This post is in response to a host of stuff I've been seeing lately about how folks are keeping eggs they've been buying from local farmers on their counters, thinking that because the eggs come from "pastured" hens that it's ok to keep them unrefrigerated.
Yes, when a hen lays an egg, she deposits this lovely mucoidal membrane on the egg called the "bloom", which does indeed prevent a host of bacteria and other nasties from entering into the egg under normal circumstances. Yes, that means the egg from a local farmer will, generally, stay fresher than an egg which has been washed, as your supermarket egg has been, assuming the local farmer hasn't washed the egg (some have, you'd better ask, because some states require even the small local farmers to wash their eggs before they sell them.)
But just because the bloom is still on the egg doesn't mean you should keep it on your countertop for weeks folks. The bloom is not made of plastic. It is not airtight. It is not going to keep that egg fresh forever. Let's think about this.
The hen laid that egg, in theory, because she wanted to raise a chick. If the egg were coated in an airtight membrane, the embryo inside the egg would never be able to develop, because it wouldn't be able to breathe. And embryos need to breathe in order to grow. It's part of what they do. See the chart below. It's how we chicken farmers can determine the age of an embryo, by how much air has entered an egg!
So folks, please. Put the damned eggs in the fridge, would you? You're making the old chicken farmers like me, with your neo-hippie back to the land eggs on the countertop nonsense, a little crazy. You really will be glad you did.