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To Market, To Market: Early Birds Get the Eggs

A Smith Meadows hen on display at the Takoma market; the sign explains how the hens drink. (Leigh Lambert -- The Washington Post)

One of the more popular items at the year-round Takoma Park Farmers Market (my neighborhood go-to) is the almighty egg, sold by Highfield Dairy and Smith Meadows Farm.

Forrest Pritchard of Smith Meadows, a seventh-generation farmer, told me he sold 75 dozen eggs in a record 18 minutes on Saturday. (Large eggs sell for $4.50 per dozen, medium are $3 per dozen.) How's that even possible? People stand in line before the 10 a.m. opening bell.

Smith Meadows Farm raises 900 free-range, organically fed laying chickens. It takes four workers an hour and a half to gather the 650 eggs laid each day. When the market has more produce, Pritchard sells more eggs, and can bring up to 150 dozen. “We try to bring the most [eggs] to Takoma Park and Arlington markets,” he says. “They are the markets we’ve been at the longest, and we like to reward our loyal customers.”

To me, the farm's eggs have a more eggy flavor, which I love, and deeper-colored yolks than the ones I buy at the grocery store. The eggs also don't seem quite as watery as store-bought, although I haven't done real baking tests (in my Flour Girl persona) to see if my hunch is true.

What do you think?
-- Leigh Lambert

By Leigh Lambert  |  June 8, 2009; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  To Market, To Market  | Tags: Leigh Lambert, Takoma Park Farmers Market  
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Shhh...don't tell, Leigh!! That's just more competition for eggs from happy chickens. There's a huge difference between truly farm-fresh eggs and "organic" eggs from the grocery store. Apparently the latter's sell-by date is based on PACKING date, not the day it was laid.

Posted by: wprtf1 | June 8, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

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