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A Kintyre business has hatched a plan to keep healthy, free range eggs on shop shelves throughout winter.
Hannah and Will Jones, who run their Kintyre Eggs business from their home at High Bellochantuy Farm, have expanded their operations to ensure customers in Kintyre have year-round access to high quality eggs, even when their hens are laying at a reduced rate during the darker months.
Kintyre Eggs was established 11 years ago when Hannah and Will bought a dozen hens for their son, Fred, and began selling their eggs locally.
Fred’s eggs were so popular that the flock was expanded and today there are 4,000 free range hens, kept in small flocks at the farm.
However, despite the growth of the operation, they still sometimes struggle to meet demand, with eggs now being delivered to shops and eating establishments right up the west coast to Oban and to islands including Islay, Jura and Mull. They are also sent to Inveraray, Loch Fyne, Lomond, Balloch and Helensburgh, across to Edinburgh and Penicuik, and to Crieff, Comrie, Crianlarich and Tyndrum.
Demand is even harder to meet during winter months when hens often lay a reduced number of eggs as daylight hours decrease.
‘While our hens do continue to lay over winter, they naturally lay less eggs during the darker months and we use this time to deep clean and improve their houses, to keep the hens happy and healthy,’ Hannah said.
In the past, the Kintyre Eggs team simply reduced the availability of their eggs, particularly to larger wholesale customers, during this time.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic changed this.
Hannah explained: ‘During lockdown, we stopped supplying eggs to one of our main buyers in Edinburgh, who could buy eggs elsewhere, so we could deliver more eggs to local shops. Local businesses were doing an amazing job supporting our communities, so we did our best to keep eggs on their shelves.’
To ensure these shops remain supplied with enough quality eggs now and throughout the winter, the couple are launching a new egg box, branded Deliciously Scottish Eggs.
Deliciously Scottish Eggs are gathered from free range, Scottish family farms like High Bellochantuy and are individually hand-packed on Kintyre. Hannah met the producers at the Scottish Quality Egg Awards where the family’s own eggs have been awarded the top award of ‘outstanding’, and she has visited other free range farms.
She said: ‘Through our involvement with the egg business we’ve discovered some fantastic family farms, with happy hens, laying great eggs. With the help of AM Transport, we’ll be bringing their eggs to Kintyre, to top up the shelves when we don’t have quite enough of our own Kintyre Eggs.’
The distinctive purple and blue label features Hannah and Will’s youngest son, Charlie.
‘Charlie is really happy,’ Hannah said. ‘He missed out on the Kintyre Egg boxes, with his brothers Dougal and Fred and his sister Henny all featuring, so he’s been waiting to get a box of his own!’
Deliciously Scottish Eggs will be available in local shops from today (Friday).