Bad news. The farmers market near my mother's place in Florida does not sell eggs. They have lovely produce, and fresh tomatoes in February, but no eggs. Not sure if it's their health department's regulation or it's just too hot to have them outside without expensive refrigeration, but there are no eggs to be found. I cannot live without eggs. What does one eat for breakfast without eggs?
Since I was unwilling to give up my protein packed breakfast I ended up with grocery store eggs. There is nothing inherently bad about grocery store eggs. I'm just unused to having my eggs try to advertise to me. We have a basket for our eggs that sits in the pantry and, while we have stacks of egg cartons, we only use them if we're selling or transporting eggs. Most of the time our eggs never see the inside of an egg carton. So seeing a clear plastic container with a dozen eggs is already a walk on the wild side for me.
While the plastic was clear there was a loud yellow label across the top of the container. It told me that the eggs were from chickens fed on a grain only diet and completely vegetarian. Um, what? How is that even possible? Chickens are omnivores. They like to eat protein from insects, larvae, or small animals. I've witnessed our chickens eat mice, frogs, and small fish. Chickens also eat veggies in the form of grasses, flowers, and fruits if they can find berries. Our birds eat kitchen scraps which includes all kind of vegetable matter and maybe a stray pizza crust (which they love). The birds love carbs, so an all grain diet would probably be very satisfactory for them. But I think it's probably impossible to keep every stray insect out of the coop and make sure they never touched a single insect larvae their entire lives. Calling these chickens "vegetarians" is a stretch. I'm sure the marketers meant well. It was certainly a step up from the egg container I saw recently which touted the eggs inside as "nest fresh" which sounds vaguely gross.
Aside from the advertising on this particular dozen eggs the package was a bit of an intelligence test. I poked at it for a while before I figured out that there were two overlapping flaps on top. It took an embarrassingly long time for me to open it. After cracking them into the pan I was struck with the thought, "These are not my eggs." The yolks were lighter, which I was expecting, but after getting a little egg goo on my finger I caught myself racing for the sink to scrub my hands. "I don't know these chickens," I thought. "Who knows where they've been?!" While I'm always concerned with food safety and follow safe handling practices this was a new revelation for me. I trust my chickens. I know what they eat, where they hang out, and can control their food safety. I believe it's called biosecurity but that's really too intense of a word for it. It's making sure their food stays dry and free from contaminants. I've thrown entire bags of shavings and feed away if I had even an inkling that mice had gotten into it or it had gotten wet. Because I control what my birds are exposed to I'm, inadvertently, protecting myself. Moral of the story is this: If it's good for my birds, it's good for me, too.
I made sure to cook those eggs all the way through. No chances on a runny yolk from a bird that I didn't raise. You can call it overkill, or OCD, but I've had my own eggs for so long that I forget how to properly interact with eggs from outside sources. At the end of the day I didn't get sick, and I appreciated coming home to my own eggs that much more.