Be advised: this post starts off a bit serious — grim, even — but lightens up fairly quickly and has a happy finish!
Stonyfield Farms-– the organic dairy company from which I buy a lot of yogurt and receive too many magazines thanks to their rewards program — is running a Know Your Food campaign (“This Year I Will Know My Food”) that has stuck in my head. As it happens, the USDA is doing the same thing (Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food). Both limit themselves to farmers they work with…still, it is a start, isn’t it?
Leandro and I know a fair bit about who makes what we eat – when it comes to seasonal local stuff – but it’s hard to know everything. And it gets scarier and scarier, what with the pink slime in school lunch meat (can we get any more cavalier – or gruesome — about how we feed children?) and arsenic in apple juice and e. coli everywhere…I am sick, not just because it’s a horrible thing nutritionally, but because I am sick of reading about it, sick of worrying about it, and sick of how complicated it has become to get simple healthy food on the table these days. Heavy sigh.
But, let’s brighten up and lighten up here.
We recently spent an amazing couple of days out on the North Fork of Long Island (our Bordeaux on the Sound, as it were), picking up wine from Paumanok, spending quality time with Deborah Pittorino Rivera at The Greenporter Hotel which she and her husband, Bill, own and where she also serves up incredible food at La Cuvee Wine Bar & Restaurant (see her blog, Seasoned Fork, here), riding the carousel — Leandro learned how to grab the rings — and watching the Shelter Island ferries shuttle cars back and forth.
We stopped by one of my favorite places to get fresh, organic eggs. Ty Llwyd Farm has the best fresh eggs (duck eggs too! More on that later), organic vegetables, and sometimes flowers (pussy willows right now!) in Northville on Sound Ave. They also have manure and hay – they do a bit of everything and are moving into dairy. If you blink, you might miss the homely wooden sign – look for a big nursery (van der something or another) across the road and you are close.
This time I hit pay dirt! The last few times I have stopped for eggs, Leandro was asleep in the car, so he didn’t get to see the cool old egg sorter in operation. This time he was wide-awake – on fire and crunchy from too much enforced restaurant sitting, in fact – and the sorter was in use to sort eggs for the cognoscenti stopping by for the their weekly supply. So owner David Wines was kind enough to let the little guy sort his own eggs…you roll them onto a little chute and they travel along a line of egg-sized scales measuring jumbo, extra-large, large, etc. and the egg rolls off when it tips the correct weighted scale.
We then proceeded to visit all the animals – you may remember that Leandro is very found of chickens – only the egg-layers, though — so we saw the pullets, the free-rangers (who came running to see my little hen-whisperer), the cows, the geese marching in formation, the ducks…
When I asked Dave how long he has been there, he said, “Oh, about 300 years” or something like that. Turns out, his people were farmers from Cornwall who came to the North Fork via Connecticut centuries ago and the family still farms. The name Ty Llwyd (pronounced tee clewed) is from his Welsh wife, Liz, also from a farming family.
It was a wonderful couple of hours we spent and we came home with two dozen fresh hens’ eggs and two duck eggs ($0.75 each) which I fried up a few days later.
The taste is very similar to chicken’s eggs, but denser and richer somehow. One egg on one slice of toast was enough to fill me for hours. Very satisfying!
So no recipe for today, aside from a teaspoon of vegetable oil heated at medium high, crack two eggs in, sprinkle with good salt, lower heat and cook for four minutes or until they reach your preferred doneness. I covered the eggs to make the heat more even to be able to cook them at lower heat and more slowly. As adaptable as eggs are, a lot of high heat doesn’t do them any favors.
So, duck eggs (which are said to pack more nutritional punch that hens’ eggs) were a great success. People bake with them, but I don’t think that is cost effective. I’d rather enjoy them on their own!