Let’s Talk About Eggs

I’m taking a break from discussing writing methods or how nurses are dealing with the COVID-19 virus. 

For this week’s post, I’m talking eggs. 

I went to the North Carolina Farmers Market last Friday to drop off an empty egg carton and buy another dozen jumbo “free range” eggs from the Cox farm stand. 

Janie and Robbie Cox sell their eggs at the Farmers Market every other Friday. The Thursdays before, Janie Cox texts her regular customers—over 175 strong—to tell us where the egg stand will be since the stand doesn’t have an assigned spot. 

On this sunny Friday morning, I wait while Janie chats with a customer—keeping my 6 feet distance. Frequently, there are other customers before me when I come to buy eggs.  “I know I jabber on,” the customer smiles at me as she leaves. I have already decided that my next post will be about food, most probably eggs, and I want to take pictures of Janie and Robbie Cox and their stand at the Farmers Market.

I enjoy visiting the Farmers Market because in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the environment there feels safe. The market is outside. Directional arrows on the floor encourage customers to observe social distancing and hand sanitizers are placed in strategic locations. Wearing a mask is mandatory. The greatest danger for me is to buy more produce than I can possibly cook. 

After I explain that I would like to include Cox eggs in my upcoming post, Janie and Robbie agree to let me take their picture. Janie tells me she will email more information about their business. I leave with my purchase: a carton of eggs and a few sunflowers that the grow wild on their five acres of land. 

Robbie and Janie Cox

What I learned about the Cox’s and their businesses:

The Cox’s raised race horses for 20 years. Then they started a full-time fresh produce business. After 15 years, Janie and Robbie celebrated their retirement by buying 500 Rhode Island Red laying hens.

For the next six years, they have come to the Farmers Market every other weekend selling 4 sizes of eggs: X Large; Jumbo; X Jumbo and XX Jumbo. The smaller egg sizes are sold at other markets and at a home delivery service. The chickens are all “pasture raised/free range.” Janie tells me that the chickens “come and go as they please.”

My attempt at impersonating a roving reporter at the Farmers Market allows me to expand my knowledge about all that involves food, a topic dear to my heart. Plus, it’s fun to interact with the vendors. I’ll continue to hone in on my nascent interviewing skills. 

N.B. Those who follow my Blog know that I am a city girl. However, when I was two years old, I knew my way around chickens, and, as you can see, ducks, too. I’m standing in the back yard of Aunt Sophie’s house in Long Island. My older cousins refused to eat the chickens that Aunt Sophie, their mother, had killed for dinner.

More about eggs:

At just 78 calories each, eggs are an efficient, rich source of protein and vitamins. A large egg contains about 6 grams of protein. Eggs also are a good source of other nutrients, including vitamin D (which aids bone health and the immune system) and choline (which helps metabolism and liver function, as well as fetal brain development).

Egg yolks also can be good for the eyes; they are significant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older.

The American Heart Association

What to do with eggs:

Omelette

Frittata

The Trip to the Farmers Market

I drive to the Farmers Market on this dreary Friday. Frankly, it’s nice to have a break from the sunny, humid days. The gray skies impersonate an early Fall and lift my spirits. 

This trip gets me out of the house and into a semblance of normalcy that I remember before the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders began.

Since I plan to write this week’s post about the Farmers Market, I park the car near the entrance to take a picture of the main signpost. On my way back to the car, I notice a white face mask on the road. It looks like mine. It is mine. What are the chances it dropped onto a smear of COVID-19 germs? After a brief hesitation, I pick it up and put it on my face. 

When I come to the Farmers Market, I like to start at one end of the Farmers Building (which is 30,000 square feet) and work my way down the main aisle checking produce and prices on either side. Then, I turn around when I reach the end and retrace my steps, this time making purchases. 

Today, all I am going to do is buy peaches and take pictures.

The market organizers have done away with the wide middle lane running north and south. Now, multiple one-way aisles travel east to west, bisecting the individual farm stands and promoting safe-distancing. 

Without the pressure of buying ingredients for a dinner, I am free to enjoy the lovely presentation of produce. I snap pictures as I travel past the arrangements of bright red tomatoes, varieties of eggplant and various chilis categorized according to heat index. 

I stop by one of the many corn stalls. A women is husking corn. Before we moved to North Carolina, I had never seen a trash bin near the corn displays at Farmers Markets or in grocery stores. Shoppers are invited to husk the corn and dump the husks into a trash bin provided by the grocery store or market before purchasing the corn. While this may be more convenient, as my southern neighbors tell me, I adhere to the common knowledge that corn in their husks stay fresh longer. 

I take some pictures of the corn stall only after asking the permission from the woman who is husking corn. She nods and continues to husk, not paying me any mind. As I’m leaving, she tells me the corn season is winding down. At that news, I steel myself not to buy any more corn since my husband and I have had corn in many reiterations and there is a large container of corn and crab chowder in the refrigerator. 

As I turn to leave the corn stand, I see a woman at the other end of the market waving at me. She smiles and points to her head and gives me a thumbs up. She’s commenting on my purple hair. Pandemic purple I call it. I give her a thumbs up, too. When coloring one’s hair was more popular, I kept my white hair. Now it seems I am pretty much an oddity. I like swimming against the current. I may change colors when this hue fades. Maybe a soft blue or intense red will be the next dye. Social isolation has a strange effect on me. 

I leave the Farmers Market carrying one bag of peaches. 

Black bean and corn salad

Original recipe yields 6 servings

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels  ( Use fresh in season)
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium whole (2-3/5″ diameter)  tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 medium (4-1/8″ long) green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  • Step 1

Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid and shake until ingredients are well mixed.

  • Step 2

In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing and serve.