Put the Dr Seuss connections aside, the fact is there isn’t any, as Allan and Shelley have named their company Green Eggs after their family and their product. Mr and Mrs Green produce free-range eggs that are raised through environmentally, sustainable farming methods and the proof is in the shell.
When a chicken has a good life, it lays a good egg and the brown chooks on the Greens’ 1200 acres (430 Ha) are fed a high-protein wheat-based diet while they spend their days on the farm, wandering the grasses and taking shade under the trees.
‘A typical day for us is the chooks come out of their sheds at 7am and go about as they wish,’ explains Shelley Green, ‘they nest and eggs are gathered throughout the day. A chook’s natural instinct is to seek shelter as it gets dark, so that’s when they come in, at the end of the day.’
As blissful as this existence sounds it took a long time and a lot of work to get Green Eggs to where people queue for them at farmers markets. Green eggs started in 2000 after the Greens’ bought the neglected land in the 1980s with the intention of bringing it back to life and to create a livelihood for themselves.
The idea of growing grapes was considered for a time but it didn’t tempt the Greens. Shelley explains, ‘All along we wanted to produce something that people ate everyday, through good times and bad and we kept coming back to eggs.’ She goes on, ‘We started in 2000 with 2000 chooks but it wasn’t an instant success, we got the breeds wrong and we just had to learn as we went along.’ Both Alan and Shelley grew up on the land (although Shelley worked as a mid-wife before Green Eggs) and this experience gave them the know-how to keep meticulous records of the different breeds and to understand why the chickens weren’t going as planned.
‘We get our strength from the land and we weren’t going to give up, we just had to teach ourselves how to get it right,’ Shelley tells, ‘like so many things in life, you always gain more from your own experience and we did.’
The next step was to get more of the right chickens (breed: Hisex) and the Greens attracted government funding by installing an ecoshelter, which is now commonly used around the country for other animals on the land as well as chickens.
The Greens now have approximately 20 000 chickens laying 20 000 eggs a day and by the end of every week the eggs are delivered to Melbourne and surrounds, guaranteeing a fresh product.
Setting the goal to produce something people eat everyday has worked for the Green’s but it has also brought other skills. ‘Being able to manage an environmentally and financially sustainable business is something I couldn’t do before,’ says Shelley, ‘I used to deliver babies, now I deliver eggs.’
Pine-Ridge Great Western
R.M.B. 1142 Ararat
Ph: 5356 2221