My carton of store bought eggs, with a the romantic image of a farm, almost seems ironic.
I never knew that chicken coops were so controversial.
In fact, when I tried to write the chicken coop story published on Monday, click here, I heard about coops everywhere, yet no one wanted to go on the record, nor have a picture taken of their chicken’s abode.
This isn’t the first time I reported on chicken coops. In 2010, as a community reporter in Belmont, Mass., I wrote about a chicken coop tour residents held in order to raise money. Participants purchased tickets for as much as $20 for the house hopping, which included taking a peek at other residential coops and learning how to attain a glowing orange yolk.
In this suburb of Boston, I believe the homeowners kept poultry on property that is quite a bit smaller than the allowed property usage in Sylvania Township. To me, it’s interesting that two places, both with an agricultural history, take a different view on the subject.
But the bigger issue here is not raising the chicken for the egg. The bigger issue is the American public having limited food options. Or maybe I should rephrase that. The issue is that industrial farms dominate the food market.
I recently read Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens. The author Andrew Beahrs searches for food inherent to each of America’s regions, before the country sprawled out.
His description of an egg, a real egg, with a golden-amber yolk, developed with worms, insects, and other natural feed a chicken plucked from the ground, makes me sad, and disappointed that I will never know that taste, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t like it.
A couple of years ago, I was staying on my grandmother’s farm in Sicily, where her chickens run free, with minimal human interference. She wondered why I never asked for scrambled eggs for breakfast. Since she knew it was one of my favorite morning meals, she cracked a couple of freshly laid eggs, and whisked up a plate for me.
The taste was so pure, so natural, and so strong that I could not stomach it. I tried my best to eat it, but eventually I think I had to throw it away in secret. Too embarrassed, I could not admit to her that my body was used to an insipid tasteless egg, as Mark Twain would say, that it literally rejected one made close to nature.