Going to a farmers market does not always guarantee that you are going to get good quality eggs, produce, etc…but , it is a slight step better than the commercial grocery store.
You want, no I mean , NEED to have a relationship with the farmers. Go ahead, talk to them , ask them questions!..We sell eggs and are certified, and are always available to answer questions about our eggs, hens, feed , etc…and so should the other farmers. At first glance, are the eggs clean?
There should be no, I mean no fecal matter on the eggs…why?..Fecal matter provides a means for things to grow: parasites, bacteria, and its just plain gross!..The hens nest boxes and areas should be clean, and that will keep the eggs clean and in better condition..this goes for the hens too . Hens kept in dirty areas, with dirty nest boxes, can be subject to diseases and parasites too ..you dont want that!
The farmer should be open about how the hens are housed. Are they really free range..or are they caged? ( we are not saying that you will get bad eggs if they are caged, we are saying that the farm selling these eggs should be informed enough to be able to tell you where the eggs come from, and how)..kept in crowded cages or open pens?..Does the farmer know what breeds the chickens are (yes, you will be surprised about how little some of the farmers really know..and that my friend should be another deciding factor about purchasing products from them)..is this a front for a commercial operation?…Certified does not mean organic, just means that they have chickens that can lay eggs, and the inspector has seen the chickens. Ask questions, most of us pride ourselves in our animals, our products and you really cant shut us up about it..but if they clam up or dont know the answer…best not to buy from them.
Are the eggs out in the sun? Direct sunlight can have a devastating effect on egg quality. The sun can enable bacteria to grow, it can deplete the vitamins and minerals in the egg, and can effect the shelf life of the egg. Again, use your observation…does it look good?..
When you get the eggs home. Does the yolk “stand up”?..Does it have a orangish or dark yellow color? does the “whites” of the egg stay near the yolk or do they appear liquidy?..All of these things will determine great egg quality..and keep you coming back!