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The Sustainable Table: Local Egg Farms

 

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COBURG, Ore. — It’s feeding time at Brigg’s Egg Farm in Coburg. The farm has been in co-owner Elizabeth Lehman’s family for generations.

“They did all this when my mom was a little girl,” Elizabeth said.

A slowdown in business led her grandparents to convert the chicken coop into a cattle shed.

“That’s what I remember as a little girl, going in there and seeing the cows,” Elizabeth said.

The chickens didn’t move back in until just recently.

“We started this about three years ago,” Elizabeth said.

Wanting to go back to her roots, Lehman and her husband decided to take on the challenge, beginning with 10 chickens.

“We just started adding more–20, 30, 40, 50. Now we have 250 chickens,” Elizabeth said.

Those 250 chickens are joined by 25 ducks, a turkey and six geese. But a handful of faces stick out of the crowd–way out of it. The farm also includes six emus.

“They’re mainly an outside bird, except for the two I hand-raised. They’re big babies when it comes to cold weather; they’ll go in the barn or at least try to go in the barn,” Elizabeth said.

Just like all the other birds here, they lay eggs too. But the emu egg just stands out.

“They’re almost the size of an ostrich egg. Just a little bit smaller,” Elizabeth said. “Emu eggs are usually turned into custards.”

You can also turn them into works of art.

“The emu eggs are $25 because they’re so big and they’re mainly used by people who like to craft,” Elizabeth said.

The rest of the eggs–chicken, goose, duck and turkey–aren’t that far off what’d you’d pay in your neighborhood grocery store. But right now, Lehman’s customer list is pretty short.

“I sell to local people. I sell to the little Coburg produce market that just opened up about six months ago. I sell my eggs over there as well. Just people from the community,” Elizabeth said.

That’s about as local as you can get.

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