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All eggs aren't created equal | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
Whidbey Recipes' Margaret Walton wrote about eggs and I, like her, never really gave them up!
However,I would like to invite Margaret to extend her perspective and expand on her knowledge regarding eggs, and chickens, (which, I believe, DO come first).
Margaret states that the "primary factor" for buying eggs is the packing date (freshness).
While this is important and is always good consumer advice she omits the many other considerations regarding shopping for and eating eggs. She implies that price is the only significant difference between the eggs of "humanely treated" or "free-range", etc., and "the plain dozen from the egg display."
First of all, the "plain dozen" (cheapest price) is most likely going to be eggs from battery caged chickens. This practice has already been voted on and soon to be to be illegal in California and will be coming before voters in Washington state later this year. Check out: Washingtonians for Humane Farms (http://www.facebook.com/HumaneWA).
Although "organic free range" is the best choice for grocery store eggs, there is an even better choice available. The pastured egg.
A 2007 study by the Mother Earth News showed pastured chicken's eggs to contain four to six times more vitamin D, one third less cholesterol, one fourth less saturated fat, two thirds more Vitamin A, two times more Omega-3 fatty acids, three times more Vitamin E and seven times more beta carotene than typical supermarket eggs. Check out: (http://www.motherearthnews.com/eggs.aspx).
But really you don't need a scientific study to recognize the higher quality of pastured eggs compared to factory farm raised: simply crack them side by side and compare the rich dark yolks and thick whites of the pastured eggs with the pale yellow yolks and thin, watery whites of the commercial ones.
If you are lucky enough to know a local Whidbey Island farmer that is keeping chickens that are allowed to graze on pasture and live a normal chicken life this will be the most sustainable choice for purchasing eggs. There are no transportation/refrigeration expense/delays and the associated costs of energy, gas, pollution, road maintenance etc. You will be supporting our local economy and able to see for yourself that your food is humanely-raised, environmentally-friendly, economically sound, wonderfully fresh and highly nutritious! Isn't this almost priceless? Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability.
As you may have gathered, I keep chickens, naturally. Not only do I enjoy serving scrambled eggs to my eager young granddaughters or baking an awesomely rich cake, I love the antics and various personalities of the chickens themselves. I am soothed by the little sounds they make and am fascinated how curious and smart they can be. Years of watching them has proven to me that chickens are quite social and are very brave, hard-working mothers that deserve better treatment at the farm and more appreciation at the table.
Mary Jane Miller