Finding ethically sourced dairy products at a price that won’t induce sticker shock can be a challenge. While eggs from cage free or free range hens are available in most supermarkets, the prices are often sky high. But there are other more appealing options available to socially and ecologically conscious consumers who are willing to look a little harder for cage free or free range eggs.
Farmers’ markets are excellent sources for affordable eggs from cage free and free range hens. Since the farmers can sell their crops and other products with minimal overhead, the prices tend to be far more reasonable than in a large supermarket. The only downside to buying eggs at a farmer’s market is that it’s easy to waste an afternoon wandering from stall to stall ordering various drinks and grazing on all of the free samples.
Local and specialty stores are also great places to get deals on eggs from cage free and free range hens. Locally owned businesses tend to have a stronger sense of commitment to their communities and want to keep prices as reasonable as possible in order to build and maintain customer loyalty. Likewise, specialty stores are usually smaller chains and have similar motivations to keep prices competitive. Of course, this is not universally true, since some smaller businesses sell at higher price points to help cover the high cost of space for inventory (the smaller the store, the more expensive it is to lease per square foot). Nevertheless, specialty and local stores frequently have plenty of deals. It’s always worth stopping by to check.
Join a co-op
Another option is to join a co-op. These organizations have an annual membership, usually for a fixed number of people. Each member pays a membership fee, and in return, periodically receives a share of what one specific farm yields for the next entire year. While the prospect of a membership fee is often enough to turn people off, finding the right co-op can be a great value since the products delivered are more than worth the price paid. Some co-ops with egg-laying hens on the property can guarantee a certain quantity of eggs with each shipment, either as part of their standard service or upon request. Finding the perfect co-op can be a real gold mine, and it’s certainly worth doing a little digging to get there.
Don’t feel trapped by slim offerings or unreasonable prices at large chain grocery stores; it’s easy to find better sources for eggs from cage free and free range hens.
Find out more about ethical food and vegan recipes on Hamish McLaren’s blog.
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