I was overjoyed to see the recent discussion on eggs. My coworkers (with a couple notable exceptions) have been mostly unsympathetic to my search for the perfect egg. See Cheyenne's earlier post for the genesis story to this obsession.
I currently have 3 types of eggs in the fridge:
Rock Island Large Brown: I thought they were fertile when I bought them but it doesn't actually say so on the box so I have doubt. Strangely it doesn't even say organic. I remember thinking that they must be really organic when I looked at them in the store because they still had chicken *hit on them. I'm not going to dwell on this now, but I'll be sure to check next time I'm in Whole Foods. ($1.39 per 1/2 dozen).
Judy's family farm organic ($1.79 per 1/2 dozen at whole foods). I've never seen these before but they stand out on the shelf due to the fancy label complete with web address (www.judysfarm.com).
Trader Joe's Large Brown: I normally buy the Trader Joe's organic but they're small and I decided to try these ones. The box says: no antibiotics no hormones, all natural feed. Besides being half the price and twice the size, how exactly this differs from organic I'm not sure. ($1.49 per dozen).
We normally have either Safeway Select Og/FR (organic/free range) or Trader Joe's Og/FR. Neither of these are the best but they're pretty good and the stores are near our house. Saturday morning we compared the Rock Island with the last of our Safway Select Og/FR. As Cheyenne noted in the afore-mentioned post, the Rock Island was clearly better. I won't rehash it but I wanted to give that as a reference point.
I cooked them all in my usual way, scrambled in the pan with a little butter. The first thing I noticed while cooking was that the Rock Island eggs had a much larger volume of yolk compared to white than the others. Is this due to it being fertile? I'll have to test this hypothesis later, as I said before I'm not 100% certain that they are fertile.
The differences in taste are pretty subtle and I don't have a vocabulary to describe the flavors. The Judy's Farm eggs had the strongest and best flavor. The Trader Joe's was the blandest of the 3, however the difference between the Trader Joe's and the Rock Island was pretty small and the extra flavor in the Rock Island could be due to the larger yolk.
Alert readers will notice that there's a bit of a problem with my analysis. Earlier I stated that the Rock Island was clearly better than the Safeway Select Og/FR and I have also asserted that those are very similar to the Trader Joe's Og/FR. The logical conclusion would be that the regular Trader Joe's brown eggs are better than the Og/FR. I hope not because this would mean that I've been spending twice as much for tiny eggs when I would have enjoyed the cheaper ones more...
Clearly I didn't enjoy a statistically significant sample of each type. It would probably be better scramble up a dozen of each kind so that minor variations are absorbed by the group. Unfortunately, I don't have enough friends to eat that many eggs at once. Also, the ratings themselves are subjective. It could be that the Judy's Farm egg simply overshadowed the other two making them seem more similar than they are. Incidentally, I wonder what the probability is of 2 eggs in the same dozen beening laid by the same chicken? Incredibly small I should think.
My next experiment will be to compare Judy's Farm to the ridiculously expensive New Zealand eggs that were the winners of our last 3 way taste test.