Way to crack the retail market

Young farmers Ben and Lena Way, pictured with Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas (centre), are excited to see their product enter stores and served at local eateries such as Verdure Bistro.

Young farmers Ben and Lena Way, pictured with Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas (centre), are excited to see their product enter stores and served at local eateries such as Verdure Bistro.

Victorian Young Farmers Scholarship recipient Ben Way recently cracked the local retail market with his new brand of free range produce: Springfield Pastured Eggs.

The new Springfield farmer is delighting in seeing his local and ethical product into stores across the Macedon Ranges as well as restaurants and eateries.

"It is important to me that more local consumers have the choice to purchase eggs that come from a low stocking density farm where birds are genuinely free range, and have access to pasture all year 'round," Ben said.

"People are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and how it's produced. Selling in a retail form helps us reach more consumers who want a local, ethical and natural product."

There to witness Ben receive his government scholarship in January, Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas has taken a keen interest in Ben's journey and visited the 120 acre property on Friday.

"Ben is a passionate and driven young farmer who cares equally about consumer satisfaction and the welfare of his hens," Ms Thomas said.

Ben may have only been egg farming for the past 18 months but he is sure about one thing: ethical practices and quality produce.

What consumers may perceive as free range is often different in reality. Industry 'free range' standard is 10,000 birds per hectare but Ben says Springfield Pastured Eggs stock at 500 birds per hectare and plan to continue on this path.

"We will never go above 750 birds per hectare. This is evidenced in bird welfare and egg taste, and some consumers say there's no comparison," he said.

"We've branded our eggs as 'pastured eggs' to help consumers understand the point of difference."

The niche business is one of few sprinkled around the state but fast becoming popular.

Springfield Pastured Eggs retail dozens are now available for purchase at Romsey IGA, Romsey Fruit Shop, The Newham General Store, Riddells Creek Foodworks, Morgans IGA Gisborne and, soon, many others.

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