In the New York area, online grocer FreshDirect.com is so ubiquitous that it’s often hard to think of it as a Northeast regional business.
It overs only five states: Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. While there are numerous online grocers covering the country, Fresh Direct is known for delivering top quality produce, meats and seafood and prepared foods, as well as non-perishables.
And such convenience: The customer picks the delivery time, 7 days a week. Your order can arrive from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. weekdays or 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays—just the flexibility that those of us who work long hours need.
The company is committed to sourcing the best and newest products for its customers and to helping small farmers optimize their revenue.
That’s what happened on a trip to Alderfer Farm, a fourth generation family farm in Pennsylvania that produces organic eggs. David McInerny, a co-founder of Fresh Direct, inquired about eggs he saw that were set aside from the rest.
The brown farmer’s egg compared to a large organic egg. Photo courtesy Fresh Direct.
“We don’t sell them,” was the response. “Retailers don’t want them. So we send them to breaking companies,” where they are cracked and packaged for foodservice or other applications.
PULLET EGGS, NOW SOLD AS “FARMER’S EGGS”
But these smaller eggs are actually tastier, and are a “secret” product enjoyed by the farmers themselves, unknown by the outside world. (Similarly, hanger steak was kept by the butchers for their own families, until it was discovered by chefs.)
A young hen, called a pullet, will begin to lay eggs at 19-20 weeks. Pullet eggs are much smaller, but produce fluffier cooked eggs with creamier yolks. The tight albumen sets up better for poached eggs. The shells are harder, which means low likelihood of bits of shell falling into the cracked egg.
Part of the flavor and the deeper color of the yolk is because pullets are pickier eaters: They pick out the corn from the feed mix.
The eggs are sold by Fresh Direct as “farmer’s eggs” under FreshDirect’s private label brand, Just FreshDirect, three times a year.
Farmer’s eggs are available through the end of the month, or while supplies last; will be available again in late May or early June, and in September, as the latest crop of pullets starts to produce; and only are produced for four weeks, when the pullet grows larger and produces larger eggs.
Omelet time: a half dozen “farmer’s eggs,”
small eggs from young hens (pullets). Photo
courtesy Fresh Direct.
Organic farmer’s eggs are $3.69 a dozen from FreshDirect.com.
If you want a better-tasting egg, give them a try. We’d like to add our observation that organic eggs in general taste better than conventional eggs (due in part to superior feed).
You’ll also enjoy these “farmer’s eggs” knowing that the hens are:
Check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary.
PASTEURIZED ORGANIC MILK
Also new in the refrigerator case is Just Fresh Direct pasteurized organic milk.
Isn’t all milk pasteurized? Yes, but for years it has been ultrapasteurized, to afford retailers a 60-90 day shelf life.
Ultrapasteurization (also called UHT, for ultra-high temperature) is the process of super-heating milk or cream to 275°F for 4 to 15 seconds or 280°F for at least two seconds. Regular pasteurization heats the milk to 161°F for 15 seconds.
The ultra-high temperature kills off all bacteria—not just the harmful ones, but the benign ones that can potentially sour milk but also provide flavor to fresh milk. Now, you can enjoy Just Fresh Direct’s fresher-flavor organic milk with your better-tasting organic eggs.
FOOD HISTORY: Routine pasteurization in the U.S. began around 1920, as a way to prevent illnesses caused by contaminated milk, including tuberculosis. Here’s the scoop.