With an ongoing egg shortage and super-high egg prices – the result of avian flu, rising supply costs or corporate greed, depending who you talk to – many consumers are trying to go directly to the source: farms.
“We get customers calling us from San Jose and all over the place. I’m getting all these calls, because the stores don’t have any,” says DaVonne Johnson of Johnson Farm, which sells to local markets and also regular customers who visit the farm – by appointment – in the East Bay’s Briones.
In this case, they’ll have to wait: Most folks who book an appointment to visit Johnson’s are looking at a three-week backlog. But after that wait, they can get their hands on a dozen jumbo eggs for $7, which is pretty good considering the average price for large eggs in California stores this month is $6 to $7. And undeniably, farm eggs are a cut above in terms of quality.
“They’re a different product. You’re getting super-fresh eggs, and our hens are all pasture-raised – they’re getting fresh sunshine and roaming around outdoors,” says Johnson.
At some other farming operations in the Bay Area, you can get farm-fresh eggs by walking in right now. Some are as cheap as $3.35 a dozen – yes, we had to call and check that one twice. Here are a few places offering eggs straight from the hen, if you like supporting local businesses, eating well and taking a fun road trip, to boot.
Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos
This institution near Santa Cruz is selling a dozen large eggs for $3.35 right from its farm. Just drive up and pick some out, and while you’re there, admire the display of “dancing chickens” and a vending machine for eggs. 3100 Valencia Road, Aptos; glaumeggranch.com
The Woolly Egg Ranch, Mill Valley
During the week, the ranch runs a stand at local farmers markets, but it’s open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays to sell eggs. The current price is between $6 and $12 a dozen (they’re sold by weight). It’s first come, first served. They have duck eggs, too. 503 Tennessee Valley Rd, Mill Valley; 415-388-3051
Olivera Egg Ranch, San Jose
Olivera hit TV news this month for offering a dozen eggs for just $3, but there’s a catch: The “checks and dirties,” as they’re called, have cracks or dirt that can’t be washed off and aren’t meant for restaurant use. That hasn’t deterred throngs of people shopping at the ranch, which one fan on Reddit describes as “[b]asically a liquor store but it’s all mostly eggs.” (They also have regular eggs at higher prices.) 3315 Sierra Road, San Jose; 408-258-8074
Skippy’s Egg Store, Petaluma
A retail outpost of Petaluma Egg Farm, Skippy’s has limited supplies of fresh eggs in stock. They’re going for $9.85 a dozen for large whites right now. 951 Transport Way, Petaluma; skippyseggstore.com
Customers must call ahead to place an order for pick-up at Johnson (510-334-1065), where a dozen jumbos at the moment cost $7.120 Hampton Road, Briones; johnsonfarmeggs.com