This post comes to us courtesy of Monica Bennett, blogger at Just 5 More Minutes.
Ever since tasting an organic, farm fresh egg, it has been my obsession for the last year to track them down. I have visited numerous farms and met some amazing people. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the rich taste of an organic, farm fresh egg, I encourage you to seek out your local farmer and get ready for an incredible experience. Here is a great resource to help you locate a farm near you.
For the simple fact that these eggs come from hens allowed to run free and enjoy their little lives eating bugs, grass and nutrient rich foods – and sometimes gourmet leftovers generously offered up by the proud owners of these hens – I believe they are much better for you than the non-organic variety. The taste is also undeniably more flavorful and richer, and you can almost taste the wonderful lives these little hens lead. Just wait until you crack your first egg. The deep golden orange color of the yolk and firmness of the whites will have you in awe.
My first encounter with an organic, farm fresh egg was on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, and I could hardly wait to get back to this island to fulfill my egg obsession. Lucky for me, that is exactly where my family and I were heading.
We boarded the “Yakima,” Washington State ferry bound for the San Juan Islands. As we cruised along, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the abundance of local farms these archipelagos have to offer here in the Pacific Northwest. Many farmers reside on these islands and many of the restaurants, cafes and markets source their ingredients from these farms. In the summertime, there are farmers markets galore. Everything is fresh, locally grown and organic. The farmers are eager to talk to you and share with you how they grow their vegetables, offering up tips and invaluable advice you can apply at home in your own garden.
Seaweed in Your Soil
If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, and if it is allowed (check with your local chamber of commerce), you can bring home some seaweed and work it into your soil. I have learned on numerous farm tours here in the islands that by working seaweed into your soil, you can help your plants become frost resistant and more resistant to diseases. Also, the trace minerals found in seaweed are very beneficial to your plants. It is important to note to rinse your seaweed with fresh water, making sure all traces of salt are removed. One application of seaweed into your garden’s soil lasts a good five years.
Don’t throw away those eggshells
Did you know that eggshells are very high in calcium? Calcium is an essential nutrient in plant cell formation and growth. Almost all plant roots need calcium so crush up your egg shells and work it into your garden’s soil. You can also crush them up, soak them in some water for a few days and use the calcium rich water to directly water your indoor/outdoor ornamental (and veggie) plants. Slugs are not fans of eggshells — add crushed egg shells around the base of your plants to help deter them.
Big, Beautiful Tomatoes
Tomatoes love warm soil. Before planting, you can “preheat” your soil by placing down clear plastic over your soil a few weeks before planting. Also, once your plants have established themselves, you will want to prune them occasionally. Every week or so, look at your plants and locate little suckers coming out from the joint of two branches. Pinch them off. These little suckers will never bear any fruit and will only take away the precious energy that your plants need to grow big beautiful tomatoes. Don’t forget to add your crushed eggshells to the soil before planting.
Farm after farm (and at a few farm stands in between), we are greeted with a plethora of fresh vegetables and beautiful, glorious eggs. My basket is full of them. Full of big, round, beautiful pastel colored eggs varying in colors from a light pink to a baby blue. I could hardly wait to prepare our next meal, baked eggs with crispy potato cakes, using organic, freshly pulled purple potatoes from the ground.
Prepare your eggs first and then your potato cakes; they will both come together beautifully.
4 organic, farm fresh eggs
10 arugula leaves (spinach would work well too)
2 Tbs. creme fraiche (or sour cream)
Butter (for ramekins)
Salt, to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter your ramekins and place 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche (or sour cream) on the bottom. Add 5 arugula leaves on top of the creme fraiche. Crack 2 eggs atop the arugula and add some salt.
Place the ramekins in your oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until your egg whites have set. Cook less for runny yolks and cook longer for firmer yolks.
Crispy Potato Cakes
2 medium potatoes, peeled (I used purple, but any variety will do)
1 finely diced shallot
1 organic, farm fresh egg
1/2 tsp. salt
Finely grate your potatoes onto a dish cloth. Wrap up the grated potatoes in the dish cloth and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
Add your grated potatoes to a medium sized bowl and add your diced shallot, egg, flour and salt. Mix well.
Add about 1/4 inch of oil into your skillet over medium heat and drop batter (about a large heaping tablespoon size) into skillet. Gently flatten your cakes down and cook until golden brown on one side, flip and repeat on the other side.
By this time your eggs should be done and your potato cakes nice and hot. Serve at once (I recommend dipping the potato cake into the egg. It is a taste you will never forget). Serves 2.
Bon Appetit! See another delicious recipe for baked eggs here.
About the author: Monica Bennett is the writer and photographer behind “Just 5 More Minutes – An Outdoor & Epicurean Travelogue,” in Seattle, WA. On weekends and holidays she and her family travel the Pacific Northwest via their beloved Airstream travel trailer experiencing outdoor and epicurean adventures. She enjoys meeting the local farmers in the areas she visits and then continues on to meet the talented chefs that source their ingredients from the local farms. She then learns the method and recipe behind the masterpiece dishes the chef’s create and shares them with her readers on J5MM. She also enjoys developing recipes of her own and sharing them as well using organic produce from the local farms in her area. Educating her readers about non-stop outdoor adventures and epicurean cuisine here in the Pacific Northwest through J5MM is her true passion.