The wife and I had talked about buying fresh, free range eggs from a farm just North of town. However, her desire to get her cholesterol count down first, prevented us from doing so until last Spring. With her success in that endeavour, we figured we’d give ‘em a try. Ranger and I stopped into the farm and I walked up to the little driveway shed they’d set up for it, (and were greeted, by the friendly farmyard dog). It was of course, the honour system so I dropped $3.50 into the jar, and chose a dozen eggs from the cooler. Out of habit, I opened the carton to look them over and was (ashamedly) shocked to see 12 oddly colored and shaped objects. There was everything from nearly spherical pale tan eggs, to dark brown perfectly “egg-shaped” eggs. They varied wildly in size as well.
I say “ashamedly” because I, of all people, should’ve known better than to expect to see the grocery store variety of perfectly formed, sized, and coloured eggs. I spent 30 years in Food Product Development listening to Marketing whiners who wanted to make “all natural” claims while b!tching long and loud whenever a red bell pepper was slightly redder than another. I can’t count the number of times I tried to explain “that’s what NATURAL means you idiot … natural variation”. So, I placed the eggs in the cooler I keep in the back of my truck and carried on, harvesting feral asparagus with Ranger. That would be asparagus of all different lengths, and thicknesses, and all of them, delicious.
We must’ve scored a coupla pounds of it that day. So after dropping Ranger off, I hurried on Home with my stash of (almost wild, or at least free range) eggs and my also almost wild (really, technically feral), asparagus. We tried the eggs alone, to assess any differences from store-bought, and found enough difference to never buy from the grocery store again. The wife made French toast from them, which we augmented with Doug’s maple syrup (see the posting“Dougs Maple syrup – a family affair”) and my personal favourite, a frittata with the feral asparagus Ranger and I had harvested. Oh yeah ! That’s what I do all this stuff for !
Then, the wife’s sister and brother-in-law dropped in for a Friday overnighter on their way Home from a tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake. They proudly displayed the free-range, farm fresh eggs they’d bought at a farmer’s market there. I of course, displayed the same I’d bought hours earlier at a local farm. We’d paid considerably less for ours than they.
Our guests were from Perth Ontario, and they told us that you could purchase farm-fresh-free-range eggs from the farmer’s market, but you had to do it clandestinely. They recounted tales of harassment from the Ottawa based “egg police” as they’d become known as. I looked it up and found that indeed there are still some silly, out-dated regulations being enforced at Ontario Farmer’s Markets. My celebrated eggs for example. Apparently, you can only buy free range farm fresh eggs from the farm property, but not at a farmers market.
I considered it a treat going to the farm to buy them before I realized it wasn’t quaint, it was the law. ‘Course, now it pisses me off (Gawd ! am I a true Canadian or what?). Of course, they could take their eggs to a Gov’t sanctioned “egg grading station” (who isn’t interested in a small farm operation), or install a station on their farm (Heay, I’m sure they’re cheap eh ?). Seriously folks, the only thing that’s gonna hurt you in an egg is a bacteria called Salmonella. And running eggs through an “egg grading station” will do nothing to detect nor neutralize Salmonella. Cook the egg properly, and you’ll not need to worry about it.
*See the Ottawa Citizen editorials here for a good laugh* http://www.ruralcouncil.ca/egg-war-050912.htm
I’m assuming these regulations are to keep the general public safe ? After all, they are the CFIA Health Inspectors, right ? Both the wife and I worked in the Food Industry for 30 years dealing with those clowns, so don’t ask my opinion. So if the Health Inspectors are concerned for my health, why allow me to even buy them from the farm property ? Perhaps I shouldn’t provoke them with questions like that, or we’ll all wind up eating soylent green eggs (you gotta be an old guy to get that one). As well, I thought it was quaint how they left the tops on carrots and beets. Misguided again. Removing the tops is considered “processing” so they gotta stay on.
According to the Ottawa Citizen Newspaper at least the Health Inspectors offered a list of items appropriate for sale at the Perth Farmers Market. Two of the “appropriate” items on that list I have often seen growing on farms surrounding my little town. Endless fields of chewing gum plants waving in the gentle breezes of Southern Ontario beside row after row of canned soft drink stalks.
I suspect the local farmers of Southern Ontario have even less respect for the CFIA than I do (hard as that is for me to imagine).