Munkebo Farms Specialty Eggs
Duck eggs superior in nutrition and flavor
Reviewed by Kate Thornberry, Fri., July 20, 2012
Munkebo Farms Specialty EggsDowntown Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9am-1pm
SFC Farmers Market East, Tuesdays, 9am-1pm
At one time, chicken eggs and duck eggs were equally popular with Americans. Most farms kept both chickens and ducks, and the eggs are roughly the same size. But as egg production moved away from small family farms to more industrial settings, chicken eggs became the preferred product. There are many reasons for this, but a number of them are rather dreadful. For one thing, chickens will continue to lay eggs even when they are kept in unsanitary, crowded conditions. Ducks will not; they must have clean, humane conditions or they will not thrive. Chickens can be fed a wide range of antibiotics to prevent illness when they are kept in the aforementioned horrific conditions; ducks do not tolerate antibiotics well, and must instead be kept in low stress, pleasant surroundings. In short, ducks resist factory farming.
Possibly because of this, duck eggs compare very favorably nowadays with hen eggs when it comes to both nutrition and flavor. They contain 25% less water, as ducks are often damp when they sit on their eggs, so their eggs need less internal water. They have a larger yolk-to-white ratio and are easier to digest. They have more protein than chicken eggs and they contain less cholesterol. Their whites are noticeably whiter, and their yolks are a deeper orange. The additional protein causes them to give superior baking results: the whites whip up higher and the yolks add greater richness. In fact, many baking contest winners have used duck eggs as their "secret ingredient" to achieve taller, fluffier cakes with a richer crumb.
Even when they are just cooked for breakfast, duck eggs taste like the best eggs you have ever been lucky enough to eat. The shells are harder, the whites resist spreading, and the yolks "break" less often in frying. Why am I telling you all this? Because now you can get duck eggs from Munkebo Farms at the Saturday and Tuesday Farmers Markets. In addition to duck eggs ($8 a dozen), Munkebo also sells quail eggs ($5 for ten), goose eggs ($4 for two) and guinea hen eggs ($8 a dozen). All of these specialty eggs will astound you with their quality and flavor; the goose eggs in particular will make your quiches, omelettes, and custards stunningly rich and delicate. Germaine Swenson and Ivan Matula at Munkebo Farms feed their fowl only sprouted, organic grain, and each variety of bird enjoys their own pasture and bunkhouse – except for the ducks; they share their lake and pasture with the geese. "Ducks are very laid-back and friendly," says Swenson. "The geese just like to hang around with them."