The Egg Project – Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Ameraucana Eggs 13


PeteAndGerrysEggs-FryPoachedEgg

UPC’s The Egg Project

My wife recently asked me to reconsider an analysis of the eggs that are available commercially. I’ve spent more than a few lines on my blog griping about the food that chickens are fed, and how I’m generally dissatisfied with both the chicken and egg quality available, mostly again based on the food that their given. When we went Paleo 3+ years ago, I did an exhaustive analysis of the commercially available eggs, and concluded that I could either not eat the eggs, or eat eggs from soy-fed chickens. At that time, I didn’t have any soy-free egg source available to me. Thankfully, the market is constantly changing, and there are now some reliable sources of pastured eggs which give us some really high quality protein and fats! So I decided to accept my wife’s request, and share with you all the results of my re-analysis of the commercially available eggs in the market place. Here are my basics:

1. Chickens are omnivores, like all birds. “The early bird get’s the worm” should be an important part of our understanding of what chickens should be eating. A chicken which has no live animal protein source in it’s diet is not a healthy bird. I am putting that in bold to be perfectly clear about my stance on this. When you see “All vegetarian feed” on chicken and egg labels, that is not a good thing! Chickens need to feed on bugs, just like every other bird!

2. Just like all other animals, soy and whole grains are not quality feed for chickens. They do better with it than cows, but it’s still not quality feed. So in order to satisfy me that the eggs I am getting are truly top-quality, I need to see that the chickens are being fed no soy, and no grains. There are plenty of other commercially available (not as cheap, obviously) food sources to supplement the bugs, beetles, worms, and grubs that they can forage in a farm-yard. Good examples: sprouts, non-grain seeds, berries and nuts, possibly even an apple from time to time.

3. Cage free is an absolute requirement for me. While there may be no option with regards to food, and I’ll simply have to make some “allowances” and just report to you all my findings, I will not make any allowances on Cage Free. There are options available, and there’s no need for cages at all. Chickens will roost naturally, and don’t need to be kept on their roost forcibly.

Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Eggs; Ameruacana Eggs

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I found Pete and Gerry’s eggs while looking around at the options in Whole Foods Market. Pete and Gerry’s has several different options on the shelves, and I ended up purchasing two of them. Today’s post looks at one of their options that they call Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Eggs. These are very interesting eggs! As you can see from the picture above, the coloring of the eggs is slightly green, which was fascinating considering the current egg market, which is dominated by either completely white or completely brown eggs. These greenish eggs really caught my attention, and I am very glad that they did. Variability like that in eggs indicates to me that the farmers raising those eggs have some appreciation for their animals and the product of their farm. This is a good thing!

Bright Orange Yolks, Thick Viscous Whites

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This is a huge indicator that the chickens were given regular access to pasture. The carotene in the grass that they eat while searching for bugs and seeds comes out in the bright orange color that you can see in this egg. It’s a huge sign that the animal is a healthy animal, and that it has ample room to roam as needed to get both proper exercise and proper nutrition (bugs and grass).
It’s hard to actually “see” the viscosity of the egg whites. I will do the best I can to show that when I show my eggs; but I am not sure how yet… In the mean time, I suppose I’ll just have to say that I was satisfied with the viscosity of the eggs. It wasn’t strikingly thick, but it also wasn’t thin and runny, like most commercial eggs are. So I found this to be a satisfying level of thickness and viscosity.

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As you can see from the cooked picture, that coloring perpetuates through the cooking of the egg, and the end result is both a delicious egg, and a really stunningly good looking one! In fact, this is one of the best tasting eggs that I’ve had since I was a child, and lived in rural Vermont where there were only farm-raised eggs available.

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Further reading:

The critique over with, here is what I use as a base for evaluation of my eggs.

  1. Pastured, Cage-Free hens
  2. No hormones or antibiotics
  3. Certified Organic
  4. Certified Humane
  5. Sustainable farm raised
  6. Soy-Free Feed

These eggs get a shining check-mark for each of the first 5 of my criteria. Checking out their site thoroughly, I can’t find anywhere which promises soy-free feed. As I stated above in the critique of the eggs, the eggs were delicious, and the yolks were a bright orange, which indicates that they eat plenty of grass. Further, the whites were thick and viscous, so the chickens clearly had some live protein in their diet.


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13 thoughts on “The Egg Project – Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Ameraucana Eggs

  • Emma

    Hi, i enjoyed your post. I have been researching eggs for a while now. I emailed some of the most expensive egg producers with my queries (various producers that supply supermarkets in the UK). The replies confirm that a small amount of non GM soy and grain is in the winter feed.I have yet to find a producer that doesn’t include them. I usually buy eggs from farmers markets,but with farmers being financially squeezed and pushed out by our big supermarkets i would not be surprised if some of them cut corners. Its a sad state of affairs.

    • urbanpaleochef

      Hi Emmy, thank you for stopping by! It really is unfortunate what is going on in the food world. Producers are cutting every corner they can, and finding quite creative ways of hiding the fact that their product is no longer something to be proud of. That’s why I started the Bacon Project, and why I’ve just recently started the Egg Project. These are foods that are so often entirely ignored by even otherwise educated consumers, so I decided to shed some light of my own on them. Thanks again for stopping in, and for your comment. It’s great to see that other people care about this too!

  • Hari Qhuang

    In Indonesia, there is a type of egg called as “Telur Ayam Kampung”. It is dominated with yolk, which occupies 70% – 80% of the whole shell. It is my aunt’s favorite. (She loves to bake and most of her recipe require more yolks than egg-whites). 😀

      • Hari Qhuang

        This egg is laid by the “Malay” hen. It is pretty small. It is probably only 60% the size of a “common” egg. However, it can costs thrice as much as a “common” egg does.

        Usually, the hens are released into the nearby wood (so that they can search for their own food). The farmers will gather them back in the evening.

        The eggs are collected in the dawn, before the farmers release them again.

        I guess it is by far the healthiest, most organic eggs I have ever encountered. 😀

        By the way, the yolk is usually dark yellow to orange. I once bought some with yolks as bright as the mandarin orange.

  • Cluck

    It says on their website FAQ that “Carol’s Pasture-Raised Organic Eggs are, as their name implies, pasture-raised—but Carol’s Cage-Free Heirloom Eggs are not.”

    They also apparently changed the name of the heirloom eggs to Carol’s (Pete And Gerry’s is the parent company).

    Sorry, but you are wrong about the heirloom eggs. Those chickens are not getting access to pastures, they are kept in a barn and it says so on their website.

    • urbanpaleochef

      Hi Cluck: I really appreciate you posting your updated information for our readers.
      Please keep in mind, my original information was given to me in 2013. It seems clear to me that Carol’s has made some changes in their farming practices in the years since I wrote about them initially. I love that you’re keeping an eye on your producers and posting in here so that we all can see! Please keep us updated as other key information changes as well! 🙂

  • LeMeow

    I don’t see USDA organic label for Pete and Gerry’s heirloom eggs box that is pictured on your website. I only see the “Certified Humane” label so why did you list that they are certified organic? Certified by who?

    Looking at the website you linked to for Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Eggs, I see that it now links to Carol’s eggs and that they sell several products, 2 of which are heirloom eggs (Cage-Free Heirloom Blue Eggs and Cage-Free Heirloom Blue Eggs), but neither of them are organic:

    http://carolseggs.com/about-us/our-products/

    • urbanpaleochef

      Hey – great catch! I really appreciate you doing the research, and helping me to keep my material clean and correct! I have edited my notes at the bottom, and it no longer lists these as Certified Organic.
      Ironically, even years later, these are still the best commercial eggs I’ve ever been able to purchase. I do get slightly better eggs from a farmer directly, but that’s sometimes more work than most people have the time or effort to be able to do.