There was a time—eight, ten years ago—when eggs were "scrubbed from the standard American breakfast" due to cholesterol concerns, according to a recent article in The New York Times
, but those days are over. Eggs are back, but they're not coming to you by way of a poultry farm conveyer belt; they're coming from a backyard, a rooftop, maybe even your own living room. The rise of the local movement, the green movement, even the recession have led both urban- and- suburban-ites to raise their own chickens. You can now order hatching eggs and day-old chicks online from sites like GreenFire Farms
and Murray McMurray Hatchery
, where you can find chicken breeds—Swedish Flower, French Marans, South American Araucanas, Buff Orpington—laying pretty blue, dark chocolate, or other vividly colored eggs. (Note: color doesn't affect the taste of the egg, but it sure makes them look pretty!)
The reproductive cycle of chickens is linked to daylight, so now that it's spring, backyard chickens all over the country have begun laying again. And like the Times points out, the difficulty over the next few months for home chicken keepers isn't the work of raising the hens; it's keeping up with them. In high season, a hen can lay an egg every day, and if you keep a few hens... well, you can see how many eggs you'll soon have sitting on your countertop. (Time to take a look at The Kitchn's egg recipe archive!) But for those devotees, the taste of a home-raised egg is totally worth the creative menu planning:
Home-raised eggs have noticeably better flavor and texture. The yolks of eggs from well-fed, well-exercised hens are as orange-yellow as a New York taxi. They have what Mr. Bradshaw calls "muscle tone": thick walls and a rich, intense taste... The whites are never runny, and they stand up immediately when you whip them... Even plain scrambled eggs are different: they have a sweetness, a freshness and a richness to them.
Do you keep chickens? Are you thinking about it? Tell us below!
Read More: Straight from the Home Coop at The New York Times
Related: On Why I Pay $7.50 for a Dozen Eggs
(Image: Dana Velden)