Here we are, on the cusp of spring, Passover and Easter on the horizon, and eggs, admittedly mostly brightly colored and plastic or chocolate, are everywhere. If ever there was a time to get back to the market and enjoy the simple pleasure of a fresh egg, this would be it.
“You can get eggs all year round; of course you can,” says John Stoltzfoos, of Millport Farms, opening up cartons of blue ancona hen eggs at his stall in Union Square. “But you can’t beat an egg in spring.”
Why is spring the universally acknowledged time for eggs? That goes back to our ancestral heritage; in a world without electricity, chickens lay more in spring because suddenly, there’s more light. With eight or more hours of light a day, chickens are happy to pop out an egg every morning. Less light, fewer eggs.
“Chickens won’t go outside in the dark,” says Ed Huff of Central Valley Farm. “So we turn the light on inside in the morning in winter to give them the same amount of light — but it’s good when they can go outside sooner and scratch about. We have chickens running everywhere.”
When you’re picking eggs, color is not a big factor on taste, so let your aesthetics guide you. But bottom line: Fresher is better. If you’ve always had problems with poached eggs that float into the pan in waves of alien plasma, chances are you weren’t using a fresh enough egg.
“We collect them every day,” says Huff. “Actually, it’s my son’s job to collect the eggs — when he doesn’t try to get someone else to do it for him!”
Some (simple) eating ideas (seriously, when did you last just eat a boiled egg?):