Parent Category: Eating
Category: Local Food
Created on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 23:28
Written by Cathy Nickum
There was a time - not so long ago - when a Sunday surrey around Bainbridge Island included spotting “Fresh Eggs” signs at the entrances of various countryside driveways. These days, with local fresh eggs in high demand, those signs are fewer and farther between. People who keep chickens are having a harder time keeping up with requests from friends and neighbors, and folks looking for fresh eggs are finding it harder to pick up a dozen or two on the weekend.
Fresh eggs from home-raised chickens are a wonderful example of healthy, year-round, locally-sourced food, and as the demand for them increases, people are finding ways to improve the communication and connection between egg producers and egg buyers.
Here on Bainbridge, locally grown eggs have traditionally been available, albeit in very limited supplies, at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. The good news is that they are now showing up in small local markets around the island as well. Pane d’Amore at Lynwood Center stocks fresh Island eggs, as does Bay Hay & Feed’s new Farm Stand
(check in the refrigerator near the southeast door). These kinds of retail outlets are much-needed supplements to the old-fashioned driveway signs, although supplies can vary from day to day, so check with store staff for delivery days.
Other tools are also being developed to make fresh eggs available in communities around the country - some, rather ingenious. At Eggzy.net
, Mark Thompson and his Pennsylvania crew have launched an interactive map and registry where small egg-producers across the country can register an “egg stand” - consider it the e-version of a “Fresh Eggs Here” sign. Completely free and altruistic, this site contains no hidden fees or commercial angles. Simply put, Eggzy’s mission is to “make our food system personal again.” And why not use the creativity and connectivity of the internet to enhance opportunities to eat local eggs? Check out the site - it’s amazing to see the differences in the price of a dozen fresh eggs around the country, and the blog has all kinds of good resource information for egg producers.
Another idea that has popped up in Brooklyn, NY - as a part of Backyard Farms, an urban farming network - is to offer an annual subscription-style egg CSA to a limited group of customers. This CSA offers a dozen eggs a week to members from May through October for an average annual fee of $100 (give or take, depending on income). The egg CSA promises “delicious eggs laid by happy hens here in Brooklyn.” For more information on what they’re up to, and a link to their application, go here
. An egg CSA seems like a promising idea for Bainbridge Island - we’ll see how it goes in NYC. If it can make it there, well... you know.
. We’ll keep you updated on progress here on the Sound Food website.
Increasingly, people are deciding to raise a few hens, and with friendly local ordinances and resources like Bay Hay & Feed’s “chick classes,” it’s easy to give it a try. If you’ve got backyard hens and extra eggs, and you’d like to keep the old-fashioned “Fresh Eggs Here” signs going, there’s good news. In this state, there is no licensing requirement to privately sell eggs from your own flock - just wash, box and sell. If you’re interested in making your eggs available to local retail outlets, you may be required to obtain an Egg Handler’s license from the state. This is actually just a Master Business License, which you can get by going here
In the meantime, if you’re looking for fresh, local eggs and can’t find them, check out Sound Food’s farm map, which has information about local sources. Many poultry farmers also offer duck eggs, which can be slightly easier to find than chicken eggs. After you find some promising destinations, take that Sunday drive (or bike ride)... you might just get lucky.