Become a caring consumer Interview with Tony and Gwen Burgess

Gwen Burgess

Birchgrove Eggs is a small business owned and run by Tony and Gwen Burgess. They have 3,000 free range hens which roam their 30 acre farm in Aberystwyth, using both Bovan hybrids (the brown hens) and Amberlinks (the white ones). Tony and Gwen believe in giving their hens a taste of the good life - the land is pesticide and herbicide free, which is why there are plentiful wildlife and wild flowers; they are Freedom Food accredited, and have won several awards, amongst them the 'Poultry Farmer of the Year' in the Farmers Weekly Awards in 2006. The biggest feather in their cap, however, was being awarded the ‘True Taste of Wales’ which they won for Sustainable Farming Practices 2010 and 2011.

When the going got tough as feed prices soared and producer prices slumped, Tony and Gwen came up with an innovative way to keep profit margins up, without compromising the welfare of their flock. Eggs that don't reach the strict quality control measures imposed by the large retailers end up being classed as seconds and having little value - as low as 20p a dozen in Tony and Gwen's case. So they decided to use the seconds themselves and create a product that required eggs as a main ingredient. Tony takes up the story: "After considerable market research and much trialling of recipes, we eventually came up with what has proved to be a winning formula: Birchgrove mayonnaise. Currently we sell only to the catering sector, and it's proven to be a resounding success with the last batch of mayonnaise amounting to three tonnes! We hope to come up with some other ideas and may even consider expanding into the retail sector - you could see Birchgrove mayonnaise on supermarket shelves yet!"

Tony and Gwen are such a good example, again, of how we can produce some of the very best food in this country with innovation, but without compromise. We wish them well for the future.

Read about more of our British free range farmers who are 'Flying the British Egg Flag'.

We are always interested to promote good examples of free range farming, if you would like to nominate a local farmer for our British egg flag, let us know at info@bhwt.org.uk, titling your email Flying the British Egg Flag and we’ll check them out and let readers know.

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