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A Pennsylvania Egg Farmer Considered Killing Half His Flock Until A Woman On Facebook Devised A Plan To Save Them

COVID-19 has impacted our food supply in a variety of ways. Whether it’s bare grocery store shelves or farmers dumping milk, it seems to be an almost inevitable force. But one Pennsylvania farmer teamed up with a nearby woman and her farm to change that.

Egg Farmer

Liquefied Eggs–Supply and Demand

Josh Zimmerman is an egg farmer from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, who ran into trouble due to the novel coronavirus. His Wind Crest Farm has 80,000 hens, and his farm produced over 60,000 eggs per day. Zimmerman’s bulk-egg processor, a company that turned his supply into liquefied eggs, had run out of storage space. They told him that there was no market anymore. Usually, liquefied eggs go to places like schools, hospitals, hotels, and cruise ships–all places that are seeing markedly less traffic, and less need for food. About 30% of all eggs produced in the United States go to this market. Now, he was running out of options for what to do with the thousands of eggs his chickens were producing. (1, 2)

Nesting Box Farm Market and Creamery

Timi Bauscher runs the Nesting Box Farm Market and Creamery, as well as a 1,700 chicken farm, with her husband Keith. When she heard about Josh Zimmerman’s plight–and the potential fate of his chickens, she decided to step in. “We are going to try and prevent him from total loss and move his eggs via different avenues,” she says. She planned a contactless sale, drive-through only, offering the eggs for $2 per dozen–a steal of a deal. She posted about it on Facebook, announcing, “let’s do this, Nesting Box peeps!” Originally, they held it at the Nesting Box Farm Market, but after the first day, Monday, April 27th, 2020,  they knew they’d have to move it. Not because of any problem–far from it. In fact, there were lineups of people responding to Timi’s Facebook call. (1, 2)

Bulk Sale

Zimmerman had originally said that he thought Timi would “move a skid or two a week,” and hoped to save one barn–about half of those 80,000 chickens. But, after the success of the April sale, Bauscher and Zimmerman held a bulk sale at the Kempton Community Center–a space of 50 acres. On Sunday, May 3rd, 2020, thirty volunteers banded together to hold another contact-free, drive-through sale. Selling 18,000 dozen eggs, and generating $36,000, they were able to cover the costs–and keep the chickens alive. 

Pegene Pitcairn had seen the Facebook post and drove an hour to support Wind Crest Farm. “It really is a wonderful story of how humans come together to help people in our food chain,” she says. 

Quality Food

Another sale, on Sunday, May 10th, 2020, sold approximately ¾ of a tractor-trailer, according to Bauscher. She thinks they’ll sell around 22,000-25,00 per week from now on.

In an article about starting the Nesting Box, Bauscher had spoken about the importance of businesses like hers–and the one she would, in the future, enter into with Zimmerman.

“Locally bought food is the best way to support local farmers, promote health and food safety and keep quality food within a few miles of your homes.” (1, 3)

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