Jeremiah Cunningham's World's Best Eggs

Photo By John Anderson

Jeremiah Cunningham's World's Best Eggs

A hundred years ago, if you wanted your chickens to stay alive and lay eggs for you, you had to provide them with clean water, fresh air, wholesome food, sunshine, and room to walk around. Hens that are provided with these luxuries nowadays are very lucky hens indeed, and because they are typically penned out of doors in pastures of fresh green grass, their eggs are termed "pastured" eggs.

Because pastured hens are allowed to live a healthy, natural chicken life, their eggs are shockingly (and measurably) superior in flavor and nutritional value. Pastured eggs typically contain 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more vitamin A, 220% more vitamin E, and 300-400% higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to being better for you, pastured eggs taste much better and give superior results when used in baking and other cookery. Some pastry chefs claim that using pastured eggs causes cakes and soufflés to rise as much as 30% higher and that the higher vitamin E content causes baked goods to stay fresh longer.

Jeremiah Cunningham's World's Best Eggs, produced on Coyote Creek Farm in Elgin (, are an outstanding example of just how much better pastured eggs can be. For starters, the yolks are a deep, bright orange-gold hue that clearly illustrates their greater beta-carotene content. When you break one into the frying pan, the white holds a tight oval shape; it doesn't run like water or cover a large area. The egg flavor is robust yet delicate, and the texture is velvety and firm.

Cunningham treats his pastureland four times a year with compost tea to stimulate the soil and increase availability of micronutrients and also grows organic grains to supplement his hens' natural diet. And so we have come full circle: These eggs are probably as good as the eggs your great-great-grandmother enjoyed. And at $4.49 a dozen, they are so, so worth it. Available exclusively at Whole Foods.

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