Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You Are What You Eat Eats!

"You are what you eat"?  Or "you are what your food eats"?  Buying meat that is from grass fed and pasture raised animals is number one priority for a lot of people these days, but where is that pasture?  What kind of grass is in that pasture?  What kind of bugs are in that grass?  This is especially true with eggs!  Do your own taste test with different sources of  "pastured eggs", I did after having this conversation with a foodie student of mine (Julie's the best ever!)  When I mentioned that I was doubting the quality of the pastured eggs I was buying at the Farmers' Markets ($7dz) Julie shared the results of a side by side taste test she did on her own with 4 separate egg sources, all "pasture raised and fed", including her own chicken's eggs!

Julie started raising her own chickens this year and when she decided to put her own eggs up against 3 other brands of pastured eggs she was shocked at the results!  Two of the sources are sold at our local FM's and one that is sold at a high end grocery in Palo Alto.  Her eggs came in 3rd out of 4!  So she did a little research and realized she needed to feed her chickens better!  It was what the chickens were eating!

I believe Julie fried the 4 eggs and not only tasted a difference but could see a difference in the size and color of the yolks.  For my test I only had two different $9 dz pastured eggs, and I asked the location of the pasture (one north of me toward SF, the other Austin TX!).  One source was the FM (Vital Farms) and the other the PA market Julie told me about (Wattle and Comb), those eggs came in first in her test by the way, so I high tailed it over there for a couple dozen!

I chose to soft boil them, because that's how I like them!  One was easier to peel, and that was not surprising as the W&C eggs I've had for about 1 week now, and the VF ones I just purchased on Sunday.  Fresher eggs are harder to peel, and that was true in my experience.  But fresher or not, the taste and look paled in comparison.  The W& C eggs were the clear winners.  Creamier and deeper in flavor as well as the yolks were more gold and larger compared to the white.  The VF eggs were fine, but more bland, dryer and the yolks less yellow and smaller compared to the white. I tasted both with no salt at all and then just a lite sprinkle.

So, moral of the story?  Don't just assume a product is the best you can spend your hard earned money on because it's labeled organic, pastured, natural, air chilled, grass fed. In fact I'm already suspecting the Vital Farms eggs to not be pasture fed, instead I believe they have access to a pasture and therefore can be labeled as "pastured".  Or for that matter maybe the foods you grow and raise aren't getting what they need to produce the best quality and flavor either!  Nothing beats taking the time to make comparisons, side by side, if it's that important to you.  If I'm going to pay $9 for a dozen eggs then gosh darn I want the best!

Picture at top: Vital Farms on the left (http://vitalfarms.com/pastureraising.html), Wattle & Comb on the right. (http://www.wattlecomb.com) Picture bottom R: W&C left and VF right.


Lightening16 said...

Hey Tracy,

Different kinds of chickens have different size egg yolks and different colours in addition to the impact of what the chickens are eating. Chickens will also eat anything...so you might think you are controlling what they eat but really they are not discriminatory about what they eat. So that will add to the variability of your tests.


Tracy Reifkind said...


All good points, thank you! Really what I was wanting to write about, maybe, is this a false sense of security many people have, myself included, of making purchases at expensive markets, including Farmer's Markets. Bottom line is that you do have to compare and choose the qualities that are important to you. At the very least you want to buy and eat foods that taste good at every price point.

Gujjar said...

We are all dietetic sinners; only a small percent of what we eat nourishes us; the balance goes to waste and loss of energy.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I get what you are saying, although maybe not how you have expressed it.

Nourishment comes in many forms, and food, I agree, maybe be one of the smallest of contributors.