Growing up on a farm in Cork we didn’t have hens ,now I often wonder why but I guess Mum was busy rearing her children and helping dad on the farm and they hens probably seemed like too much work to her. Although we didn’t have hens Mum would never buy eggs from a shop or supermarket, instead we made regular visits to a lady a few miles away whose name we, as children, never knew but whom we always referred to as Mrs Egg.
Mrs Egg seemed elderly to us from the first time I remember going there, and during the 18 yrs or so of going to Mrs Eggs to get out weekly supply of eggs she never seemed to age.
Mum always instilled in us, the flavour, colour and taste difference between these eggs, which came from hens which pottered freely outside and had a natural free range diet, and the pale almost tasteless eggs that most supermarkets sell.
So after a few years in the wilderness of living in towns and cities and having to make do with the so called ‘organic’ eggs available in shops which were never a patch on the glorious eggs that Mrs Egg supplied one of the first things that we did when we built our own home was to get some hens.
We now have a great variety of different hens which lay the most amazing eggs, which vary in size colour and shape. Looking at the difference in the shell colour alone is fascinating.
Last year I arrived home from work one day and there was a box at the gate with a picture of some eggs on the side of it, Paul and the girls had set it up to sell eggs at the gate and there was an honesty box for people to leave money for them. This has been a revelation because not only has everyone who has bought eggs left money for them but often they have left more money that is necessary. The eggs are hugely popular with our neighbours and they are always disappointed when the hens slow down or stop laying during the winter months.
Our hens are back laying in greater numbers this week and today we put 2 doz eggs down at the gate for the first time in months and within a few hours they were all gone.
We wont retire on the returns but at least the hens are now paying for themselves and in a way we have become the neighbours version of ‘ Mrs Egg’!!