When it comes to eggs, there is no comparison between a store bought commercially-raised egg and a pasture-raised (not pastuerized!!!!) egg on a small farm.
Eggs are readily available at your nearest super market year around. The commercial layers of these eggs can be tricked and fooled into laying all year long. From the temperature to the lighting to the feed, everything is controlled in confinement laying operations.
However, most people don't know that eggs raised in a natural environment are a seasonal commodity just like vegetables are.
Beginning in the fall, the days shorten and the temperature decreases. Hens were created to start conserving their inner heat during this time. Laying fewer eggs helps them achieve this natural process. What is also interesting in how nature works together, is that during the fall and winter months insects tend to taper off as well. As a result of this, these free-ranging ladies have less to dine on and chase around in the pastures thus helping them to conserve this energy. Who doesn't like to huddle up under a nice blanket in the winter?
The sun also plays a major role in the egg laying hormones of hens. When the days shorten, they produce a smaller amount of this hormone and eventually it leads them into a complete resting phase called “molting”. They may cease laying eggs all together during molting giving their reproductive tract time to rejuvinate. Allowing this process to naturally occur, helps layers become more efficient and nutritious eggs layers when the days start to lengthen again.
As we near the fall and winter months, our egg layers will indeed go through this phase because we allow for it to naturally occur. Now is a great time to begin stocking up on eggs since our layers seem to be at their peak right now and grasshoppers abound in the pasture for them to feast upon.
Keep in mind that most of our eggs are sold within just a few days of being collected so they are as fresh as it gets. Store bought eggs are typically a few months old by the time they make it to the grocery store shelves for purchase.
We typically tell our customers that for optimum freshness, the shelf life for our eggs is 8 weeks although for most families, they are gone before they ever expire and lose freshness.
However, eggs will stay good for up to 6 or 7 months if properly refrigerated and kept cool enough.
Mother Earth news recently did a study on storing eggs long term. Their findings are very interesting.
“The very best way we've found to stash eggs away for long-term storage is in a sealed container at a temperature of 35° to 40°F. Their whites may become somewhat runny looking over a period of time, but even after seven months—the cackleberries stored in this manner smell good, taste good, have a good texture, and—in short—seem "almost fresh".”
You can read the rest of this article HERE on egg storage and the entirety of the egg experiment.
Now is the time to stock up! The ladies are cranking them out happily. But, we know that this season is about to come to an end and will pick back up again when Spring rolls around.