell in there too much for me. Maybe all the henhouses smell like that, I don't know.

                                    1. re: foodyDudey

                                      Barnyard smells do not bother the animals or birds.(Would your dog care?) The old fashioned method of getting hens through the winter while still producing eggs was to establish a straw covered floor for them to peck and roam, for tiny worms or insects. The hens' droppings would encourage growth and promote warmth as the straw composted through the winter. This may have been what you were exposed to, but it is a manageable method of husbandry, and much more humane than caged hens.

                                      To achieve an organic label, these indoor winter hens have to get access to an outdoor yard, and they will go out for awhile most winter days, but there is not much to scrounge or peck at. Major food sources are grain and water from the farmer.

                                      If Mt Albert is not too far from Pickering, I'll check out that source.

                                        1. re: jayt90

                                          Look for Blue Star Farm, about 100 m north of Mt Albert Rd, on McCowan.
                                          Here is the website: http://www.bluestarfarm.com/
                                          When you enter the driveway, stay to the right. It's quite a drive from Pickering, as it's about 5 km north of Davis Drive.

                                      1. re: DishyDiva

                                        I went on a mission to find pasture raised eggs and have learned a lot. Yes, during the winter, even the pasture raised chickens have pretty pale yellow yolks. They're still better than supermarket eggs. But wait until May. you'll be blown away by the dark orange yolks and the far superior flavour.

                                        1. re: acd123

                                          Even in May, where did you purchase orange yolk eggs in Toronto?

                                          1. re: acd123

                                            So, the question remains:

                                            Where can one buy eggs from pasture-raised hens in Toronto?

                                      2. You need to find a farmer close to the city and get fresh eggs. brown eggs are the tastiest. Supermarket eggs can be 30-45 days old.

                                        1. You could try contacting Karma Co-op. I believe they sell a few different kinds of free-range eggs; maybe some of the are from pasture-fed hens. They let you shop there once without being a member. You could go and by all the different kind of eggs and do another taste test.


                                          Karma Food
                                          739 Palmerston Ave, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                                          1. So what i'm getting here is unless you have access to a car or have a chicken in your yard you're not gonna be getting grade A (excuse the pun) farm eggs? So I might as well just buy the cheapest eggs I can get my hands on for the winter because there's no distinguishable difference between the different kinds of eggs out there.

                                            This is just for taste of course... not accounting for anything else.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                              CoffeeAddict, you got it right. I don't claim to be the final arbiter, but I have done the taste test and really wanted to find a difference in taste. I plan to try toveggiegirl's suggestion as Karma Coop is convenient for me, and I will let you know how that goes. But once I am done with the 3 doz eggs I bought for the taste test, I'll go back to the cheapest I can find.

                                              And, by the way, I take exception to your online name. Can a person be a "water addict"?? I do not see how a person can be considered "addicted" to a substance which is necessary to sustain life!

                                              1. re: szmeterling

                                                It would be nice to have your taste test confirmed, with poached eggs, and with soft boiled eggs, szmeterling.

                                                (I suspect CoffeeAddict feels a daily need for the caffeine jolt in coffee, though not a serious addiction!)

                                              2. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                                There is definitely a better flavor to a freshly laid egg.
                                                The Clark's eggs NSLM are fresh, and you can tell the difference.
                                                Are they as good as the deep orange yolk eggs, no.
                                                I have not been able (lazy) to get to Fresh From The Farm, which is out of the way for me, but I will, and see if there is a difference between their eggs, and the Clarks.

                                                1. re: erly

                                                  i gotta hit up the SLM tomorrow anyway at some point so i will pick up a dozen eggs for the week from the Clarks'

                                                  As for my name I appreciate the joke szmeterling! Gotta love the java!
                                                  I do love coffee a lot but do get pretty harsh migraines when i don't have caffiene for 24 hours. =(

                                                  1. re: erly

                                                    I'll take some pictures of eggs from the supermarket , FFTF, and from Blue Star Farm and post them on Sunday. I won't have the fresh ones from Blue Star till Saturday afternoon

                                                2. I've been buying my eggs at the Healthy Butcher for the past year. They source them from a farmer in Zurich, near Grand Bend.

                                                  Price is 5.99 a carton, which I'm sure some would find expensive. It seems reasonable to me based on the quality of the product.

                                                  The yolks are a warm yellow and go a little darker when cooked. Frying one sunny side up just now, I noticed a nice rich smell, almost similar to duck fat. I tried the egg without salt and both whites and yolk are quite flavourful. With just a few grains of salt, the egginess really came through.

                                                  The eggs are certified as organic and that's the only description on the carton. The Healthy Butcher confirmed that the birds move freely in a large barn with access to outside. They're fed a grain diet of mostly roasted soy and barley. I didn't think to inquire about possible changes in diet due to the season and I don't recall if the yolks were a different colour in the summer.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Pantz

                                                    I've tried these eggs as well; they aren't the type most people are looking for. Pretty much the same as the other options presented in the thread.

                                                    1. re: tjr

                                                      I wanted to add my 2 cents as I love eggs and if there was a source for those brightly coloured yolks, I'd go the distance to get them. I get my eggs regularly from the Clarks at St. Lawrence and I've had fresh from the farm (memmonite eggs) which are also sold at the butchers at Roxton & Bloor and I've had organic eggs from almost every market I've seen them at. Now what qualifies me to tell you what I think is that

                                                      a) I love soft boiled eggs and you can't hide anything when you make it that way
                                                      b) I've recently (in the last 2-3 years) had very fresh eggs as my husband is from rural Sask and we go there every other year for xmas and I had eggs laid that day for breakfast.
                                                      c) I've been to europe and eaten those yummy yellow yolked eggs that are eggy (it was a few years ago but I remember being shocked at their colour)

                                                      So...I was surprised to find that supermarket eggs usually have a 'musty' taste to them, like someone covered them in dust and then you ate them. Fresh eggs don't have that but have a 'clean' taste more pure. That's what you can find here/ Clarks/ local markets. I've never had or seen the yellowish yolky eggs from Europe and without researching it, I would guess that it has to do with feed. So if you can find a farmer who feeds their chickens the same stuff as Europe, you will luck out!

                                                      1. re: Janine

                                                        Hi Janine,
                                                        It is bugs, and anything they find on, or in the ground.
                                                        They must be true Free Range, not a walk around the barn, which is better than the supermarket eggs, from chickens that never leave their cages.
                                                        I have had those wonderful Golden eggs occasionally in the States in rural areas, but never here in Toronto or surroundings.

                                                        1. re: erly

                                                          Perhaps this is yet another reason why Toronto ramen is so bad!

                                                          1. re: erly

                                                            Bugs is the secret ingredient. Very informative. Thanks for the education.

                                                    2. I raise free-range, pastured chickens and here are my thoughts on why it is so difficult to find wonderful eggs in the big city. Without a quota, I can only have a maximum of 100 layer hens in Ontario. If I want to sell eggs off the farm, meaning I take them to the store, the eggs must be graded and inspected. I can sell all the ungraded, orange yolked eggs I want directly from my farm. The government and regulatory organizations make it very difficult for small farmers (farmers more likely to pasture their birds), to make a profit from raising them. Larger farms are less likely to pasture their hens because of the "risks" involved, like disease, predator losses and inefficiency. I will admit though, that in more than a decade of raising pastured birds in the fresh air, I have not once lost a chicken to disease. Coyotes, raccoons, foxes and owls (for those stubborn hens that roost in trees!) are a different story. Do I make money off my chickens? No. Do I have faithful, happy customers and chickens who make it all worth it? Yes.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: earthygoat

                                                        Thanks for an enlightening post, and too bad Campbellford is some 200 km away from where I live!

                                                        1. re: earthygoat

                                                          Thankfully there are people like you and a curse on those bloody marketing boards.

                                                        2. I picked up the wrong type of eggs the other day, but to my surprise, they were the best eggs I've had here--outside of the eggs I've eaten in Europe.

                                                          They are the Burnbrae Naturegg Omega Pro...you must make sure they are the PRO. More expensive than the regular, but to me they taste and look amazing. The yolk is a spectacularly orangey-yellow. Just like the ones I eat in Europe. I bought mine at Loblaws.

                                                          23 Replies
                                                          1. re: Raquel

                                                            I can't understand how supermarket eggs can have super orangey-yellow yolks. By definition, they can't. Even pasture raised eggs don't look like that at this time of year. Food colouring in the chicken feed, perhaps?

                                                            1. re: acd123

                                                              I've bought these before and they didn't, so... either Raquel received a "bad" batch, or something is amiss.

                                                              1. re: tjr

                                                                You've bought these before and they didn't....what?

                                                                1. re: Raquel

                                                                  Have yolks typical of European or Japanese eggs. They were just plain old yellow, like every other egg. Hence why I suggested that you got a "bad" (ie: good) batch, and the ones I've purchased have not been of the same quality.

                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                    Ohhhh..now I get ya.

                                                                    Actually, my hubby got so excited at seeing the colour of these yolks that he whipped us up an exquisite batch of carbonara for Sunday dinner....it was silky deliciousness with those yolks. He went out today and I asked him to buy some more because we had obviously run low, and they are exactly the same bright-ish colour. Now, I *may* have been a bit excited comparing them to European eggs...which in my mind are unbeatable, but they are the best I've found in North America, and I'm including farm fresh eggs.

                                                                    tjr, why don't you give them another try, but I'm stressing that these aren't just the Omega 3 eggs....they are the Omega 3 PRO.

                                                                      1. re: Fat Swine

                                                                        Sort of. They taste flax-seed like (from the flax they are fed). Flax-seed tastes a bit fishy though (only really noticeable when served ground).

                                                                        1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                          No, some of them are fed fish meal to get the Omega-3 count up,and eggs from those hens taste distinctly fishy. That's why I stopped buying them - it was strong enough to be distracting. I like fish and eggs, I don't like fishy eggs. I find vegetarian-fed Omega-3 eggs quite tasty.

                                                                          1. re: Wahooty

                                                                            I can't really speak to any taste advantages in the Burnbrae Omega 3 eggs sold in the Toronto area. When I sampled these, I didn't find them superior to the regular supermarket eggs. I can, though, mention a few other considerations.

                                                                            If you check the nutrition data on Omega 3 eggs, you might come to share my perception that this is mainly a marketing gimmick. Yes, the Omega 3 and Omega 3 Pro eggs have a better Omega 3 profile than this company's regular eggs. However, if you feel that you need Omega 3 supplementation, some quick research will show you that these eggs are an inefficient way to get it.

                                                                            These eggs have extra Omega 3 because the chickens get Omega 3 supplementation in their diet. It makes much more sense to get the Omega 3 supplementation directly.

                                                                            The Omega 3 eggs are from chickens that are fed some flax. Ground flax seed is delicious. Flax seed oil in capsules is efficient. Why have your supplementation go through a chicken first?

                                                                            While flax is a suitable source of Omega 3, fish oil is a much better source. The difference between the "regular" and "pro" Omega 3 eggs is that the pro eggs come from chickens that get both flax and fish oil in their diets. If you have a problem with fish oil, you may very well have a problem with these eggs also.

                                                                            They also mention lutein in their description of the Omega 3 Pro eggs. Feeding some marigold petals to the chickens would likely produce beautiful golden yolks in addition to upping the lutein content of the eggs.

                                                                            What is more important to me is that neither of these Omega 3 enhanced egg brands is listed by the company as "free run". While I know nothing about the living conditions of the free run hens beyond the company's website description, the conditions in their "regular" barns have been described in the mainstream news media - 30,000 chickens in a barn.

                                                                            1. re: embee

                                                                              Thanks for the more thorough update.

                                                                              Even if some Omega-3 eggs are fed fish products, I stand by my assertion. If you take ground flax meal and place it on your tongue, there is a fishy quality to the taste.

                                                                              Now, I say this as a person who has flax cereal for breakfast and flax bread on the counter.

                                                                              1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                                As far as I know, in order to gain the health benefits of flax seeds, they do need to be ground, whether by machine, or by teeth, as otherwise they pass straight through your system, taking all possible health benefits with them

                                                                              2. re: embee

                                                                                embee, you have hit on the key to the richer colour of Omega 3 Pro eggs, in a single ingredient: "lutein". The colour may be rich from marigold extract, but there is no way they will taste like farm fresh eggs from pastured birds, if they come from an indoor battery and never eat grass, weeds, or grubs.

                                                                        2. re: Raquel

                                                                          i may be wrong but my understanding is that the colour of the yolk is not necessarily the best way to assess the quality/naturalness of the egg. bright yellow could mean simply that the feed is largely corn-based. if i remember correctly, in his chapter on egg farming in omnivore's dilemma, pollen explains the difference in yolk texture as a true test. the yolk should be firm and should 'stand up' when separated from the egg white. the eggs from my CSA farm, chickabiddy farms, did that and they were exquisite. those chicks were pastured in the field, not just in 'free run' in the barn, and ate lots of bugs in the summer. they also came in all kinds of colours and sizes. needless to say, i miss those eggs terribly and can't wait till next summer.

                                                                2. re: Raquel

                                                                  Well, I haven't seen Burnbrae Omega Pro, but I have been buying Burnbrae Free Run Omega 3 eggs from Galati's at Leslie and Finch. I'll admit, it doesn't say organic, and they do state on the packaging that it's an open concept barn (so I guess they aren't really roaming around outside), but they guarantee "no antibiotics or medication are in the feed". Also, they use Bullfrog Power. So, I feel good about that. I can't comment on the taste of these vs. fresh, not ever having had the pleasure, but I feel better about buying these than the cheapo supermarket ones, and at $4.29, they are a good price for this category of product (on sale they were $3.69!).

                                                                  1. re: Raquel

                                                                    And oddly enough, I just bought some Burnbrae Naturegg Organic (also labeled as "free range") which were almost $7/doz. and the yolk was pale and they were quite bland. On the other hand, my wife bought a dozen "Nature Plus" eggs (the packing states "from free roaming hens on small traditional family farms") from Sorauren market and they were orange-y yolked with a very buttery flavour. The Burnbrae were the same rubbery texture, bland eggs we were used to getting from the big grocery stores.

                                                                    Both cartons of eggs were purchased within 2 weeks of one another.


                                                                        1. re: NonStickSteel

                                                                          Thanks. I had not heard of it before today. Looks a lot closer than driving into the country to get some free range eggs.

                                                                          1. re: Herne

                                                                            They've got some really nice stuff besides the eggs too.


                                                                            1. re: Herne

                                                                              Nature Plus is a major egg brand isn't it? I think I saw it at Highland Farms last week.

                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                I think you are right. The eggs I've bought at the Sorauren market were in re-used Nature Plus cartons. The seller assured me they were pastured but who knows if that's true.

                                                                                1. re: kmbar

                                                                                  That could well be the case...I've never come across the Nature Plus brand before so I just assumed it was the original packaging... interesting.


                                                                    1. I'm finding this a very interesting discussion. Thanks for this further info, embee/Kasia.

                                                                      I too finally went to the Burnbrae website and took a look this info. I guess we can't expect farm fresh eggs like we used to anymore, but for me, this has been an unexpected surprise. I did notice that they have a line of 'Free Run' eggs as well, but haven't seen that anywhere in my shopping travels yet.

                                                                      And, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the regular Omega 3 eggs were "fishy" sometimes in taste/smell. These new ones though don't seem to have that same aroma or flavour.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Raquel

                                                                        I can immediately taste anything with omega 3 in it. It tastes just like fish oil. My girlfriend did a blind test on me with various items (omega 3 added and no omega 3) and I can pick out omega 3 with 100% accuracy.

                                                                        The question I always ask her is: "Why would anyone want to eat an egg (yoghurt, butter, pasta, etc) that tastes like cod liver oil?"

                                                                        1. re: herbs go karts

                                                                          I thought it was flax in the feed, not fish oil?

                                                                          1. re: basileater

                                                                            It is, it's completely false that an Omega 3 egg would taste like cod liver oil.

                                                                      2. Kensington Market has a poultry store that also sells eggs from their hens, it's on St. Andrew which is one block north of Dundas, just west of Spadina.

                                                                        Also, in the summer, many farmer's markets sells eggs too. In the winter, I head to Fiesta Farms and Kensington.

                                                                        1. okay so i finally got jumbo eggs from the Clarks at SLM North
                                                                          Preparation was in a Rosti plus two sunny side up eggs on top of the rosti as per my first experience with eggs that wowed me back in Switzerland.

                                                                          The whites tasted quite amazing!
                                                                          the yolks though were good.... but not what i was looking for
                                                                          The freshness of the egg was evidenced by the solidity of the raw yolk but the taste and color were lacking. I`ll reserve full judgement until the spring. I can`t see myself getting any other eggs now though at that price and at that quality ($3.50 for a dozen!)

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                                                            One of the things I find remarkable about Harlan Clark's eggs is just how tender they are when scrambled. I've been making my scrambled the same way for years now. They were never this delicate until I switched to his eggs.

                                                                          2. The closest I have found that resembles anything I had in europe,...especially my last trip to Crete where we literally got the egg the morning it was hatched ...to dye for....is at the Carrot Common- Big Carrot...the brand I cannot remember as they have a few but it is the most expensive one at about $7.99 a doz. I remember because I couldn't believe I was spending that much for eggs but yet I always go back and get more. All the other organic brands I find don't taste much differenct from the regular eggs here.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: cynthias

                                                                              There is nothing forthcoming about these eggs on the Big Carrot site. Do you have any information about their origin, feeding, care?

                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                The eggs in the Maritimes and in France are WONDERFUL. I have yet to find anything, at any price, here in Toronto that compares.
                                                                                I would love a source of Maritime eggs here.

                                                                                1. re: Portail

                                                                                  I agree, the eggs in France are really wonderful, as is the butter, the cheese... Oh, how I miss the smell of the fromagerie. It did take me a while to adapt to the milk though. It is almost tangy; I prefer North American milk.

                                                                                  1. re: Portail

                                                                                    It's unrealistic to ship eggs from the Maritimes to Ontario. Better to find local farms using the same breeds and feeding techniques that make Maritime eggs special.
                                                                                    There are a lot of specialised farmers here, it's just a matter of locating them.

                                                                              2. hi there, I'd like to address a couple of things in your post in hopes of dispelling some of the myths about eggs - the taste of an egg isn't dependent on whether you buy then from grocery stores or not. In fact, the eggs you buy in your local grocery store (I'm speaking in regards to Ontario specifically) are fresh - meaning, they come from a local Ontario farm and takes approx 4-7 days from the farm to the store. In high demand seasons, like Christmas or Easter, it could take as little as 2-3 days. The colour of the yolk depends solely on the feed the hens are given...In Ontario, it tends to be a lighter yellow because they are fed a wheat base vs out West where they are fed a corn base (making the yolk a much brigher yellow). somebody below mentioned 'factory' farms...there is no such thing - no corporations run farms in Canada. There is a farmer on every single farm....typically it's a family run farm regardless of the size. Factory farms is a term that comes from what we see out of the U.S where there are upward of 100,000 hens on an egg farm - not at all true for Canada. Lastly, it is illegal to inject hens with hormones or antibiotics, period. Net, net, the eggs you buy in the grocery store are fresh, healthy, and very very high quality.
                                                                                Hope that helps.

                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Tinafern

                                                                                  According to Agriculture Canada and the Egg Farmers of Canada, in 2007, the average number of laying hens per producer was 18,583 in Canada and the average in Ontario about 21,000 hens. How is that not factory farming?
                                                                                  See Figure 14.

                                                                                  Also, read this interesting article about antiobotic resistance in humans and egg production. it says "According to a 2004 study of 24 hatcheries in the Canadian province of Quebec, ceftiofur [an antbiotic] was injected into eggs in every hatchery studied. "

                                                                                  And, although this Ontario farmer does not inject buy chicks from eggs injected with antibiotics:
                                                                                  "To help the birds cope with infections — the shed is forever teeming with the many types of bacteria and parasites that thrive in chicken excrement — drugs are mixed into the birds' supplies of food and water. Opsteen's not sure exactly what type of drugs they get; he relies on his feed supplier to get the mix right. "

                                                                                  I think that you could not find a small-time farmer who would feed his chickens unknown drugs,

                                                                                  1. re: Tinafern

                                                                                    I have spoken to farmers at local farmers' markets who have stated that the eggs in the stores are already a number of weeks old. Perhaps this is incorrect, but I find it hard to believe that the industry is so well organized that eggs go from the hen to our plate in mere days, given the amount of time it takes for other food (fruit, veggies, etc.) to be processed, delivered to the store and put out in the refrigerator case.

                                                                                    FACTORY FARM - According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_...
                                                                                    )Factory farming is the practice of raising farm animals in confinement at high stocking density, where a farm operates as a factory -- a practice typical in industrial farming by agribusinesses.

                                                                                    Are you really saying that farms producing eggs in Canada are not operating thus?

                                                                                    With respect to farms "being run by corporations". What do you mean by that? Are you saying that no Canadian farms are incorporated? That is, after all, all that it takes to be a "corporation". Seems to me that most farms would be corporations, simply for practical reasons, and I wouldn't even hold it against the small guys to be incorporated. Incorporated doesn't mean "bad"; it's just a way of organizing your business.

                                                                                    What means bad to me is animals raised in confinement at high stocking rates (factory farming) which necessitates a variety of measures that some of us feel averse to or concerned about. For me, that is animal happiness and welfare. For others, that is the requirement to medicate the animals, feed them things they normally wouldn't eat, etc., etc.

                                                                                    1. re: Tinafern

                                                                                      toveggiegirl and Full Tummy have already addressed a number of the issues in your response. However, I thought there was one more I wanted to contest.

                                                                                      You state, "the taste of an egg isn't dependent on whether you buy then (sic) from grocery stores or not". Really?

                                                                                      So the feed the laying hens get doesn't affect the taste of the eggs? I've had eggs from pasture fed chickens during the summer, from a very small producer. Let me tell you, they certainly taste different.

                                                                                      I can't believe there aren't similar (if more subtle) differences between feed quality and taste even when birds are on winter feed.

                                                                                      1. re: Tinafern


                                                                                        The "farms" that supply Toronto supermarkets with most of their eggs have tens of thousands of caged battery chickens per barn. Of course we have factory farming and agribusiness in Canada. Of course we have upward of 100,000 hens on a farm.

                                                                                        A couple of years ago, Burnbrae Farms lost a reported 40,000 laying hens and more than $1M when a single barn burned down. If you view pictures of the fire site, it is obvious that hundreds of thousands of chickens are housed there.

                                                                                        Truth kernel: Unlike the US, the Canadian family farm hasn't died - yet. It'll take a few more years.

                                                                                        Yes, the yolk colour depends largely on what the chickens eat, and what the chickens eat influences rather strongly how the eggs happen to taste. Thing is, the colour can be manipulated, therefore meaning nothing - much like the Perdue chickens that are unnaturally yellow from eating marigold in their feed.

                                                                                        Truth kernel: the egg SHELL colour is pretty much irrelevant.

                                                                                        It is perfectly legal to give sick hens antibiotics. Antibiotic content in our eggs is hardly uncommon.

                                                                                        Truth kernel: Hormones are illegal, and antibiotics used for growth may be as well.

                                                                                        Sorry Tinafern, but your post is preposterous, however good the nutritional content of the factory farmed eggs might happen to be.

                                                                                        1. re: Tinafern

                                                                                          I think you have your regions mixed up. Ontario eggs are darker yellow because of corn feed and out west it's more wheat based. I remember living in Calgary and thinking of how sickly those eggs looked. They've since adjusted feed to get a darker colour.

                                                                                          1. re: Tinafern

                                                                                            Here is a handy reference I use to break down the confusing categories of eggs. This is obviously for Canada.


                                                                                            * no hormones
                                                                                            * medicated feed not allowed
                                                                                            * antibiotics not allowed
                                                                                            * no animal by-products in feed
                                                                                            * feed not organic, may be genetically modified corn, soybean, canola
                                                                                            * no outdoor access
                                                                                            * housed in battery cages
                                                                                            * beaks are trimmed

                                                                                            FREE RUN

                                                                                            * allowed to roam in barn

                                                                                            FREE RANGE

                                                                                            * may have outdoor access


                                                                                            * same as free run or range


                                                                                            * diet consists of flax and fish meal **


                                                                                            * no hormones
                                                                                            * no medicated feed
                                                                                            * no antibiotics
                                                                                            * organic feed
                                                                                            * no animal by-products in feed
                                                                                            * mandatory outdoor access
                                                                                            * not housed in cages


                                                                                            1. re: aser

                                                                                              Funny enough, I found President's Choice eggs to be very tasty. The yolks were almost orange.

                                                                                              1. re: fiveteamer

                                                                                                Are you talking about the ones with the picture of a hen and rooster on the cover? Those were good tasting eggs with orangey yolks. The Burnbrae free run eggs taste quite nice and also have orangey yolks. I didn't like the Rowe Farm eggs since they always tended to have some sort of "specks" in them (i.e. brownish, sometimes redish specks floating in the whites).

                                                                                              2. re: aser

                                                                                                I am visiting a farm in Durham region tomorrow http://www.svetecfarms.com/
                                                                                                to get two dozen brown eggs, free range, for $5.
                                                                                                They sell their own beef as well, in the farm lane. Ground beef is $3.25/lb.
                                                                                                The site indicates that the hens have the run of the place.
                                                                                                I'm looking forward to visiting, and will report back with photos.

                                                                                                1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                  I'd love to hear how this farm was, their prices online seem too good to be true. Beef that's ethically raised (stewing for 3.25) is totally worth the drive.

                                                                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                    Wow, the site looks promising. Maybe I'll take a trip this weekend to get some eggs and beef.

                                                                                                    1. re: scarberian

                                                                                                      The eggs will be ungraded, but free range with a moving shelter. The site says they have 10 acres for the hens, which is a far cry from the crowded barn conditions of Rowe, and other organic producers.
                                                                                                      We can buy eggs from a farm gate legally if the the number of hens is restricted (60 or less?). That way, a small operator can avoid the Egg Marketing Board with its restrictions and quotas. For this farm, I would call or email to reserve the eggs.
                                                                                                      The beef will be inspected, and available packaged in butcher wrap from their freezer.

                                                                                                      1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                        No eggs today at www.svetecfarms.com as a fox raided the chicken coop and the birds were in shock.
                                                                                                        I got burgers, ground beef, and a roast, well priced for hand raised Charolais.
                                                                                                        I picked up eggs at 1595 Taunton Rd., a small backyard operation, 2 doz brown for $7. I would like to establish a list of small egg sellers in GTA.
                                                                                                        They are restricted to 100 birds, and have to sell on the property.

                                                                                                      2. re: scarberian

                                                                                                        They (Svetec Frams) have not been able to supply eggs when I was there two times, but I got a beef shoulder roast (very good) and two T-bone steaks (just $10). The beef is grass or hay fed Charolais.
                                                                                                        It is not well marbled like Angus, but it has a distinctive beef flavor. The loin part of the steak was really good, the strip loin fine but chewy. I'll try the rib steak next time.
                                                                                                        If you are east of Toronto and would like to try grassfed beef, Svetec is a promising. source.

                                                                                                      3. re: jayt90

                                                                                                        The Svetec free range eggs were not available due to a fox problem, but I'll be able to get them in a couple of weeks.
                                                                                                        Instead I got two doz. brown eggs, free run, for $7 at a small household operation, 1595 Taunton Rd., east of Oshawa.
                                                                                                        There are a few outlets like this in outlying areas of GTA. They can have up to 100 birds, and sell eggs on the premises.
                                                                                                        These eggs were firm and fresh but did not taste better than Burnbrae free run
                                                                                                        brown eggs (right side in the photos.) The Burnbrae, $4.49/doz at Highland Farms, had a bright flavor, and a darker yolk.
                                                                                                        I'll be back to Svetec to try their eggs in a couple of weeks.

                                                                                                    2. re: Tinafern

                                                                                                      Factory egg farms absolutely exist in Ontario - we've seen footage of them - http://www.hsicanada.ca/farmed_animal...

                                                                                                    3. I belong to this CSA: http://kawarthaecologicalgrowers.com/

                                                                                                      If you can't make the Thursday Dufferin Grove market, you could join and they have very good eggs. About $5 a dozen. They're organic and they have a very limited number of chickens on their farms (enough that I am pretty sure they don't even break even) so they are well taken care of. You can ask the farmers directly what is going into the feed. It's beyond organic, it's sustainable farming and really really worh it.

                                                                                                      Dufferin Cafe
                                                                                                      2917 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B3S7, CA

                                                                                                      1. For two weeks in a row, I have tried to get eggs at Svetec Farms, east of Oshawa, where 90 hens are producing free range brown eggs, for farm gate sales. Both Saturday visits resulted in "the hens didn't lay yesterday, sorry."
                                                                                                        And both Saturdays, I have dropped into the nearby suburban farmgate at 1595 Taunton Rd. East, to get free range brown eggs at $3.50/dozen. This a Mom and Pop operation, and the lady's English is not the best. There is no marketing, other than a roadside sign offering eggs. They have 65 hens.These are good eggs at a very fair price.

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                          90 hens and the hens didn't lay any? That sounds weird even if they were scared by a predator. This is the prime laying time of the year. Our hens are producing an abundant crop of eggs right now, with hawks flying above and coyotes howling at night. Stick with the mom and pop place.

                                                                                                          1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                            I tried to find 1595 Taunton Rd but could not find it. Seems the road goes on and on through Pickering and Whitby. What is the closest crossroad?

                                                                                                            1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                                              It is east of Oshawa, as is www.svetecfarms.ca
                                                                                                              Try Google maps 1595 Taunton Rd., Clarington Ont. A close cross road is Wilson Av.
                                                                                                              You may have googled Old Taunton Rd., Pickering,

                                                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                Actually I was on Taunton Rd East in Pickering and drove for ages. I think east of Oshawa is a bit far for someone who lives in Toronto.

                                                                                                                Does anyone know if there is someone who sells fresh eggs laid by their hends that I can buy right at their farm gate (and not from one of the farmer's markets) which is close to Toronto?

                                                                                                                1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                                                  I live at Whites Rd/401 and this is the closest I have found. If anyone knows about farmgate eggs close to GTA please report.

                                                                                                                  The egg marketing board controls all large scale production, allowing conditions we might not agree with. But they allow small farms to sell eggs from a flock of less than 100 hens, and the eggs must be sold on the premises.

                                                                                                                2. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                  Just updating the www for Svetec Farms and providing some additional info for anyone interested:


                                                                                                                  From their website:

                                                                                                                  >>To find out what's available at the store,check our phone message every Thursday at 905-263-4655.
                                                                                                                  Come get some grass-fed beef, pastured duck, chicken, pastured pork and free-range brown eggs! <<

                                                                                                            2. In summer I'll get fresh eggs from Durham county farm gates.
                                                                                                              In off season, there is not as lot to choose from, but last week I found a tray of small eggs (that's 30 eggs) for $3 at Skyland, 3715 Lawrence East near Scarborough Golf. Firm yolks, deep color and good flavor, as they were fresh. Apparently ungraded but all perfect. Small eggs are worth considering because they come from young birds and have good shells.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                Try the Brickworks Market on Bayview / Pottery Road ish area. They have eggs and they go fast but not sure which farm they come from. I believe they are brown eggs.

                                                                                                              2. The Butcher Shop on Markham and Kingston Rd have pretty good eggs. They sell them at $8 for 30. The yolks are orange-yellow.

                                                                                                                1. There is a lady around Danforth and Main who has an egg depot, at her house. Mennonite Farmers deliver the eggs, and then you just drop by and pick them up (Ideally, she likes custoemrs to pre-order and pre-pay for eggs, 6 weeks at a time). The eggs are amazing- really hard shells, and super yellow yolks. They are $6.75/dozen. She also sometimes has chili, sauerkraut and other jarred goodies available from the farmers. Her egg business is called Eggy Weggs.
                                                                                                                  She also delivers eggs to Lazy Daisy Cafe, and I think you can pick up from there too. (Gerrard St)

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: shocked

                                                                                                                    Update- here is their website, if you want to know more about their eggs:

                                                                                                                    1. re: shocked

                                                                                                                      I e-mailed her a while ago. Never got back to me.

                                                                                                                      Maybe I should try again.

                                                                                                                      I won't try forever.

                                                                                                                  2. I buy my eggs at Fiestafarms, 200 Christie St. between Bloor and Dupond. They have a variety of organic eggs to choose from, I buy a 12 pack of small eggs from hens that are free to grass in an open garden. They are very good. $5,99.

                                                                                                                    1. I was extremely happy to find Nutri Spring Farms pastured chicken eggs at Highland Farms Kennedy & Ellesmere yesterday. Way to go HF!

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                        I absolutely agree, I love this company's stance on how to treat animals and how organic is nowhere near as healthy as 100% pastured with some Non-GMO grain also included. I see you can visit their farm as well to buy directly if your local healthy market doesn't carry their stuff, so we're going to check it out this Saturday as on Saturdays they have free samples of their meats, and you can buy organic ice cream for the kids in an organic spelt waffle cone which is awesome. I'm going to pick up some grass fed bison while there too, and maybe a few other things for the deep freezer.

                                                                                                                        Farms/organizations like this will feed the planet, not genetically modified corn and soy.

                                                                                                                      2. I believe barns are popular because the laying hens, or the meat hens (2 different breeds), will grow and produce optimally when fed balanced feeds. Put them outside and they will eat grass, weeds, seeds, and insects slowly, often balanced with an equivalent amount of dirt. This makes for rich yolks, but fewer. Or, for the megabred meatheads, tough but flavorful chickens.
                                                                                                                        I reluctantly conclude that barns are better, with allowable outdoor exposure but not a lot of feed provided there. Exactly what the organic producers do.

                                                                                                                        1. i've been getting "vita-egg" free run eggs at the health food store in our neighbourhood (formerly called etherea, now called "eazy health"). yolks are big & orange, and i think yummier although i haven't done any blind taste-testing! they are $6.25/dozen i think http://countrysidefarms.ca/en/product...