Of course, it wasn’t without some drama. When a suburban-raised 40-year-old, best built for the rigors of a cubical habitat, decides that the answer to his second layoff in as many years is to open a commercial-scale, pasture-raised egg venture, well – that’s a performance in the making.
And we did not disappoint.
We’ve had hundreds of rushing hens escape the fence on a poultry tsunami – then chased them down with fishing nets. There’s been -35 days and frozen waterlines during a winter that would. Not. End. We’ve gotten the Kabota stuck, the tractor stuck and the feed truck stuck. And no shortage of predators and ugly bird-on-bird violence.
Feeling cocky? Open a pasture-raised egg operation. It will put you in place fast.
A year into it, Farmer Jason and I are changed forever. I know I can’t walk by a coffee cart without being awed by how much went into creating that little enterprise
I’ve also witnessed this real perseverance in Jason – be that on the phone trying to source non-GMO corn, cold calling retailers or going out night after night to teach commercial birds how to roost
We’ve also felt incredibly alive – and it’s not just the fear. Those lows make the good days awesome in the truest sense of the word. Like when Duluth Grill, Whole Foods Co-op, and SuperOne took on our eggs, or we realized we planted over 700 trees our first year. There’s also something keenly satisfying about creating real food for real people, many whom we know in person. Others who’ve kindly reached out.
We got a tweet from someone who tidied up Lola’s store display while buying our eggs. He faced out the cartons like one would a favorite volume at the bookstore. People don’t spontaneously gussy up the 99-cent eggs at the gas station. Honestly, we were touched. Because this wasn’t about a cute package, this was about values. We feel like we are riding a groundswell of support for real food, started by many, many before us. It’s not only an honor, it helps.
Helps us get up in the morning.
When we had that spate of snow days in May, getting social media “atta boys” kept Jason schlepping water and feed by hand. Having traditional media outlets do stories and then tell us how much their audience cared just blew us away. Of course, winning that Labo Award was a kick in the pants, too.
So, after this first year, we know we’re on the right path. We also know we’d like to trip less in our second year. We’re aiming for “jackass-light” rather than the full frontal jackass we’ve been so often this past year –but all in all, we’re celebrating.
Happy birthday, Lola. You’re still standing, you tough bird. And thanks for your part, be it “liking” a post, buying a sassy shirt, getting your hospital to be our very first commercial customer (We’re looking at you Lee Ann) or – the big one- putting a carton of Lola eggs in your cart week after week.
That you pay more to make these real eggs part of your Sunday Brunch is an honor we don’t take it lightly. It may be our birthday, but really, we’re lifting a glass to you. Cheers!