The local egg scramble
Nevada eggs are over easy to find
When a salmonella outbreak traced to two large egg producers in Iowa triggered an egg recall of 500 million eggs last August, the Great Basin Community Food Co-op had already been working to get more local egg producers in their Plumas Street storefront for a few years. So while they weren’t expecting a sudden demand for local eggs, they were ready when it came.
“Before the egg scare, we moved about 25 dozen eggs a week,” says co-op co-founder Amber Sallaberry, adding that many of those eggs were from California. “Now, we move 100 dozen a week,” and those are from Nevada farmers. Local duck and chicken eggs are readily available at the co-op, sold individually—in browns and whites and faint blues—or by the carton. Their main suppliers are Hungry Mother Organics in Minden, and Palomino Valley-based farms Hadji Paul’s and Fontana Farms.
Local eggs tend to come from free-range, well-treated chickens. While more research is needed, some studies show eggs from hens raised on pasture have less cholesterol and saturated fat, and more vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and beta carotene than commercial eggs. The idea is that when fowl eat better, consumers eat better. And arguably, they taste better, too.
“Tomatoes and eggs—for me, if you don’t get it from a local farmer, I’d rather not eat it,” says Sallaberry, regarding the difference in flavor.
“My eggs are true free-range,” says Cydney Harding of Fontana Farms. Her hens eat grass and grubs on the pasture and food scraps. By contrast, the USDA loosely defines “free range” as any chicken that has “access to the outside.” That could be for just a few minutes a day, and it doesn’t have to include access to pasture at all.
Here’s where to find local eggs, at prices comparable to those labeled free-range, organic at supermarkets.
Retail outlets: Great Basin Community Food Co-op, where RenoEgg.com has also been selling Sunday mornings in the parking lot. Whole Foods, which will soon start selling Fontana Farms’ duck eggs. Reno Homebrewer also sells local eggs from some customers with backyard chickens. Hungry Mother Organics’ storefront off Highway 395 in Minden carries their eggs.
Farmers’ markets: While most markets are closed for the season, RenoEgg.com sells at the Fall Farmers’ Market held Saturday mornings from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at Bistro 7.
Direct from the farmer. Many farmers include eggs in their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions. Rise and Shine Farms sell eggs at their Fallon farm. Hadji Paul’s also has an egg route, and you can also get them at their farm-based feed store. Grow for Me Sustainable Farm has eggs as part of their subscription program and may also be available by appointment at the farm. Also check out 4 Season Farms at the River School in Reno, and Lattin Farms and Nanadew Farms in Fallon.
Restaurants. Local restaurants buying local eggs include 775Gastropub, Dish Café, 4th St Bistro, Sezmu, Bistro 7, Back of the House, Nothing to It, and Pneumatic Diner.
Your backyard. Reno residents can raise chickens in their backyards. Sparks residents are out of luck unless their property is zoned for agriculture, but efforts are underway to change that.