When I open my carton of eggs, there is often a bit of straw poking up at me at a jaunty angle, and the eggs are slightly different sizes.
Oh, and they usually have some chicken poop on them which I wash off.
I get my eggs from a friend who has chickens on a farm just west of Kitchener.
The chickens are fed a healthy and natural diet — though they technically can’t be called organic —and raised in a nice barn with lots of room to run around in, lots of soft bedding and lots of light. If I can say so, I think it is a very comfortable arrangement.
In 2009, the Chicken Farmers of Ontario allowed operators to sell up to 300 birds at the farm gate without having to buy a quota. Same thing with the eggs: operators with up to 100 layers can keep the eggs for their personal use or for farm-gate sales.
I have visited these chickens and have gotten some insight into their personalities. They are curious creatures — especially about what I was doing there — and quite quirky and perky in a poultry-like way.
When once I turned around to head back in the direction I had come from in the barn, a dozen or so of them had snuck up behind me, quietly and with cunning. They were surveying me.
I eat their eggs. And I eat them. I bought a dozen or so of these birds and some remain in my freezer.
They are big — approaching five kilograms — and the meat is more flavourful and denser. I figure this is what chicken is supposed to taste like.
I pay a bit more for my eggs and chicken, but I know my chicken farmer, have visited the facilities and the gentleman distributing the eggs lives in my neighbourhood.
There are several good egg sellers at the Kitchener Market, but I like the fact that I know exactly where these birds and their eggs are from, how they live, and what they eat.
For me, that’s important, and makes for a damn fresh omelette or roast chicken too.
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Andrew Coppolino is a Kitchener-based
food writer and broadcaster.
Visit him at waterlooregioneats.com.