Voice Recognition

Harvest of the Month

May - Eggs

What came first—the chicken or the egg? For biologists, the answer is simple: the egg! Around 350 million years ago, the first Tetrapods—the common ancestor of all mammals, reptiles, and birds—emerged from the ocean1. When on land, their amphibian-like egg sacs would dry out, so they evolved a protective shell over the embryo, and Voilà!—the first egg. It took another 290 million years for the first wildfowl (the ancestor of all chickens and ducks) to arrive on the scene. Case closed! But when did we start eating eggs? Well, humans and other predatory animals have been eating eggs for millions of years. Then, about 5,000 years ago, people in Asia domesticated the first wildfowl. It was so successful that the idea spread worldwide4. Later, the Egyptians developed a method to incubate eggs in heated caves, freeing up hens to lay more. In the 1940s, egg farming was industrialized, with larger flocks put in smaller cages. Today, 98% of US eggs come from factory farms, which are cheap for the consumer, but criticized for poor animal welfare, pollution, disease, contamination, unsafe working conditions, and sub-par nutrition. In response, the popularity of small-scale egg farms is increasing, and Vermonters, in particular, are at the forefront of putting better eggs back on the menu.

Fun Facts
  • There are several reasons why we commonly eat chicken eggs instead of duck or turkey eggs. Chickens lay more eggs, they need less nesting space, and they don’t have the strong mothering instincts of turkeys and ducks, which makes egg collection easier.
  • When a chicken egg is developing, the eggshell and the egg form at the same time. Here we have another answer to that puzzling question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • Kiwis, a flightless bird native to New Zealand, have the largest egg-to-body size ratio, up to 20% of the female’s body weight. In comparison, a chicken’s egg is approximately 1% of its body weight.
  • To tell the difference between a raw egg and a hard-cooked one, spin it. Hard-cooked eggs spin easily, while raw eggs wobble.

  • Eggs are very nutrient-dense since they contain the cells to promote the growth of a baby chicken. Thus, they are very high in protein, B12, and iron and contain all the essential amino acids needed for a nourishing lifestyle.

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