Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gobbling Up Turkey Eggs

I was at the Thursday UTC farmers market a couple of weeks ago, talking with farmer Eli Hofshi of Eli's Farms about his produce for my Local Bounty blog on San Diego Magazine--then I noticed some unusual eggs sitting in cartons. They were beautiful, slightly larger than chicken eggs and splashed with brown speckles.

It turns out they were fertilized turkey eggs. Hofshi's turkeys have been prolific so far this spring and he has plenty to raise, so he has started bringing the rest out to the farmers markets to sell. Clearly, I had to try them. I've cooked with duck eggs and quail eggs, but these turkey eggs were a first for me.

Back in November, Slate writer Brian Palmer questioned why we don't eat turkey eggs. He posits very simply that it's because they're expensive. They just don't produce like little factories like chickens and require far more space than chickens. And they require more food. All fair points. Hofshi sold me the eggs at $1 apiece.

But, there was a time when turkey eggs were not only an American staple, but also popular in Europe. And, you can still find them for sale online and in some British markets. Here in the U.S., your best chance at finding them is at a local farmers market from farmers like Hofshi.

Now why would you want to spend the money to eat them? Mostly because they have a richer flavor than conventional chicken eggs and, thanks to their size, you don't need as many for a given recipe. But, they are higher in cholesterol than chicken eggs. So, they're kind of a treat--and certainly a conversation piece. Soft or hard boil them, poach them, fry them. Use them for sauces or baking. Or as I did--enjoy them simply scrambled.

You can find Eli's Farms at the UTC, El Cajon, City Heights, and Pt. Loma farmers markets run by Brian's Farmers Markets.

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