I haven't bought eggs in years - our six chickens provide plenty for our morning scrambles and afternoon bakings, with enough left over (at certain times of year) to give away as gifts. Our eggs are always so fresh that the whites are firm and high; and the yolks are a gorgeous saffron-yellow-orange. The yolk color is because our hens eat lots of greens and garden scraps. Now that we've become accustomed to having our own superior eggs, store-bought will never be good enough again.
But, what if you don't have your own chickens? What if you don't have a farmer nearby from whom to buy your eggs? What do you do when confronted with a refrigerator case full of cartons with different labels? You're a conscious eater, and believe in humane treatment for farm animals; what do you buy? Cage free? Grain free? Vegetarian?
How about bullsh*t free?
There's a new video out by Vital Farms, part of their ad campaign, which is, frankly, hilarious. Especially the part with the grandma baking for her grandson. It's really worth a watch. I saw it as part of a blog from Modern Farmer magazine, which is a very informative read. It explains why pasture-raised-labeled eggs are best, but still not clear enough to the consumer. You can read that article and watch the video HERE.
Pasture raised eggs are not cheap; around here they go for nearly $10 per dozen. This is a fair price when you consider the amount of land needed to graze them, and the infrastructure needed to keep them safe (electrified fences, mobile coops, etc). You're paying for a superior end product, but you're also paying for humane treatment of the chickens. They get to hunt for bugs, hop up in the air, flap their wings, take dust baths, and chase each other around. They basically get to live the life a chicken should live.
Vital Farms is a Texas company, but I believe they are working with many farms in different areas of the country. As you know, I believe local is better. So if you can find a local source for your supply, from a farmer who raises the chickens on pasture, that really would be the best way to vote with your food dollar. However, if that's not a possibility, then this brand would be a good substitute.
Just a few other notes (though the article does a really good job explaining what you should buy): Chickens are not naturally vegetarians, so skip the vegetarian eggs; most chickens do better with a little grain, so skip the grain-free eggs; if the eggs are labeled 'organic' or 'non-gmo,' this means their daily feed is either or both of those things; the label 'cage-free' basically means absolutely nothing.