Demand for local eggs rise as store supplies are stretched

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (WyomingNewsNow) - With the coronavirus stretching the stock of some items like eggs in grocery stores, Wyoming residents are beginning to discover what local farmers – specifically urban and hobby farmers – have to offer. Recently, Wyoming News Now reported that wholesale prices for eggs were skyrocketing amidst high demand, and retailers were reporting that to meet demand, they were using up the supply they would normally be building up for Easter.

That high demand has the shelves that normally hold eggs in grocery stores often bare. The stretched supply has people turning to other sources, like local urban and hobby farmers like Amy Bare and her husband. Amy and her husband Tony run a private physical therapy practice in Laramie, but also own a hobby farm. They raise goats, ducks, geese, turkeys, and, of course, chickens. As long as they’ve had the birds, they have sold the eggs.

“If you have birds, you have eggs,” Amy told Wyoming News Now, adding that mating season happens once a year, but most of the birds lay eggs year-round.

Amy and Tony began the venture as a way to sustain their own family, putting food on the table, and selling the excess eggs and goat milk to balance out the cost of raising the animals. Since the beginning of the pandemic, however, they have seen a big uptick in demand,

“We don’t have enough,” Amy said, “We could double what we have and still not have enough. We have probably 12 dozen eggs a week to sell in addition to what we have for our family, and they're gone immediately.”

In addition to chicken eggs, the Bares have also sold eggs from their geese, turkeys and ducks. Before the pandemic, the eggs were a novelty. Now they sell nearly as fast as the chicken eggs.

Amy says the goose eggs are much bigger, with more than 300 calories per egg, and says that duck eggs, meanwhile, are good for baking at high altitude.

The Bares aren’t alone. We spoke with several farmers in the area, from the Bares in Laramie to others in Cheyenne and Burns. The farmers we spoke to told Wyoming News Now they too just sold the eggs as a hobby, but that they have not been able to keep up with demand.

Amy is pleased to sell her eggs, since she believes the eggs are better quality and even taste better.

“It makes me happy, because I feel like the quality of food we have is better anyway.” Amy said with a laugh, “It's always going to be better than what you get at the grocery store."

If you’re interested in discovering our viewing area’s local eggs, there are a few ways to find them. You can look at a virtual farmers market like the one Julian Seawright reported on recently. You can also search your local Facebook Marketplace.