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Ben's happy eggs rule the roost
A LOWER Peover farmer’s prize-winning happy eggs have seen him crowned the country’s producer of the year.
Ben Wharfe, of Sapling Home Farm, collected the top award for producers with less than five years experience at the British Free Range Egg Producer Association Awards.
A qualified chartered surveyor, Ben grew up on a farm in Plumley but has only returned to rule the free range egg roost after a five-year spell in the army.
“I wanted to come back to continue the family farm, but had to find a way to make it more sustainable,” said the 34-year-old.
“I looked into various different options on where we wanted to take the business and free range eggs looked the best bet.
“It’s been a fairly steep learning curve, but very enjoyable. Massively volatile weather has had a big impact on food prices and has been challenging, but we have grown and adapted the business.”
Ben sells 95 per cent of the farm’s eggs to the happy egg co, who nominated him for the award, with the other five per cent going to local pubs and restaurants.
“The remaining eggs get sold to good pubs and restaurants in the Plumley, Knutsford, Lach Dennis area, who make food from scratch for their customers,” he added.
“The happy egg co nominated us and obviously we were really pleased, we had our first flock in 2011 and this was our second.
“We’ve had really nice comments from a lot of people and loads of support from people who came to the open farm Sunday in June.
“It’s a national event where farms open their gates to the public and we had about 110 to 120 people, we show them what we are doing and how free range eggs are produced.”
Ben’s mum and dad are still involved around the farm, but it is children Lydia, four, James, two, and Harrison, four months, who enjoy helping the most.
“They like running around with the hens and they think it’s funny,” he explained. “They call each one Mrs Hen - every egg James picks up he drops, he’s not the best egg collector yet!”
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