It was recently pointed out to me by an individual that he commonly sees store bought eggs between 99 cents and $1.30 and can’t tell the difference between those and farm eggs. I get it. It’s a valid observation. Farm eggs are not for
A couple Harvey Farms chickens enjoying the sun
everyone. And I certainly don’t knock anyone who buys store bought eggs. But I do think it is important to understand the difference.
There are many potential reasons why someone may prefer to pay the premium price for farm eggs. Some say they prefer the taste. There is legitimately something different about an egg that has come from a chicken living a clean, free, natural life outdoors. Ask someone that grew up on a farm with chickens or that has had access to farm eggs and ask them about the taste and you are almost certainly going to hear a strong positive expression about it.
For some, they don’t want to support an industry that keeps chickens in tight “battery cages” their whole life. Life for most egg laying chickens in the US is extremely stressful for the birds. Chickens in most commercial egg operations are in enormous indoor facilities where they are kept in tiny cages that are so small, they cannot move, walk, turnaround, or even stand or stretch their wings. The conditions are so bad
Extreme example of chicken battery cages
that such cages have been banned throughout Europe. It has also been reported that the ammonia from their concentrated waste is so bad it can make breathing painful for the birds.
For some it’s about eating healthier. A chicken living a natural life outdoors in the sun with at least a partial free-range diet produce healthier eggs. Multiple studies have found farm eggs have benefits such as less cholesterol, less saturated fat, increased vitamins A, E and D, more omega-3 fatty acids and more beta carotene. Studies have also found that the more natural living conditions greatly reduce the chance of contracting salmonella.
I am the first to acknowledge that no one is buying farm eggs because of the price. Admittedly, there is a large price difference. But I feel it is important to understand the price is not about making a quick buck. When I add up the cost of feed, cartons, and labeling, I am paying almost 3 times what that gentleman points out stores are charging for a carton of eggs. That doesn’t count other ongoing costs such as electricity and website fees. And it certainly doesn’t factor in the couple thousand in upfront costs for the coop, the birds, refrigerator, etc. Not to mention my time caring for the birds, collecting eggs, stamping cartons, managing orders, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, and I hope and believe our farm will one day operate in the black, but my point is the egg price is not a result of gouging or making a lot of money.
Again, I’m not knocking anyone that buys store bought eggs. I have certainly eaten my share back in the day. But there is a difference. And there is a market for eggs produced by free, naturally raised and cared for birds. And Harvey Farms is happy to be a small player in that market, providing quality products for our community.