Close your eyes and imagine an egg farm. What does the picture in your mind look like? Let me take a guess. You’re envisioning a picturesque rural family farm—flowing fields and sunny skies. Was I close? That’s certainly what a lot of egg farms look like. But you can find egg farms in some out-of-the-ordinary places… and we wanted to share some of those with you. Without further ado, here are our four favourite unexpected egg farms:
1. Egg farming in the Great White North
Running an egg farm is hard work—but imagine how hard it would be in the Arctic cold. Last year, we profiled family farmers in Hay River, Northwest Territories—Glen, Michael, and Kevin Wallington—doing exactly that. They are the only egg producers in the Northwest Territories, and their operation couldn’t be more important. In a place where so much has to be shipped in from warmer climates, it’s hard to find certain kinds of food locally. “I hope we are laying the foundation for many more northern food products,” says Kevin.
2. An egg farm with no net carbon emissions
We’ve written about the Brant Hutterite Colony egg farm before, but it’s so amazing, we have to mention it again! This Alberta egg farm is in the process of creating a net-zero egg barn. If the experiment works, the barn will produce no greenhouse gas emissions—an environmental revolution in Canadian egg farming. The barn is testing innovative new equipment and techniques. If it succeeds, it could inspire a new generation of truly green egg barns.
3. A research farm on a university campus
The University of Guelph is a world-renowned institution when it comes to agricultural research—and the best research comes from working in the field. To that end, the University plays host to the Arkell Poultry Research Station. Just 10 minutes south of the University, the station includes a poultry barn that can fit 5,000 layers and features three major hen housing styles—conventional, aviary and enriched housing.1 Research of all kinds happens there, furthering our understanding of hen behaviour and welfare, and best practices for the management of housing systems.
4. Bayview on the Bay
We interviewed the Jennings farming family in Nova Scotia several months ago, and had the chance to see their Cobequid Bay egg farm, Bayview Poultry Farms, with our own eyes. Cobequid is home to the highest tidal range in the world. That’s a factoid, but it hardly does justice to what it looks like up close. At high tide, the Bay is a beautiful and bountiful body of water. But at low tide, the waters recede so much the once-enormous lake turns into a shallow plain, a tide so low you can practically walk across. The Bay produces gusty winds that are perfect for wind turbines, an energy source the Jennings have put to good use!
The importance of local food is one of the reasons we are so proud of our egg farmers. You can find them across Canada and in many communities, sometimes in places you would never expect. If you’re an egg farmer, we would love to see what your land looks like. Tag us in photos on Twitter (@eggsoeufs) or on Facebook at Get Cracking.