By Leslie Kelly

I'm a bargain hunter when it comes to grocery shopping… except for eggs. For a dozen of beauties laid by lovely Aracana chickens or Rhode Island Reds, $8 a dozen at the farmers market isn't too expensive. Now, hear me out before crying "fowl!"

Photo by Meredith

Eggs are probably the best value when it comes to protein. Even at $8 a dozen, that breaks down to less than $2 per serving. Pretty good deal, right?

Photo by Meredith Publishing

If you're fortunate enough to have friends who keep chickens, you know spring is a time when laying kicks into high gear and you're more likely to be on the receiving end of gift eggs. One reason small farmers charge a bit more is that they have to cover costs during the time when chickens don't lay. When it's dark and cold. (Factories keep the lights on constantly to up production.)

Because I buy from farmers I know and trust, I trust they're bringing their freshest eggs to the market. It's always worth asking whether they're willing to make a deal if you buy large quantities. Some of my best scores come from stopping at roadside stands on some rural back road, where there's no one guarding the stash, just a cash box and the honor system. It wasn't a huge shock that one of those magical eggs had a double yolk. Which has got to be lucky, right?

Harissa with Chickpeas and Eggs | Photo by Meredith

Even in my small household, two of us go through at least a dozen eggs in a week. I don't know what I'd do if I had to give up this indulgence. I love eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, though the best meal is always the brunch I make right after coming home with my farmers market purchases, the veggie omelets, a tossed green salad on the side.

For inspiration on how to cook those fabulous farmers market eggs, check out these stories on Allrecipes' Dish: