The Farm Eggs Challenge:Cage or No Cage?

I love fresh farm eggs! The first time I saw and tasted the difference between a local product and a national producer’s egg, my eating habits were changed forever. This tremendous revelation motivated me to create another FREE webinar, How To Cook Fresh In 5 Simple Steps. You should check it out when you're done reading this.

This concept has been difficult to convey on a written blog, although I’m trying. Over the past 4 years I’ve created more than 500 videos and interviewed farmers growing tomatoes indoors in North Carolina to the Koloa Sunshine Farmers Market- in Hawaii, to Paris. They all say the same thing. Local is better. You have to taste for yourself.

When I visited France, I learned the secrets of a Parisian spice store owner. He said, “Good Food is Simple Food.” . Europeans live and practice the concept of “Terroir” (terr-wah). Terroir is loosely translated as “a local product, from your local soil, aided by the sun and the love of the farmer”.

Fresh farm eggs can be your gateway into this way of choosing what to eat. Many believe that when you consume items from within 100 miles of where you live, you gain the minerals, nutrients, and anti-bodies native to you. This helps your body better adapt to your specific environment.

The argument in my head is not about fresh versus factory. What I’ve come to the Baltimore Farmers Market to explore is HOW my local chickens are raised and what they are fed. I know there is a difference between what the chickens produce here versus the grocery store, but does a cage-free bird lay a better egg than a caged bird?

There are two vendors here; one uses cages and a soybean/corn meal to raise their flock. The other uses hen houses and feeds a vegetarian diet. Today’s task is not to pass judgment of how the animals are treated, that’s an entirely different discussion. Both vendors have a passion for what they do, love and treat the chickens humanely, each giving them twice the room they need to grow. What I’m concerned with is the final product. How good is the egg?

As I leave the farmers market, I’m quite happy with myself. I’ve spoken with two egg farmers who are passionate about what they do. I’ve supported them with my patronage, I’ve helped my local community, and I’m about to put the most nutritious, wholesome local foods I can buy on my plate.

The Farm Eggs Challenge continues in my next video where we’ll put three eggs through an “Egg-lympics” of tests to determine which one truly is the best. Be there when we start cracking some shells and see for yourself.

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About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


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  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    11:20 AM - 28 March, 2017

    Hey Bob!
    There's no better gift you can give your Grandchildren than a healthy respect of where there food comes from and a comfort with the kitchen and cooking their own meals. You're a good Grandpa!

  • Bob LAFATA
    Bob LAFATA
    2:44 AM - 28 March, 2017

    Just finished your farm egg challenge video, had a small farm thirty yrs ago w/chickens. Last yr I got 7 baby chicks, and the eggs are great, well you knew that. I didn't realize how much i missed the difference. I live in the city now and don't know what the zoning laws are, and quite frankly, don't care. I'm not going to be poisoned by the crap they sell in stores, I'm also in the process of setting up tanks for raising tilapia. At 63 I just started cooking (got divorced) so I love your videos, I used to just follow recipes, but now you've opened up a whole new world, thank you. and my main reason for getting back to raising healthy food, besides my own health (but I'm an old man now anyway) is to teach my grandchildren how to feed themselves, where their food comes from, and to be self reliant, Your videos will help greatly to get them away from the prepared food isle of the store, thanks again

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  • cheftodd
    5:30 PM - 24 April, 2012

    Hey Bobbie!
    You've experienced exactly the type of agriculture we need to return to in the US. Instead of large feed-lots or hen houses with thousands of chickens that produce dead-end waste, free-range chickens and pasture-raised beef actually work in harmony with each other and the environment.

    The feed lots have dead-end waste because there's nowhere for them to put it. In a complete system, the cows eat the grass and leave patties behind. The chickens eat the bugs and grubs from the ground and patties, and then further fertilize the ground. The sun breaks down the material and kills bacteria for the grass to grow and the cycle to continue without harm to the planet or the animals.

    That's the way it should be done.

  • Bobbie
    9:31 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Hi Chef Todd, Taking a little break here to see what you have on your video. Brought back fond memories of the chickens we used to keep when I was a teenager. They ran all over a horse pasture when not in their coop at night and had access to bugs, cracked grain, water, sunshine and fresh air. They were fun to watch and the eggs, oh my, the eggs were out of this world. Orange yolks, tasty, firm eggs that were so rich you couldn't eat more than two. Those were the days. Today I buy jumbo eggs, more bang for the "buck buck", and select the most humane, well fed chicken eggs I can find. I do object to soy fed eggs though and would prefer to see cracked grain, but would have to get my own chickens to do that. Unfortunately my zoning laws prohibit chickens. Anyway, if you can find free range, cracked grain fed eggs, buy them, they're worth it. PS The double yolkers are the bomb!

  • cheftodd
    6:22 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Thanks for you kind words, Ralph.
    Not only are you helping your granddaughter's nutrition, but the lessons she'll learn about life and nature from those chicks will stay with her forever.
    You're a kind grandpa.

  • cheftodd
    6:21 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Hey Kathleen!
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. It's amazing what a difference in a fresh egg makes, not only at breakfast, but in baked goods too!
    The other great thing about free-range chickens is that they clean up the field and then fertilize it for the cattle or other grazing animals. This is nature's cycle. Corporate hen houses just collect dung in piles which putrefies the soil.

  • cheftodd
    6:18 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Thanks for checking in Dave! How's the grape stomping going?

  • DaveA
    4:48 PM - 19 April, 2012

    excellent information and discussion. Can't wait for episode 2! Revenge of the Egg! hahaha

  • Mary Lynn
    Mary Lynn
    4:39 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Great Job Chef Todd,

    I am in the process ( have been for about a year ) fo looking for the right piece of land to start my organic farm. I am also looking into growing organic chickens & eggs.

    Can't wait to see the next video. Fresh organic eggs are always better.

    Mary Lynn

  • Kathleen
    1:51 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Hi, Chef!
    Thanks for bringing another important subject to folks' attention.
    We, too, buy our eggs from local farmers. The darker the yoke, the better. Chicken eggs are great, but don't forget to try duck and goose eggs, too. I try to buy from farms that allow their birds to go out on pasture where they can hunt-and-peck for bugs and worms. Chickens are not vegetarians by nature, and if allowed to be on a wild diet, along with eating proper grains, they will yield wonderful looking and tasting eggs. Here in MI, the girls will usually take a break from laying between November and the end of January when eggs will be as scarce as hen's teeth!

  • Ralph
    12:47 PM - 19 April, 2012

    Hi Chef Todd, Enjoy vidio on farmers market eggs. I got 6 chickens for my granddaughter and was amazed at the difference in taste between "fresh" eggs and store bought. I have learned a lot from you DVD series and thank you for it..........Ralph

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