Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NPR - Mexicans find American eggs pale, tasteless

Photo of a factory-farm egg laying hen.
Well, there's a new crisis every day and this week it turns out that Mexico is running out of eggs.  Eggs are an important part of the Mexican diet, famous for huevos rancheros and more, so this is a major concern. 

Driving in the car, I caught the NPR broadcast of the situation.


And here is the bit that caught me right away:

"The first shipments from the U.S. have already arrived at Mexico City's
huge wholesale warehouse and are helping to stabilize prices.
But egg vendor Adrian Hernandez says his clients don't like the U.S. imports;
they tell him the American eggs don't have any flavor,
and that the yolks are pale."

Here in the U.S., it has been a generation or more since the General Population had anything but factory-laid, supermarket eggs.  Here in a country of obsessed eaters, Americans truly don't know the difference!

Egg comparison done by the NY Times. Supermarket egg is
on the right. Notice that you can't even see the whites....

Unless, like me, you have a free-ranging,
garden-munching, bug-snatching,
happy gang of hens laying eggs
with bright orange yolks
 and whites that hold their shape
 (not some watery goooooo).

And here's a question:
Do you ever get totally confused by the labelling on things like eggs? 
Organic, cage-free, free-range, vegetarian....omega-3 enhanced... ? 

Check out this rational article that gives a quick run-through of the many terms: http://today.ninemsn.com.au/foodandwine/254469/choosing-the-best-eggs 

One of the most important frauds I see perpetrated right now is the idea that eggs from "vegetarian only" fed chickens are somehow better. In real life, vegetarian-only-feed means that the birds are kept totally caged, never outside where they could eat bugs or worms - exactly the kind of factory production corporate farms hope to maintain.  Chickens are omnivores by nature

I'm telling you, the person who came up with vegetarian feed only" chickens as a positive marketing message is a GENIUS.  And, sadly, it shows how little most people know about chickens (or any other food source, for that matter), that Americans think this is a good thing.

My RoosterMan guarding his bug-hunting hens.
Oh, dear, and I'm rehoming our chickens.
Scaling down to leave our farm.  This is terrible.
I've got to get to work on those townie zoning ordinances.
I don't think I could go back to "supermarket" eggs if I had to.
And my eggs were one of my last holdouts from total vegan living.  <sigh>


PS  Just for the record, in case anyone thinks that the first sad photo is not realistic, I can tell you as someone with a graduate degree in agriculture, you really, really don't want to take a clear look at most of our country's meat production if you want to feel good about yourself. You should, but you don't want to.  I'm sorry, I truly am, but that is just how it is. And bear in mind that now that the sick little hen in the photo has given out as an egg-layer, they are going to turn her into some chicken product for you to eat.

Bah! Get yourself a bit of backyard and raise a couple of chickens.  No, don't eat the chickens, let them live happily for a long time, laying eggs  - and eat those bright, tasty eggs!  Instead of antibiotics and hormones, you get entertainment and affection.  You know you can't beat that for health and healing!



  1. Sybil, why must you get rid of your chickens? I thought you were in an agricultural district? I note that the VB ordinance also prohibits "fish ponds" in residential areas... I wonder how many people have koi ponds. They don't seem to define "fish pond", so it isn't restricted to large agricultural usees. Your chickens aren't a large operation either. So it seems that enforcement is a touch inconsistent...

    This is terrible!

  2. Hi, Laura! You are quite right - we're zoned Ag out here in Pungo/Blackwater and on 5 acres, so all is well with the zoning folks. No, life and commitments - such as caring for Rob's elderly mother - are calling us back to Town Life. What an adjustment this is going to be! We'll still be growing a lot of food (heck, I produce most of our food in just a few beds right now and look what Dave over at .09 acres has accomplished), but right now VB doesn't allow backyard chickens in town. Luckily, I've been finding really great, loving homes for my girls and three are staying with me until the bitter end (in case we can get that ordinance changed). I'm looking forward to a new garden adventure with a small place that can get lots of attention to detail! But, my, how I will miss the "big sky" out here, full of stars and free of lights.

    On the other hand, if you know someone who would like a ready-to-go lovely little farm with more unusual fruits than most folks will ever eat and a wonderful chicken coop to boot.... well, send them our way!

  3. Oh, wow... that will really be a change. Don't lose hope with your birds - Poquoson just the other day changed their ordinance to allow chickens.

    Will you be taking at least cuttings of all your figgies with you? I'd hate to see you lose those too!

    Had you made this move 3 years ago, I would have jumped at the chance to live at an insta-farm. But now we're pretty settled in Hampton and have been working on planting our little 0.79 acre. But I'm sure someone will come along that just swoons over your place.

  4. No, Laura, probably not taking anything from here.... all for new owners... BUT, I will be taking cuttings of the figs to share at a Plant Propagation Workshop and Plant Swap program I'm doing at our Pungo-Blackwater Library (where I work!) this spring. I'll post dates and such as we get closer, so I hope you'll plan come down and get more cuttings this spring!

  5. Sybil,
    I'd definitely come to your plant swap. Do let us know when it will be. It would be especially good if there was enough notice to start up plenty of plants to swap, like tomatoes. I enjoy starting a variety of heirlooms from seed, and always wind up with too many seedlings. I have a bit of a soft spot for tomatoes. And I'd love to try rooting your figs again (I bet I'll do better with a little professional oversight!) Got a soft spot for fruit, too.


The sharing of ideas, experience and helpful information between one gardener and another has always been the very best of gardening traditions.