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Farm Fresh Eggs vs Conventional Factory Farm Eggs – a Photographic Comparison

Farm Fresh Eggs
I love eggs. Actually, I think I am fanatical about eggs. I am always on the quest for the perfectly cooked egg, so when Peter wanted to hit the Austin Farmers’ Market in its new, larger space, I was in.

At least half a dozen vendors were selling farm fresh free range eggs so we decided to test them out and do a direct comparison against the store bought, conventional factory farm grown eggs that we all have been eating for years.

Peter’s Photographic Comparison and Comments
Farm Fresh vs Conventional Eggs - Side by Side
The farm fresh free range eggs are typically brown to green in color, while store bought eggs are pure white. This has to do with the particular breed of chicken that laid the egg.

Farm Fresh vs Conventional Eggs - Side by Side
A cracked farm fresh egg (top) with a cracked conventional egg (bottom).
The yolk of the farm fresh eggs is much thicker and darker in color than the store bought egg. Additionally, the egg white of a farm fresh egg is much clearer than the conventional egg, which has a neon yellow yolk and a translucent yellow egg white. The color and consistency of the yolk and egg are largely due to the chicken’s diet.

Farm Fresh vs Conventional Eggs - Side by Side
A fried farm fresh egg (left) with a cracked conventional egg (right).
The fried farm fresh egg is darker in color and has a more robust, earthy flavor. Conventional eggs, which I have been eating for years, unexpectedly tasted much lighter in flavor when eating the two side by side. The texture of the farm fresh egg is a bit more firm as well.

In Austin, the going price for a dozen farm fresh eggs is $4 vs about $1.50 for conventional eggs.

Jon’s Additional Testing and Opinion:
In my extensive search for a restaurant in Austin that can cook an egg perfectly, I’ve determined that very few places can really cook an over easy egg. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps kitchens are focused on cooking the more complicated breakfast dishes that the poor egg is often neglected and left to fry too long on the flat griddle.

I cooked the eggs, over easy of course, side by side in the same large skillet. As soon as I cracked the eggs from the farmer’s market, the difference was visibly apparent. The yolk was a neon orange color looked like a thick gel, while the conventional egg seemed perfectly liquid yellow…almost too perfect. After flipping them over I plated them and gave them a quick sprinkle of kosher salt. The egg whites were slightly different in texture, the farm fresh eggs having little more going on. The real difference was in the yolks. When I broke the yolk of the conventional egg, it ran across the plate and tasted like…well an egg yolk. When I broke the egg of the farmer’s market egg, it oozed out onto the plate and tasted amazing! It had a rich flavor that simply could not be found in conventional eggs.

I’m sold, $4 dollars is a bargain.

Do you eat farm fresh eggs? What do you think about them? Let us know in the comments section!

Happy Tasting,
Jon

Posted in Comparisons.

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37 Responses

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  1. Jeff says

    Interesting article and nice photos. I’ve been buying Farmhouse brand eggs at HEB which have words like “cage-free” and “natural” on the packaging. But I suspect there’s still a big difference btwn these more fancy factory eggs and the eggs from small, local farms. I’ll get some farmers market eggs soon and make a comparison. Thanks for the info!

  2. Katie says

    It is a really informative posting and has nice photos making easy to understand. I haven’t been eating farm fresh eggs, but it looks healthier and more delicious than conventional eggs. However, I’m still wondering what is the difference between farm fresh eggs and conventional ones except color, thickness, and size? How about the health aspect?

  3. Amber G. says

    This is a great post! I love eggs as well and like incorporating them into my meals from French toast to omelets. I grew up on the conventional eggs but now typically buy farm fresh and local eggs not only for the earthier taste, but also for the animal friendly and environmental factor.

  4. Jodi says

    This is a great post and I’m about to tweet it out. Have you tried the poached eggs at Odd Duck? I also love the eggs at 24 diner.

  5. Liz Osting says

    Katie,
    I don’t know about the farmer’s market eggs, but my hens are “pasture raised” and studies have show: 50% more folic acid, 70% more B12, higher levels of Omega-3 and Vitamin E in this type of hen. I sell the eggs to my neighbors (for much less than the farmers market) and they love them!

  6. poryorick says

    One of the primary benefits, as I see it, of farm fresh eggs is the fact that for that extra cost, the buyer gets extra time out of the purchase. Not that I’ve ever had the chance to test this, but many sellers have told me that its not uncommon for the farm fresh variety to last for an extra month or two over what one can expect out of store-bought. And, yeah, they’re delicious.

  7. Vina says

    Great post! I love farm fresh eggs too! I’m writing a post on eggs on my blog tomorrow as part of my nourishing food series and am linking up to this article (included the photo you have up here.)

  8. CSF says

    It just seems to me that the “factory egg” is less fresh than the farm fresh egg, so that is why it looks “sloppy”.

    Just some quotes I read off other websites:

    “The yolk of a very fresh egg will have a round and compact appearance and it will sit positioned quite high up in the middle of the egg. The white that surrounds it will be thick and stays close to the yolk.

    A cloudy colouring to the egg white is a sign of extra freshness, as this “cloudiness” is in fact carbon dioxide, which is present when the egg is laid. Over time, the egg white will become more transparent, as the carbon dioxide dissipates.

    A less fresh egg will contain a flatter yolk, that may break easily and a thinner white that spreads quite far over the plate.”

    So it seems to me like it’s a question of guaranteeing egg “age”, rather than the conventional free-range eggs vs factory eggs.

  9. skirk says

    Ironically, living where I live now, I can get my hands on farm-eggs with little/no efforts (and cheap!) – so I’ve been wondering lately if I should do so. This answered it! We do tend to eat our fair share, too :) Cheers!

  10. Lannae says

    Great side by side photos of eggs. I have not had an industrial egg in my house for a long time, and forgot how pale they are. I made hollandaise sauce with a free range local organic egg and some homemade butter from local organic free range dairy cows, and it was do dark orangy-yellow. Great blog!

  11. Sophie says

    I in fact have chickens and they are free range and able to roam around my yard. My chicken’s eggs are tastier and much larger than store bought, factory layed eggs. My chickens are also friendly and kind because they are not trapped in a tiny cage all day. The yolks in a free range chicken’s eggs are brighter yellow and usually double. To tell if you really bought non-factory eggs from the store pay close attention to how many yolks they have in them.

  12. Peter Tsai says

    Thanks for the comments Sophie! We didn’t know about the frequency of a double yolk in non factory eggs. That’s really, interesting!

  13. petunias212 says

    Big difference in tast between store bought eggs and the eggs my chickens give me!! We haven’t bought store eggs in a while…our two chickens supply us with enough eggs for our family…

  14. Julie says

    The variety in diet is the key to the difference between the pastured free range egg and the layer house raised egg. Chickens in layer houses are fed grains, and grain by products, bone meal, and such which is strictly controlled to maximize egg production. The farmer does not get paid for taste or nutritional value, he gets paid for volume and so the greatest volume at the least cost is his sole objective. The free range chicken eats whatever she finds, grasshoppers, worms, seed, grass, beetles, even the occassional tiny gravel, which is good for their craw (their internal grinder/digester). This is why true free range eggs are richer and higher in omega 3, vitamin D, B12, and lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than the layer house eggs.

  15. Julie says

    CSF:
    I have raised free range chickens for years, and even after the eggs are old, the color never pales out and they do not get runny like the factory eggs. The eggs you buy in the grocery store are not old, unless you consider 2 or 3 weeks old (we are not talking about milk here, eggs keep a long time), factory eggs are just pale because of the chicken’s limited diet.

  16. Marion says

    I’ll take farm eggs over store bought any day!

  17. Lianne says

    My parents have chickens at thier house and we usually get our eggs from them. We LOVE the farm fresh eggs and there really is a big difference, if you have never had eggs right out of the chickens nest then you are truely missing out and I’m sorry. There is one question that I have yet to find the answer to…. Why can’t I ‘whip’ up the yolks of my fresh eggs without having to use the tim allen version of a whisk with “MORE POWER”?

  18. Jane says

    I just bought some farm eggs today! $3 bucks for a dozen. I’ve gotten used to eating farm eggs in Greece in the summers when I visit my family. I am very excited to switch to eating farm eggs again. The taste is so much better!

  19. Chad says

    Growing up as a kid we had a chicken coop in the back yard. For years we never bought store eggs, we would simply just go get them from the back. I must say the farm eggs taste and look better, plus I love the colors of the shell haha.

  20. Bonnie Rediker says

    I have heard that farm fresh eggs have hormones. Recently I experienced pimples around my mouth and nose area, after a visit to my dermatologist I was told that it was a hormone imbalance, I was given a cream to put on the pimples, no luck in eliminating the pimples. I decided to buy farm fresh eggs and in 3 days the pimples were gone.

  21. Janet says

    Of course a humanely raised chicken lays a healthier egg than one under the stress of extreem abuse.

    It is karma. The more we abuse our fellow creatures the more deadly become to us through no intent of their own.

    Buy from independent organic farmers. (But do be leary of the corporate “organic” products)

  22. Andrew P says

    We’ve since switched to Wilcox Farm Fresh Eggs, they are Costco’s brand, I think that is regional though but If you live in the PNW you should check them out, they are really trying to do it right and aren’t just out for profit, we have done the side by side test with regular commercial eggs and have experienced a dramatic difference not just in taste but in appearance as well.

  23. GJ says

    We used to purchase the Costo farm organic brand as they were the closest to what I remember as a kid on the farm. We now have 8 hens and get 18-36 eggs a week depending on the time of year. In the winter they slow down and tend to eat more feed while Spring through Fall they chow on grass, bugs, worms, and the occasional grass snake that gets unlucky enough to be seen by my ladies. My family of 4 usually goes through about a doz a week and we supplement our kid’s surrogate grandparents next door as they are wonderful folks. Any left over I sell to a gent at work for $3 a doz which I know is a bargain for him but it helps a bit to off-set my feed costs. We just got another 7 pullets who should start laying in October and that should close to double our take and I’ve already got folks in line 8 months out. I’m not in it to make any money but to share with who I can the wonderful world of “real” eggs. If you’ve never made a custard based ice-cream with farm fresh free range eggs you will never ever ever go back to store bought ice-cream. Bluebell is the best store brand you can buy but it ain’t got nuthin on mine.

    If you don’t have a place to raise your own birds all you have to do is look at your local craig’s list and I’m sure you’ll find someone nearby that has some to sell for a very reasonable price. Most folks aren’t in it for the money but to assist in supporting their hobby of chickens and love of the egg.

  24. Wendi says

    I work on a farm, and I collect the eggs the chicken lay and take them home for myself. They are 1000x better than store bought! I make all my friends and family try them and they all agree. Plus, I don’t feel guilty about eating the eggs I get from work, because I know for a fact those chickens have friends, room to move around, and fresh water and food every day.

  25. Emma says

    I always try to eat farm fresh. Conventional eggs are just so bland, after you’ve had a farm fresh egg!

  26. Jennifer Marks says

    I was given a dozen local eggs from a neighbors coop — they taste much better and I eat eggs for breakfast daily.. better yolk that stands up in the bowl ( which I have always used as test of freshness) I did notice — when scrambled the yolk doesn’t mix in as easily as store bought eggs.. Definitely more yolk to white ratio than store eggs too …

  27. Chuck Rowland says

    My bantams are kept in my garden year round. The eggs are great, but I also get the benefit of very few bugs over the growing season. Plus the natural fertilizer from the chickens is returned to the soil each fall and spring. The ladies are especially deadly on squash and tomato bugs. The only problem is the chickens want to follow me around when I till, pick, and leave the garden area.

  28. Lee Ann says

    Here is an additional reason to eat eggs fresh from local farms – the chickens from local farms more than likely eat a diet of bugs and worms, which is what chickens are supposed to eat. Not chicken feed made with GMO corn and filled with antibiotics and hormones.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Nourishing Breakfast Series: The Mighty Egg Part 1 « A Nourishing Home linked to this post on March 30, 2010

    [...] thought of this first, and that I had time to do it, but over at Tasting Buds, Peter and Jon did a visual comparison of farmer’s market eggs and conventional eggs. The differences are pretty clear: egg yolks [...]

  2. Nourishing Breakfast Series: The Mighty Egg Part 1 | a nourishing home linked to this post on April 7, 2010

    [...] thought of this first, and that I had time to do it, but over at Tasting Buds, Peter and Jon did a visual comparison of farmer’s market eggs and conventional eggs. The differences are pretty clear: egg yolks [...]

  3. Just food now: taking personal responsibility | John Gerber linked to this post on April 22, 2012

    [...] global industrial food economy starting with avoiding all factory farmed animal products such as eggs, milk, meat, and cheese.   Try to increase the number of food products you buy from farmers you [...]

  4. Just food now: taking personal responsibility | | Blogs linked to this post on April 27, 2012

    [...] global industrial food economy starting with avoiding all factory farmed animal products such as eggs, milk, meat, and cheese.   Try to increase the number of food products you buy from farmers you [...]

  5. Farm Fresh Eggs - Penny Wise Moms linked to this post on August 6, 2012

    [...] begin getting an extra 2 eggs daily from the young hens.  The difference between store bought and fresh eggs is evident in most every aspect even the look of the eggs.  Farm fresh eggs provide my family with [...]

  6. Wellness Wednesday Blog Link-Up: Learn More About Farm Fresh Eggs linked to this post on January 23, 2013

    [...] Farm Fresh Eggs vs. Conventional Factory Farm Eggs: A Photographic Comparison [...]

  7. Excellent Eggs: Farm Versus Factory | Cheftell linked to this post on March 30, 2013

    [...] a great side-by-side comparison of different eggs click here and here. [...]



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