26 August 2010

Weekly Market Edition – True Cost of Egg Edition

Last year my colleague, Mona Johnson, wrote an article explaining why eggs at Farmers Markets cost more than they do in the grocery store and explained that in some cases they cost more to produce and distribute them than the farmer gets for them. It was a sound piece of reasoning, delivered with direct, intelligent prose – just the type of thing we expect from Mona. As an added bonus, someone got all tricky with the Excel and gave us a pie chart so readers who like visual information could absorb facts too.

Mmmmmm Pie Chart

Actual Costs of a Carton of $7 Eggs

This isn’t one of those occasions where someone immutably explains how $1.99 is actually more expensive than $7.

7 bucks is 7 bucks and a dozen eggs from any of our Markets are going to cost you more than the store. Even in the wake of the massive recall call of 500 million eggs, there are other good reasons to get a dozen from the Farmers Market.

My confession, most eggs I buy come from the grocery store. Occasionally, I score a dozen  from a coworker whose father raises chickens. These  ‘below the radar eggs’, $3 a dozen, bypass Federal and State regulations and licenses, an option vendors at PFM don’t have. Mostly my premium eggs come from a farmers market, costing 2-4x more than grocery store brands, these eggs are worth the price.

Food has 2 major variables – the ability or the cook and the quality of the ingredient – the latter always trumps the former, good ingredients not only make good food; good ingredients make even a novice cook look like Alice Waters. For special occasion food, like a poached egg over sautéed chard and polenta or a vanilla embedded pastry cream that nests between blueberries and a tart, a good egg is hard to beat (not technically, they whisk fine, but you know, for flavor).

For these meals, I spring for eggs from Jacobs Dairy, whose hens feed on whey and possess a built-in creamy texture, or enjoy the Van Gogh golden yolks from Reister Farms, or buy a ½ dozen duck eggs from SuDan or closer to my home, I pop for a dozen of Wes Coulter’s Wag eggs from King Market….

You can pick up eggs from growers like Wag’s Wes Coulter at the King and PSU Markets (See Video in the below), Dancing Chicken sells eggs at 23rd and Shemanski. Reister and Raymond Kuenzi at Buckman. Greenville Farm sells eggs at 23rd. Jacobs is at every local Market in the Portland area, Persephone, Raynblest and others sell their eggs at various Markets. Treat yourself to something good.

In other exciting market news, Buckman Market’s Reister Farms has their wildly popular  lamb sausages again!  Fry them up with some sweet peppers from Denison Farms, sprinkle over some creamy chevre from Dee Creek Farm and you will eat quickly, and well.

Real Good Food will be making their monthly appearance at the NW 23rd Market. Real Good Food sells wonderful extra virgin olive oil that is just begging to be drizzled over fat, juicy tomatoes and fragrant basil from Groundwork Organics or Spring Hill Farm—dollop with creamy ricotta from Jacobs Creamery, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy!  For the main course, put some fresh albacore tuna from Stonewall Banks Seafood on the grill along with sweet corn from Winters Farm.

Also at NW 23rd, season sponsor COUNTRY Financial will be bringing a prize wheel. Stop by their booth and Spin to Win fun prizes.