Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Customers!

We had a new customer checking out our gate sign this week one day at lunch. He was too shy to come in, but I got a good look at him through the camera lens. I'm sure I heard him grumble as he turned his fluffy red tail, " chicken left. Should have come earlier in the year."
Our chickens continue to produce like the egg machines they are bred to be and although the yolks are a little lighter yellow this time of year, they are just as delicious as always. We had one customer tell us a story of how she had made the point of buying 'farm fresh eggs' from a local egg farm, but that she didn't think they were much different than store bought, but once she had ours, she couldn't believe the difference. The only store-bought eggs I've eaten have been in restaurants for breakfast and those always seem fine since, a)I don't have to cook them and b)all the butter and salt that comes with diner breakfasts makes everything slip down pretty nicely. I feel confident in the quality of our eggs though and that they are indeed superior to store-bought ones in flavour as well as nutrients. There have been numerous studies showing the health benefits of free-range eggs and it only makes sense. An egg is only as good as the feed that the chicken eats. It's so nice to have confidence in ones food.
Anyway, as you can see on the counter in front of Lucy in the photo above (my happy sous chef), there are a few dozen freshly washed eggs waiting for homes. For some reason some of our pre-Christmas customers have taken a bit of an egg break, so this last week we've had an extra overabundance. I had been talking to a chef of a restaurant in downtown Charlottetown called The Merchantman Pub who said that they can ALWAYS use good quality eggs and to drop them off anytime. This morning, since I was in Charlottetown anyway, I took 15 dozen down at $3.00/dozen. As I dropped them off, I explained that they are certified organic, trying to justify the price, which is what we normally charge, but I thought maybe she would expect a deal since they were taking 15 dozen at once. I was prepared to lower the price should she suggest so. She walked towards the cash, looking at the invoice I had given her and turned back towards me. I expected a rebuff on the price. Instead she smiled and said, "Next time, charge me $3.50."
I am continually amazed at what food is worth to some people (thank goodness!). At one of my trips to the farmers market this summer, I was selling our eggs and it is a tricky business in the microcosm of a market like that, where your competition is literally 6 feet over at the next booth. There were all variety of eggs for sale; conventional eggs selling at quota price, 'free range' eggs, 'cage-free eggs', 'blue and speckled eggs', organic eggs, etc. Ours were certified and the only other organic eggs there were selling for $5/dozen, and that vendor wasn't happy with my $3/dozen price, so I raised it to be polite, thinking how annoyed I would be to be going home with eggs that would never sell at that price. Within half an hour I was sold out and continually had people coming, asking for more. A lesson in market confidence that I obviously didn't learn, evidenced by this morning's experience.
Anyway, all is well here in Freetown these days. The sheep are happy and slowly expanding, Wilson is sleeping through most nights and Lucy is on the potty train! Whoo whoo! It's been about a week now and very few accidents, so as my mom said, "life is worth living!"

Hope this finds you well!



  1. Pricing certified organic products is tricky isn't it? It is such a small community that you cannot appear to be undercutting your neighbour and the market, yet you want to be fair to your customers. We have struggled with that lately too, but we are settling in to the concept that the customers we want are the ones who are willing to pay good money for good food. Anyone who grumbles about the price would have found something else to grumble about even if they got the price they wanted! Good job.

  2. hi sally glad to hear everything is going good ,we are trying to get over but you know how it is ....

  3. $3/dozen is an amazing price for certified organic - I know people who were charging that to break even and weren't shelling out the extra money for organic feed (even though they were free-range, fed a lot of other good stuff, etc.)

    John is right, and if you read Joel Salatin's books you will hear the same sentiment; you should charge what you need to charge to continue to exist, be profitable, and hopefully grow and the customers who are willing to support you are the ones you want :)