In terms of size we use terminology like Jumbo, X- Large, Large, medium, etc. These are determined by net weight in ounces per dozen.
Organic? Cage Free? More expensive? Yes! Worth it? Maybe, or is there a better solution...
ORGANIC Any product with the “U.S.D.A. organic” emblem must meet the standards of the agriculture department’s National Organic Program. Among the program’s requirements: birds must be kept cage free with outdoor access (though the time and the type of access are not defined), they cannot be given antibiotics and their food must be free from animal byproducts and made from crops grown without chemical pesticides, fertilizers, irradiation, genetic engineering or sewage sludge.
VEGETARIAN-FED For eggs that bear a U.S.D.A. grade shield, “vegetarian-fed” means the eggs came from hens raised on all-vegetarian feed. Hens are not naturally vegetarian, though; they enjoy eating grubs, bugs and worms. Vegetarian eggs appeal to consumers who are turned off by some of the animal byproducts that can be included in conventional chicken feed, like feather meal, chicken litter, pork and cattle byproducts and “spent hen meal” (ground up dead hens).
CAGE FREE The agriculture department says this means that the chickens were kept out of cages and had continuous access to food and water, but did not necessarily have access to the outdoors.
FREE RANGE The agriculture department says that in addition to meeting the cage-free standards, free-range birds must have continuous access to the outdoors, unless there’s a health risk present. There are no standards, though, for what that outdoor area must be like. Read more here.
ARE YOU CONFUSED YET? I know I was. I actually stopped eating eggs for a while simply because I really dislike not knowing where my eggs comes from. I do not need to personally know the chicken or anything, but I would like to know that the chicken is not eating a cannibal's diet. I've started eating eggs again and my solution is to buy green eggs. Call me Dr. Suess, but really if you can find green eggs I would be willing to bet that those eggs came from a healthy, free range, naturally feed, perhaps local chicken. Eggs like these are not found at Wal -Mart, but you can find them at Food Co-ops, local farmers markets, Craigslits (I know you think I'm crazy, but people who sell their eggs on Craigslist have chickens as pets and they take care of them). If you're luck you may have a neighbor or a great friend who will share ;)
Yes, my approach is more expensive, but with eggs it should be about quality, not quantity. Not everyone can afford to eat 2 green eggs every day, but eating one every other day is much more affordable. Plus, at that rate you can consume the yolk too! Everything in moderation and no wasting of the yolk!
Egg Safe Handling Questions click here.