With the Fourth of July holiday just a day away, I thought I would focus on a different kind of shell than the mortar shells that will be firing off for the next few days as folks enjoy displays of fireworks.
On this farm, there are four different types of fowl that bear eggs almost every day, and just like fireworks, there are variants in color, size and shape.
The common eggs that most folks are familiar with are produced by the standard breed chickens, which lay the types of eggs you see in the grocery store. Those range from small to jumbo size.
Most birds as a whole begin their laying age producing small eggs, which in chickens are referred to as pullet eggs. As the chicken matures and she lays more eggs, the eggs get larger until they get the classification as jumbo eggs.
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There are some birds on the farm that lay almost double jumbo eggs, and oftentimes, the egg carton won’t even be able to close. Sometimes, those eggs are double yolkers, which means, just as the name implies, there are two yolks in one egg. I always say one should make a wish when they find one of those.
The next type of chicken on the farm that lays eggs are the silkie/cochin crosses. Their eggs are peewee size and are about half the size of a standard chicken egg. There is no difference in taste or look except that everything is smaller. When I’m using those to bake, I usually count two peewee eggs as one standard size egg.
Next on the shell list is the eggs produced by the guineas on the farm. These eggs are the most unusual and never get any bigger than when they first started to lay them. They are triangular in shape, and the shell is rock solid. It will take more than a simple tap on the shell to break these open. Again, not much difference in taste, just a different look on the outside.
The final egg-laying fowl are the ducks, which lay very large, off-white eggs. Ducks don’t necessarily like a nesting box in which to rest their eggs, and so I’m often on an egg hunt to find where they’ve hidden their eggs for that day. These eggs are the most flavorful and are in high demand among bakers for their high fat content and the ability to make baked goods richer in taste.
All of these eggs make for my own fireworks on the farm. With so many different colors, sizes and shapes, each day brings an "oooh" or an "ahhh."
Here’s hoping that everyone has a very safe, very happy Fourth of July holiday, and don’t forget to stop by the Seymour Area Farmers Market on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon to get your own "fireworks" for your celebrations.
Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at whattheclucker.blogspot.com. Send comments to [email protected].