Eggs are a direct reflection of the diet and environment where they are created, and Loudoun farms help birds create some of the best eggs anywhere in the market. Using both free-range and pasture-fed techniques, Loudoun farmers take care of their birds and pass the benefits on to you.
It’s not just chickens though – Loudoun also has farms dedicated to raising eggs from ducks, geese, turkeys, peafowl, guinea fowl and quail. Eggs are one of the most versatile culinary ingredients, starring on their own in scrambles, baked and fried recipes, but also revolutionizing baked goods, soups, desserts and more. In all dishes, eggs help to provide structure, lending their proteins to help emulsify and thicken sauces or custards, add moisture to cakes and breads, or even put a nice glaze on top.
Goodness You Can Sense
Unlike factory farms, Loudoun farms are home to a wide biodiversity of chicken breeds, laying everything from pale white eggs to dark brown, with hues of blue, green and pink in between. Some are large or small, speckles or uniform, smooth or bumpy depending on diet and the time of year. Crack one open, and the diet of the laying bird becomes even more apparent, from the rich color of the yolks (a reflection of the nutritional diet), to the minute differences in egg smell and taste.
Tasting eggs from smaller, free-range farms may have you swearing off grocery store chain eggs forever, with their subtle notes, unique character and unmistakable flavors on full display.
Find Local Eggs
Chicken laying patterns are heavily affected by sunlight, so some farmers keep lights on in the coop during the winter, while others let their hens rest.
Fresh From the Local Farm
While American grocery stores exclusively carry eggs in the refrigerated section, it is possible to see eggs in farmers markets, farm stores and roadside stands in coolers or shelves. Both are perfectly safe to consume – but how? Eggs are laid with a thin protein membrane around the outside of the eggs that keeps them air-tight. This is designed to protect the internal embryo and give the hen several weeks to lay a full clutch of eggs worth sitting on. Once she chooses to sit on the nest, all embryos are then on the same timing and can hatch within the same time frame.
When eggs are collected, FDA standards require large-scale producers to wash the membrane off the egg, thus exposing the eggs to contamination and requiring them to be refrigerated. It’s important to check with the farmer to see if eggs have been washed to know if they must be refrigerated. Whereas eggs from the grocery store may already be one month old, eggs from Loudoun farms are likely to be laid that week, giving you a much longer shelf life before expiration.
DID YOU KNOW?
The global demand for chickens is too great for small, free-range or organic flocks to meet demand. However, you can still make that choice for your family in Loudoun County.