Scrambling for local eggs worth the effort
My name is Karen and I’m an egg-o-holic.
Spring, summer and fall, whenever the local chickens are laying, I’m running around looking for eggs.
I just gotta have those super-fresh, just-laid-today eggs, which, in my opinion, look and taste far superior to the supermarket variety.
Because I live in Greenfield, a woodsy town just north of Saratoga Springs, there have always been a few people around who raise chickens. But in the past few years, more and more households have been taking a crack at it, and many of them sell their extra eggs.
Right now, within two miles of my house, there are at least four places where I can pick up local eggs.
I don’t know these Egg People and they don’t know me. That’s because it’s an honor system. You just drop a few bucks in a container, grab your dozen eggs and zoom away.
I feel like Capt. Kirk as I boldly venture out in my Subaru. Sometimes I discover eggs, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I encounter strange creatures.
Meeting Mr. Rooster
Once, while searching for eggs while riding on my bicycle, two gray speckled hens were walking in the middle of the road. What I didn’t know back then was that when you see some hens, there’s usually a rooster not far behind. As I was watching the hens, Mr. Rooster leaped from the bushes, flew out into the road and attacked my feet as I pedaled madly away.
Another time, I nearly flipped over the handlebars when I made a sudden stop.
In someone’s front yard, a big domesticated turkey strutted like an emperor, as the round, full fan of multicolored feathers on its rump framed a proud head and a bright red wattle.
Wild turkeys often troop through our yard, but I’d never seen this audacious male display, which brings to mind all those pictures of the Thanksgiving bird that kids make in kindergarten.
But back to The Quest for Eggs.
At my favorite stop, a white Styrofoam cooler sits on a tree stump near the road. “Eggs, $3.50,” the hand-lettered sign says. “$3 if you bring cartons.”
To retrieve a dozen, one must first remove a 1-pound rock from the top of the cooler.
Then, lifting the squeaky lid, you peek inside.
Darn! No eggs. Did someone get there first? Did the chickens have a bad day?
I’m off to another house.
Sometimes it seems like a silly goose chase, driving around for eggs when I can pick them up at Price Chopper, but I can’t give up. With all these chickens in my neighborhood, there must be some eggs for sale somewhere.
At the crest of Wilton-Greenfield Road, where you can barely see the mountains of Vermont to the east, a blue plastic cooler sits at the end of a gravel road. These eggs must be magical, because I don’t see a house. The eggs just appear at the end of a lonely road in the middle of a field.
When these mysterious Egg People fill their cooler, a small, white, egg-shaped sign is attached. “Eggs Today,” it says.
These eggs are $4 a dozen, the most expensive, but a friend tells me that the money goes to charity.
About two miles from my house, you can bump down a long unpaved driveway through the woods until you see a log home and hear the baa baa baa of Nubian goats. At Joy of the Journey Farm, there are eggs for sale in a small refrigerator on the front porch.
I got hooked on local eggs years ago, when I was doing chemotherapy. A dear friend who lives farther north and has raised chickens for many years, long before it was fashionable, would deliver the eggs to my back door on her way to work.
“They will keep you strong and healthy,” she said. “Good source of protein. Easy to digest. And easy to cook.”
Scrambled, fried or hard-boiled. In a sandwich or salad. Whipped into a frittata and quiche.
Eggs keep me going, and I like that they come from my own backyard.
I just have to find them.