We eat a lot of eggs at LEON. They’re the highlight of our morning; the star ingredient in our poached egg pots and muffins. Based on your feedback, it sounds like they’re your favourites too.
And because we get through so many eggs, it’s important that they’re free-range, organic, locally sourced and RSPCA Assured.
Ours come from a family-run business based in the Lake District, the heart of Cumbria. Rather than have one massive egg farm, The Lakes works with a number of small producer farms who each have small flocks of around 12,000 birds. These small, local farms are deliberately chosen because of their high welfare standards and for being close to the packing facilities, reducing the miles that eggs have to travel. Most are within 30 miles of the egg packing centre.
We like small flocks because these mean the pullets – that’s what they call egg-laying hens – have more room to move around. The Lakes Free Range Egg Company was the first to introduce Bio-diversity Action Plans, and today they’re still the only company that requires its farmer producers to have one in place.
These action plans focus a lot on tree planting, and now each of these small farms have an average of 3000 trees and shrubs to provide cover for their flocks. Planting more trees encourages laying hens to roam more freely. Having room to roam around reduces stress levels in hens (and in humans too, it’s worth noting), and this reduces the amount of feather pecking. And the cover provided by trees and shrubs means our free-range hens get to fly and perch, and hang out under the canopy.
Ensuring high animal welfare isn’t our only objective though. We also want to make sure the egg industry is thriving and balanced, and isn’t creating unnecessary waste. That’s why we only buy large eggs. Large eggs are in abundance in the egg market because the food industry and supermarkets typically prefer medium. We do this because it gives home to a surplus product and, importantly, means more egg for you.