A POULTRY farmer whose trade with eateries and schools has been cut off by the lockdown is appealing to the public to buy his eggs amid fears he may have to cull some of his 13,000-strong flock.
Ben Jackson, who runs Fluffetts Farm, near Fordingbridge, saw his sales fall off a cliff after the pandemic led to the closure of restaurants and hotels followed by that of schools.
He told the A&T: “It has been very difficult for us. Normally we would have had huge demand during the run-up to Christmas and after from the hospitality trade, including the Pig hotels and Limewood, but none of that happened.
“We were hoping that the school trade would be enough to keep us going but then they got closed down. It was a huge blow. We literally had a van full of eggs ready to go to schools when the news came through.”
In desperation, Ben’s wife Vey turned to social media explaining the farm’s problem and asking it anyone would be willing to buy trays of 60 eggs.
Ben said: “The response was absolutely amazing. Word spread and we had orders coming in from people all over, along with calls from stores offering to stock our eggs.
“We are so hugely grateful. Our fear was that if we could not sell our eggs, how were we going to keep our flocks going?
“We have around 13,000 free-range chickens laying about 12,000 eggs a day. If you are not selling their eggs one of your only options is to reduce your flock.
“It was something we certainly did not want to do, but we know there are bigger egg producers than us who have been forced to do that.”
He is now appealing for more people to buy the medium-sized eggs Fluffetts hens produce because they last longer than the large ones sold in supermarkets.
He said: “The only difference between a large egg and a medium egg is that the large one has a bigger white, there is no difference in the size of the yolk.
“A medium egg weighs only about two to three grams less than a large one but the shell is not so porous, so it lasts longer.
“I’d really appeal to people to support their independent egg producers by buying medium eggs from them. It will really help keep their business going.”