The last year or so I have been passionate about shopping local and supporting local farmers. As much as possible I choose to shop locally owned store instead of the big box stores. I also have started shopping for my fresh foods locally including meats and produce. To me it only makes sense. I was so excited to be invited to BurnBrae Farms in Lyn, Ontario to take a behind the scenes tour of the farm. I was so excited to be able to take a look at the inner workings of a product that I use almost every single day. The egg.
Our first treat upon arriving at the Burnbrae Farm was lunch and a cooking demonstration with Chef Seth O’Hara from Brockberry Cafe. On the menu were omelletes (of course!), wedge salads and onion tartlettes. Do you notice what Chef Seth is using as a garnish to the wedge salads? Hard boiled eggs that where put through a potato ricer! Brilliant and perfect for making deviled eggs for a crowd. I will now have a use for that ricer other than Christmas dinner. Lunch was fabulous and fueled us all for the tour ahead of us.
Our next stop was the grading station. So much happens here with the egg. The eggs are first washed with soap and water, rinsed then sent to be grated. The eggs are grated by weight and then a camera detects any leakers. Next the eggs are sent through a crack detector and candling to check for blood spots. The eggs are then sent through a dryer and then a laser printer prints a code on the eggs. The code is a best before date and codes that can trace the egg back to the farm and barn it came from. Once the eggs are done the all of these processes, it is off to get packaged.
I was anxious to see how the hens are housed and learn how they are treated at Burnbrae Farms. I toured three different types of hen houses and they all have things in common to ensure the welfare of the hens.
The conventional housing system provides the consumer with the everyday egg. This is how most Canadian hens live. The system is designed to allow the hens equal access to water and food. There is no way for a hen to rule the roost in this system. This housing system creates smaller social groups and helps to reduce aggression and control disease.
The enriched colony housing systems have the added benefits of perches, nesting areas and more space. Some farmers add a scratching area but these have proven hard to keep clean.
Free Run Housing Systems
Burbrae has offered the free run egg for 10 years now. The hens are free to roam, perch and nest. Although the hens have more room they tend to bunch up in on one side of the barn.
Here are my top take away points I learned on my tour.
- Flocks are checked daily for health
- all hens are vaccinated reducing the need for antibiotics
- fresh water always available
- safe, clean, temperature controlled and sheltered environment
- computerized ventilation to ensure continuous fresh air
- diet is regulated as the hen ages to meet her nutritional requirements
- all employees are trained in proper animal care practices
- steroids and hormones have been banned in the Canadian Egg Industry for 50 years and are not used on the farm
- Burnbrae sources from over 400 egg producers
- the egg can be traced back to the farm and barn by the codes on the egg
- eggs take only 72 hours to travel farm to table
- Burnbrae Farms is a family owned and operated company that has been producing eggs for over 60 years
- An egg a day is okay
- lowest carbon footprint animal protein
The Hudson family were welcoming and generous hosts. The group of bloggers and I were treated to a fabulous egg inspired dinner at the family farm that included a bonfire, smores and horse back riding. We were also treated to some fabulous gifts that were unexpected and truly appreciated. We were well taken care of. Thank you to the whole family for your warm hospitality.
Connect with Burnbrae Farms
Hashtag for the farm tour: #BBFFarmTour