Some people dream of farm-fresh eggs, delivered daily by their own backyard chickens.
I admit that a really fresh egg is delicious – but my local supermarket sells eggs with 660 mg Omega 3 fatty acids per egg for $2.49 per dozen. That’s 3.14 cents per 100 mg Omega 3s.
For reference, I could purchase salmon at $7.99 per pound (Going on memory for the cheapest I’ve seen it) and get 100 mg Omega 3s for 8.2 cents. If I went with the cheaper canned salmon, I could get 100 mg for 7.5 cents. Canned tuna could give me 100 mg for 5.5 cents, but I’d have to moderate intake to ensure that I don’t ingest too much mercury. So the eggs are definitely cheaper (and far easier to get my husband to eat regularly).
Now, I could go to Walmart and get a fish oil supplement with 100 mg Omega 3s for 1 cent each – but I’d also have to pop a pill, deal with fishy burps, and weigh the risks and benefits of unknown mercury exposure.
If I wanted fresh eggs that gave me the same amount of Omega 3s, I’d have to dig through the scientific literature to develop a balanced feed, purchase flax seed (which isn’t cheap either) to feed my chickens, and take care of the chickens. It may be that my finished eggs would be comparable in price to the store-bought Omega 3 eggs – but I suspect not, and it would take a fair bit of work even to figure out if it’d be economically feasible.
On the other hand, I cringe every time I am forced to dump spoiled milk, a bad batch of yogurt, or moldy buttermilk down the drain. I hate waste – and that’s good protein I’m dumping down the drain. Likewise, when I drain the chicken stock off an otherwise vegetable and bean soup before dumping the rest in the trash. That’s good organic matter I can’t compost because it contains animal products.
And then I get to the store where I take my chances with sausage and bacon, never knowing if the brand that’s on sale or lowest price will taste right in my recipes – wishing I could just buy ground pork and season it myself, but unable to do so unless I’m willing to pay exorbitant prices.
It makes me hanker for a pig.
Apart from poultry (which require a fairly large amount of labor in processing for the amount of protein you get from them), pigs are the most efficient converters of energy. They are omnivores, which means they could actually translate my kitchen waste into edible protein. As far as day to day maintenance goes, they’re fairly low maintenance (not so for a nanny goat or a cow!) And, they’re delicious.
Yes, I dream of swine. Well, probably not multiple swine (they *do* smell, you know.) But a single pig a year, grown fat on kitchen waste and field corn, slaughtered for a fresh supply of sausage, bacon, hams, pork chops, and lard. Ah, I dream of swine.