VegNews 25th July

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The handsome Rhode Island Red, which lays the brown eggs in FAI boxes. The white eggs are laid by Leghorn (Livorno) chickens.
The handsome Rhode Island Red, which lays the brown eggs in FAI boxes. The white eggs are laid by Leghorn (Livorno) chickens.

Welcome to VegNews, the weekly veg bulletin from Cultivate, bringing you the latest news from the Cultivate farm and from our other local suppliers. Our focus this week will stray from vegetables to egg production.

You may notice the price of eggs has now risen on the VegVan for the first time since Cultivate began trading, so we wanted to give some background as to why this has happened along with a note on egg production in general.

We source our eggs from the Oxford University FAI (Food Animal Initiative) farm in Wytham. This is an organic livestock farm designed to develop and demonstrate farming systems that are beneficial to animal welfare, the environment and human health, as well as practical and commercially viable for farmers.

Compared to free-range chickens, organic poultry can be fed only organic feed, whilst being allowed to roam freely and being kept in smaller flocks. For a very useful summary and evaluation of the differences, see the link to the Soil Association study below.

FAI have had to increase their wholesale prices due to the increased price of fuel. This has a knock-on effect on the price of feed production and on the cost of rearing young chicks that need to be kept in warm houses whilst they are feathering. These houses, fuelled by gas, are a vital phase of their development as they need to have a good covering of feathers before they can go outdoors to roam.

We hope this helps you to understand the need to increase our prices, as well as giving an insight into the fascinating work and research that takes place at the FAI farm in Wytham.

Our new egg price will be £1.99 for a half dozen. As a quick price comparison:

Asda and Tesco sell organic eggs for £2 per half dozen
Morrisons sell at £2.04

LINKS:
FAI- get in touch to arrange a visit: http://www.faifarms.com/
Soil Assoc. study: http://bit.ly/12jQwUC
Poultry of the World poster: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Poultry_of_the_world.jpg

For more information and with any recipes, veg tips and questions, please contact:
info@cultivateoxford.org or visit our web page www.cultivateoxford.org

Please be aware that we cannot guarantee any product mentioned in VegNews will always be in stock on the VegVan.