New Sussex brand tackling the waste of small eggs
PUBLISHED: 10:37 08 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:37 08 October 2015
Every day in the UK more than 1.5 million small eggs are thrown away. Susie Macmillan has launched a brand aiming to tackle this waste from her farm in Ditchling, with the support of TV foodies Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty
Organic egg producer Susie Macmillan from Mac’s Farm in Ditchling, East Sussex, has launched her own brand of Mini-Mac’s pullet eggs following the successful Channel 4 Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast programme, featuring Jamie Oliver and fellow presenter Jimmy Doherty.
Jamie is now sinking his teeth into the scandal of the millions of small eggs discarded every year because of our fussy eating habits. The “mini-eggs” come from young birds, or pullets, who start their laying careers by producing eggs a third smaller than those most shoppers buy in supermarkets.
“From 16 weeks old, young pullet hens start to lay eggs but they’re much smaller for the first month,” says Jamie Oliver. “They may be little but farmers say they’re the tastiest you can get. The great British public are missing out on a premium, seasonal product and, even worse, farmers’ livelihoods are on the line. We want to kick start a mini-egg revolution. The supermarkets may not want them, but I reckon farmers could find a market for their huge volume of pullet eggs by selling them to local restaurants and pubs.”
Third-generation poultry farmers Danny and Susie Macmillan say they are losing around £60,000 a year because nobody eats little eggs from young hens.
“It’s unthinkable that every day in the UK more than 1.5 million small eggs are thrown on the scrapheap or sold for peanuts to be turned into liquid egg,” says Jimmy Doherty.
These little eggs are currently “all processed alongside battery eggs, which is such a shame and a criminal waste of a beautiful, tasty, high welfare organic product,” says Susie.
“We have a new flock approximately every 18 months, but because we have two different aged flocks on the farm they are available about twice every 18 months. If you include my brother’s local organic free range farms we have them available about six times a year but only for a couple of weeks at a time.”
Mac’s Farm featured heavily in the television programme, which called for pullet eggs to be sold direct to consumers rather than for processing. “I believe there is a potential retail market for pullet eggs, which have big yolks, less white and hold together well when cooked,” explains Susie. “Jamie and Jimmy’s visit has had a massive impact on highlighting these little eggs, so many people across the country have been in contact to try them and we have encouraged everyone to seek out their local family-run free range or organic farms and ask the farmer about them, as they all have these eggs at some point. Once people try them they love them because they are little eggs with big yolks.
“These are eggs at their very best, they may be small but they are super tasty and are perfect poached or fried as they sit like little round balls in the pan.”
Head chef of The Bull in Ditchling, Dion Scott, says the pub has been using eggs from Mac’s Farm for 10 years and loves the pullet eggs when they’re in season. “I was first introduced to these eggs when I joined The Bull as head chef in January and I have been using them ever since whenever they are available. I love that these eggs are from our local farm and their flavour is delicious,” explains Dion.
“Pullet eggs are seasonal, so we have them on our menu as much as possible subject to availability. However all of our eggs are supplied by Mac’s Farm all year round, and this has been the case for 10 years.
“We actively promote working with local suppliers as this has a real positive and supportive response from our customers. Our pullet egg dishes are always a great success, and I guess the empty plates tell their own story…”
Susie says the best way to eat these eggs is “poached every time, without a doubt! Use a frying pan and put about an inch of water in it, pop your eggs in and leave them to cook while you make your toast. Just before all the white is cooked, use the spoon to flick the hot water over the tops to cook the tops off. When Jamie was here filming I was asked to cook some of these eggs for him which was terrifying but they came out perfectly.”
Dumbrells Court Road, Ditchling, East Sussex BN6 8GT; 01273 845189; themacsfarm.co.uk
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