Crickhowell flock lays 5.5 million eggs a year but farmer wants to sell more locally.
Richard and Emma already supply 250 dozen free-range eggs a week to The Bear, Latte-Da, and Cashells Butchers among others, but they are looking to expand.
“The eggs we supply are laid and packed that day,” says Richard, which means they are firmer and fresher and there are far fewer food miles involved in getting them from farm to plate – which is better for the environment. Our packer collects four times a week but even then, it can take three or four days to reach the shelves, so our eggs are much fresher.”
Local sales are better for the farmer because Richard and Emma get a better price than from a bulk packer, though there is extra effort and cost involved in packing them into retail half-dozen boxes. They are also a useful outlet for small and medium sized eggs which are less fashionable and less attractive to supermarkets. Still, only 150,000 of 5.5m eggs are sold locally every year.
“Our hens live in a barn, but they have access to roam the fields outside and you’ll see them out there, particularly in the evenings. We have not used antibiotics in the past five years, and we feed them a special high fibre diet to keep their condition, which makes them easier to move on to people who want them afterwards.” Richard said.
For Richard, there is a slightly old-fashioned emotional response to selling locally: “I am grateful to have my product in my local town and that my local town likes to sell my eggs. What a sense of pride I suppose, isn’t it that I’m up here doing my own thing, simply running a commercial business, it’s about being part of the community, feeding the community.”
He would be willing to join a “growing group” of local producers and see his eggs distributed with other fresh produce from around Crickhowell, meaning better quality food for consumer, fewer food miles and less carbon emissions into the environment. “I would collaborate, yes, it’s in everyone’s interest to do so.” Richard said.
Article and photographs by Tim Jones, As You See It Media
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