By now, you have probably heard about the wonderful free-range eggs that are being delivered in the Burnaby North area. Well, recently I had the opportunity to have a very nice chat with the lovely Melanie, owner of M&J Poultry.
Melanie Emery and her husband Jared have a small lot permit with 399 chickens. Yes, 399! Coming from a family of farmers, Mel started her adventure by applying for a small lot permit. Two years ago, she made it to the top of the list!
Their barn is located in Chilliwack and her family of 8 feed the chickens with grains from Ritchie Smith, where Jared works full-time. The chickens run outside and also feed from the outdoors.
I’ve been told they love to dig holes and ruffle their feathers in the soil. Now, these chickens are not very keen on the cold (I’m with them!) and are easily scared by the wind. So, on the cold days, they may choose to stay inside the barn – but that’s up to the chickens, it’s their choice!
Melanie and Jared’s business is growing quickly. At the beginning, they were only selling eggs to their neighbours and family members. But like Melanie said, “We can only eat so many!” and the chickens lay about 400 a day. That’s a lot of eggs!
With all those eggs in their basket, they approached Golden Valley Foods but were told their production was too small and that they weren’t interested.
So now they were left with figuring out their own marketing strategy.
They put up a sign outside their driveway and it wasn’t long before walk-in’s started to knock. They went to farmers markets and started to establish a small clientele.
But the big hit came when they created their Facebook page M&J and started to ask family and friends to share that page. Not long after, Maly asked if they could deliver the eggs in Surrey and Mel agreed to do that if the size of the order compensated for the drive.
The first Surrey group on Facebook, “Sullivan Fresh Egg Delivery”, started being shared and they received several orders. The response was incredible and the question they received most was “When are you coming back?” The Power of Social Media!
The Port Moody area requested a delivery date as well and then our great North Burnaby Community followed. Mel is now facing a bigger demand than she can supply, so she had to start declining new orders. After all there are only so many eggs!
This family business gets everyone involved, including the 8 and 6 year old who help mommy pickup the eggs in the morning hours. The little guy helps with the eggs that fall on the ground and he is a master at it!
Mel picks the eggs, washes them by hand, weighs them and candles them. This is quite a long process, so not too long ago they acquired a Grading machine that helps weighing the eggs.
Additionally, a new machine has arrived that will save hours of work. This miracle will help with the washing and sorting process, saving our farmers almost two hours of work every day!
Did you know that sometimes grocery store eggs can be up to two months old? Mel and Jared’s fresh eggs are a little more difficult to peel as hard-boiled eggs than the ones from the store. These fresh eggs can also be stored at room temperature, saving you space in your fridge, which is always appreciated.
The North Burnaby Group name is “Burnaby Fresh Egg Delivery” and you can request to be added to the group.
Deliveries are every three weeks, usually during the evenings at the Gilmore Community School parking lot.
Prices are as follow for a flat of 30 eggs:
Large flats $9
Double Yolkers $10 (for 20)
Assistant to Diana Klejne
West Coast Lifestyle Group