At the Purple Onion, shoppers may find eggs that are green, blue, white, brown or speckled. While the colors vary, they hold the common traits of good flavor, nutrition and versatility since eggs may be prepared so many different ways.
"Eggs are full of lean protein," he said. "They are a good source of Vitamin A. They have no carbs and no trans fat. They have good cholesterol. They are a quick and easy fix for dinner. It would be a boring cake without them."
Hathaway said the state Department of Agriculture keeps an eye on chicken farms.
"They inspect chickens for diseases and problems," he said.
Buddy Davidson, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, said lots of eggs are produced in West Virginia even though there is no tally for those that go to the table.
In 2011, West Virginia produced 237 million eggs that were hatched to become broilers, he said.
However, numerous folks keep chickens for the sake of producing eggs, he said.
A method of checking the quality of an egg is called candling, a process whereby the egg is held up to a light to see the air pocket inside. The smaller the air pocket, the fresher the egg because an egg loses moisture as it sits, he said.
While officials check the grade of eggs sold in large businesses, that is not the case with those going to smaller markets.
"The ones sold in farmers markets must say 'ungraded,' " Davidson said. "We require they be refrigerated at the market and we check the temperature. There is a waxy coating on the outside of eggs from local farmers. The ones in the stores are thoroughly washed. The waxy coating seals in moisture and seals out bacteria in the unlikely event it would work its way through the egg."
It is recommended that all eggs be washed before cracking, he said. Thoroughly cooking the egg is also a good deterrent against bacteria.
The more popular chicken varieties in West Virginia are Dominiques with brown eggs, Rhode Island Reds with brown eggs, Leghorns with white eggs, and Araucanas with green or blue eggs.
"Green eggs are my favorite," Davidson said. "The nutrition is about the same, but they have a different subtle flavor. You can read Dr. Seuss while you eat breakfast."
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.