RICHMOND—Virginia farms produce nearly 700 million eggs each year according to the Virginia Poultry Federation, and with spring’s arrival that means an abundance for the ultimate egg season. In Virginia, eggs are important to the agricultural industry and rank 11 among the state’s top farm commodities. Soon, spring rituals of decorating eggs and attending Easter egg hunts will begin, while Jewish households will observe Passover meals with an egg as one of five traditional foods on the Seder plate. Last year, the demand for eggs at Easter increased by more than 6 percent over 2015, and Americans ate more than 2.5 billion eggs. So, what’s that got to do with the price of eggs? “Egg production and wholesale prices tend to increase each spring in anticipation of Easter, when retailers feature eggs for several weeks ahead of the holiday,” explained Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week that nationwide large egg inventory increased 14 percent and white large egg prices increased 3 percent in anticipation of strong retail demand. Consumer demand for eggs continues to grow steadily. In fact, the USDA forecasts U.S. egg consumption will reach its highest level since 1974—280 eggs per person—in 2019. But eggs are not only traditional fare for spring holidays. “Eggs are an amazing nutrient- and protein-dense food that can be featured in so many different ways on consumers’ plates throughout the year,” noted Banks. Find recipes for deviled eggs, asparagus egg strata and more at eggnutritioncenter.org/recipe. Media: Contact Banks at 804-290-1114.