Saturday I took my kids to see the chickens that lay eggs for Clover. We’ve been getting our eggs from Chip-in farm in Bedford, MA. They are not organic, but they are free range. We’d love to use organic eggs but have found that we can’t get organic eggs that are local and fresh. So we stick to free range from Chip-in farm. This means the chickens are packed a bit less tightly than most commercial operations and they have access to outdoor runs. They’re not roaming outside their whole lives, but it’s worlds different than large scale commercial farms. Our favorite thing about Chip-in is that you can visit the farm and see the operation for yourself, and that the eggs are ridiculously fresh.
When you eat an egg at Clover it was laid earlier that week. This is a big difference from the eggs you get from the supermarket. The USDA is super focused on Salmonella, but freshness? not so much. On egg packaging you can find the pack date in a hidden code stamped on the side. By hidden I mean “K013” means January 13th. This is the date the producer inspected and packed the eggs (not the date they are laid). The lay date could be 7 days before the pack date. The USDA then allows a full 45 days from that date as the “sell by” date. Eggs are meant to be safe to eat for 3-5 weeks after purchase. If you’re doing the math you’re realizing that those eggs you’re eating from the super market could very well have been laid nearly 2-3 MONTHS before you eat the egg.
The time between our eggs being laid, cooked, and served is less than most commercial eggs spend sitting waiting to be packed at a warehouse. This is why our Pop-overs pop. The whites are firm and have strong shape, the yolks are delicious, not chalky, the flavor is right, and the colors are right.