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fresh organic free range eggs

mschow Feb 8, 2009 07:27 PM

Please forgive my ignorance; I know this is going to sound stupid to some people, but I I need a few questions answered. I purchased some free range organic eggs at a farm on Friday. I saw the ad on craigslist, and it's around the corner from my sister, so I thought I'd check it out. When I got there, all sorts of chickens were running around, different colors and types. I picked up a dozen eggs for myself and 2 dozen for a friend. The eggs look like something out of a Martha Stewart show. Some are brown, others are blue and green, some are beige speckles. They are beautiful, and don't even look real. Plus, they weigh twice as much as a dozen from the grocery store, I swear. The farmer told me the yolks would be orange, and once I had these eggs, I would never want a grocery store egg again.
I like my eggs over easy; are these non pasteurized eggs safe to eat that way? My sister has me thinking I will be in kidney dialysis if I eat an un-pasteurized egg. My parents were raised in NYC, so when I told them about the colors of the eggs, they looked at me like I was crazy. Yes, they know a good bagel, pastrami sandwich or where to a great pizza, but when it comes to eggs...not so much!
I do like my eggs well cooked, and not very runny. Is it safe to assume these eggs will be safe to eat over easy?
Thanks

  1. t
    twj Aug 19, 2010 08:40 PM

    I raise my own chickens for eggs and while they are not pasteurized, I have reason to believe that they are better for you than their pasteurized, commercial-raised counterparts. My hens get green grass, sunshine, fresh water, and the occasional watermelon rind. Because I do feed them miscellaneous treats, their eggs cannot be considered organic, but that term is pretty vague nowadays anyway.Their yolks are a deep orange due to all the carotene they get free-ranging and take on a richer, cleaner taste, IMO. In short, if you believe the eggs that you got were from hens raised in good conditions, they are safe to eat. I've never gotten sick from my hens' eggs, which is especially good, given the egg recall as of late.

    1. MinkeyMonkey Aug 19, 2010 04:02 PM

      I can see that you've already had lots of responses, I just wanted to chime in. What a great source you've found!!!

      I only buy from a local farmer too and she runs a clean, organic and normal farm. I had thought of rinsing the eggs but they look clean to me so I never bother.

      The reason I don't bother with store bought free range is that lots of big farms still do things like remove beaks and or claws. That bugs me so I just get eggs from small farmers I'm familiar with.

      Those eggs sound so beautiful! I hope you enjoy them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MinkeyMonkey
        o
        ospreycove Aug 19, 2010 04:23 PM

        Free range vs factory farm hens, produces less of a chance for disease.

        1. re: ospreycove
          EWSflash Aug 19, 2010 08:01 PM

          I blathered on above, but you have the condensed and true version.

      2. t
        toastnjam Feb 10, 2009 06:45 PM

        I'm an urban chicken keeper too. When eggs are laid they have a *bloom* on them which protects the egg contents from being contaminated with any dirt that might get on them. Commercial operations wash the bloom and any dirt off and then re-coat the egg with mineral oil to restore that protection.

        The color of the yolk has a lot to do with the hens diet. The more greens they get the more yellow the yolk will be. You can feed a hen paprika & it will make the yolk more orange/red. Other foods will make it more green.

        One thing my family noticed when we first started eating our hens eggs were that they were incredibly rich - much more so than store bought eggs. We leave the bloom on the egg until time to crack it open but wash them before doing so.

        1 Reply
        1. re: toastnjam
          t
          taos Aug 19, 2010 02:47 PM

          It doesn't take a genius to know that cramped chicked houses with hens crammed side by side lead to sick hens. The Iowa farm that is at the root of the current salmonella outbreak was cited for dozens of safety violations, affecting the health of the chickens, of the workers and ultimately of the eggs. Free range and/or organic (not the same thing) hens much less risk of disease but are not 100% disease free. They do taste a whole lot better and are far healthier for you because the hens are feed are fed a natural diet, not amped up on chemicals designed to make them pump out abnormal amounts of eggs and not get sick in their cramped living conditions.

          This does not mean all free range or organic eggs are perfect. You should know the farm from where you buy your eggs. Even free range and organic eggs can come from a poorly-kept farm. I always rinse my eggs off in running water before using.

        2. r
          RosemaryHoney Feb 10, 2009 06:49 AM

          These eggs are fine to eat over easy.

          We have laying hens that are free to roam our property, and they don't lay their eggs where they deficate...they lay them in their nests, not just in any old place they choose (I'm not sure to what Todao is referring), and not where they're exposed to feces. If you are concerned, though, just wash them in a water-winegar solution.

          My experience is certainly antecodal (my family and I and almost all our neighbors have been eating farm-fresh eggs for as long as I can remember with no problems), but I'm also an epidemiologist, and I'm hard pressed to recall any outbreaks of kidney failure among people purchasing eggs at farm stands.

          1. monavano Feb 9, 2009 01:58 PM

            lucky you! The blue/green eggs are from Aracuana chickens. I can't remember the names of the other chickens which lay sand colored eggs, but I hope to begin buying some again soon-when a local dairy farmer/cheese maker gets more hens. I miss those orange yolks that only come from scratchin' around the outdoors!

            1. coll Feb 9, 2009 07:52 AM

              I get eggs all the time from the farm down the street, and they're all different colors like yours. The first time I saw the blue ones I said "Did she steal them from a robin's nest?" (it was springtime) Now I know better.
              Anyway they do have brown gunk and sometimes straw stuck on them; I always wash them off, and if I'm making them over easy or in eggnog I first soak them in a bowl of water with just a drop of bleach for about 30 seconds. Just for good luck! Although I saw here that the alcohol in eggnog has been proven to kill anything bad in there.
              Over easy and sunnyside up are the best way to use these, scrambled eggs come out great too but a little runny is the best way to enjoy them in all their glory.

              1. todao Feb 8, 2009 08:08 PM

                Most of the demand for pasteurized eggs is in the preparing of certain sauces and salad dressings. You can inquire of your local grocer to be certain about what's available in your local area. There are some limited sources for eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell (it's done using low temperature pasteurization) but I doubt that the eggs you buy at the local supermarket meet that standard. Egg color variations are simply the result of their being produced by different breeds of chickens. A brown egg is no more nutritious (or less) that a white egg. "Free Range" eggs come from hens that are permitted to roam but use nesting boxes or nests in open areas while still having the freedom to leave nest (if they choose - not all of them roam the same amount) periodically. But chickens that are allowed to roam free can lay eggs in areas where they come into contact with feces or other contaminating agents so their eggs aren't necessarily something you'd want as a first choice. That's why you'll find commercial egg suppliers run their eggs through a washing process, Your local "organic farmer" may not take the trouble to do that. Eggs can be contaminated internally or the egg matter inside the shell can become contaminated by the bacteria on the outside of the shell when the shell is cracked. That's why it's a good idea to maintain good food safety practices at all times.
                There are those who will disagree; they've been careless all their lives and have beaten the odds of salmonella and other deadly bacteria. How you handle your food is a matter of free choice. If you're lucky you'll never suffer a food borne illness. If you're unlucky, you may only experience it once ... then it's Forest Lawn.

                2 Replies
                1. re: todao
                  k
                  karykat Feb 8, 2009 09:08 PM

                  I agree entirely. I buy pasturized eggs when I am making something that uses raw eggs (like some kind of dessert that has raw egg whites in it) and especially if I'm serving it to anyone who migh be especially vulnerable. In those cases, why worry? I don't want to worry that my dessert is putting an elderly family member at risk.

                  For day to day cooking, I buy eggs from local providers I trust who I know are not factory farm operators, so that I think the risk is reduced. Just my philosophy.

                  1. re: todao
                    andytee Feb 8, 2009 11:14 PM

                    My Father-In-Law keeps laying hens, as do several of my friends. Left to their own devices, chickens almost never lay eggs where the come in contact with feces. If they do, or are ever dirty for any other reason, it's simple enough to wash off. People have been eating eggs, and eating them raw, for centuries pre-pasteur without major catastrophe.

                    I'm clear that my experience with eating unwashed farm fresh eggs and being safe is strictly anecdotal, but it's been a delicious experience. I don't have any illusions that in the contaminated food never hurt anyone before the rise of industrial agriculture, but I'm pretty convinced that more salmonella come from factory farms that small local egg producers. We have a core problem in our food system that instead of opting for the safety of good practices and fresh product up front, we choose pasteruization and irradiation and preservatives. I'm not dead set against any of these (well, I can't say much good for irradiation) but I don't think eggs need it. You mentioned that commercial producers put their eggs "through a washing process" - we can too, use your sink. It's really that easy if you are concerned.

                    There's always exceptions to any rule, which it why it's good to get to know your farmers, and that's a heck of a lot easier with a backyard operation than a battery cage one.

                  2. andytee Feb 8, 2009 08:06 PM

                    if your eggs are fresh and from a clean, well run organic farm, they should be safe even to eat raw. over-easy should not be a concern. in general these eggs will be far safer in terms of salmonella than grocery store eggs which come from factory farmed hens in battery cages.

                    if the shells look unclean, you can give them a rinse, but i buy eggs like this all the time and don't bother, and have never had a problem.

                    1. jayt90 Feb 8, 2009 07:50 PM

                      Commercial eggs are washed in an antiseptic solution so that he shells are clean, but they are not pasteurized.
                      Your eggs should be fine over easy. You are lucky to have a source like this.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jayt90
                        EWSflash Aug 19, 2010 07:58 PM

                        I agree with JayT90. I had a small backyard (6) laying flock for several years, they were in a large pen during the day and when we got home we'd let them wander the yard and garden for several hours. Best eggs by far I ever ate, they ate my garden to smithereens, but the eggs were worth it, plus they were fun to watch- you cna't appreciate this unless you've been there, probably, but it's true.
                        Never had a problem with any of their eggs, which I used in everything, mayo to omelets, my theory was the hens were very healthy and therefore so were the eggs. Naive? I don't think so. Miss Redfeathers died suddenly, so I took her to the U of A vet school necropsy lab for a necropsy (I work in the medical field, I had to know). She died of avian gout, which is a whole different disease in birds than in humans. Cost me a bundle, but it was worth knowing.

                      2. Bryn Feb 8, 2009 07:47 PM

                        There is a higher chance of salmonella in eggs fresh from the farm like this because they don't go through the stringent cleaning process and oiling like grocery store eggs do. But eggs in the store are not pasteurized except for egg beaters.

                        I'd eat them a bit more well done then I'd normally eat them.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Bryn
                          monku Feb 8, 2009 07:55 PM

                          Salmonella is in the egg and has nothing to do with cleaning the shell. 1 in 10,000 eggs may contain salmonella in the Northeast.

                          http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseas...

                          1. re: monku
                            Bryn Feb 9, 2009 07:04 AM

                            no. Some salmonella is in the egg from the mother hen. MOST contamination is caused by cross contamination of an infected birds feces on to the surface of the egg. Big egg operations have it so the egg leaves from under the chicken immediately and goes for washing and refrigeration so that it is not contaminated by feces.

                            1. re: Bryn
                              monku Feb 9, 2009 01:14 PM

                              Read the link from the CDC
                              http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseas...

                              1. re: monku
                                Bryn Feb 9, 2009 03:45 PM

                                The cdc isn't explaining the contamination of eggs that are not disinfected. The OP is asking about eggs that are not disinfected. Therefore your article is only half relevant.

                          2. re: Bryn
                            k
                            karykat Feb 8, 2009 08:00 PM

                            I thought I had read that farm fresh eggs like these are much less likely to have salmonella than the factory farm eggs commonly available in grocery stores. I thought that the very cramped and crowded conditions in the factory farm settings are more likely to give rise to salmonella. In any event, I thought that the risk of salmonella from eggs was pretty small, but especially from a small provider. (And especially when you like your eggs well-cooked!)

                            1. re: karykat
                              Bryn Feb 9, 2009 07:06 AM

                              The smaller provider doesn't test regularly for salmonella on his birds and since they are free range they can be easily infected by whatever wild birds are flying around and stealing the chickens feed. Not that I'm against it is just a simple fact.

                          3. monku Feb 8, 2009 07:46 PM

                            I stand corrected. You can buy "pasteurized" eggs, but most eggs you buy at the store are not pasteurized.

                            1. monku Feb 8, 2009 07:32 PM

                              I don't think any eggs you buy are pasteurized except for "liquid" eggs like Egg Beaters type eggs or egg whites.

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