Egg prices are soaring in stores, but you can buy them at these Central Mass. farms
When local farmers noticed an uptick in egg carton sales in the latter part of 2022, there was no doubt what the answer to the age-old question was.
What came first was the avian flu, and then the price hike in stores.
Egg carton prices shot through the roof starting in spring 2022, sporting a 267% increase by December when the price for a dozen eggs was at $4.25 — a significant increase from the $1.93 price tag in January 2022.
As of Jan. 25, the price for a dozen held steady between $3.30 to $3.34 in the Northeast.
While prices are higher, availability is not a problem.
In turn, local farms have noticed increased interest in their eggs, and some have said the cartons are flying off farm stand shelves.
In some cases, buyers figure if they're going to pay more, they might as well get fresh eggs at their local stand.
Homestead Apiary, Charlton
Ginger Kelly, the owner of Kelly Homestead Apiary in Charlton, said that she has been selling out every weekend.
For Kelly's flock of 50 chickens, that’s an average of 14 to 20 dozen eggs per week.
Anyone driving by her farmstand will see cartons going for as much as $8.
Little Bit Farm and Apiary, Leicester
Dianna Provencher, who owns a 30-chicken farm in Leicester, the Little Bit Farm and Apiary, echoed Kelly on strong sales, adding that grain prices have also contributed to the price hike.
“(Because of) the bird flu that happened last spring a lot of the poultry had to be put down, and without a lot of poultry that has an effect on the egg,” said Provencher.
Woodland Gardens Farm, Princeton
Dianna Markley, the owner of Woodland Gardens Farm in Princeton, which sells mostly duck eggs, said she’s seeing the same pattern, going through three dozen per week.
“More people are calling me, and even some local stores,” said Markley.
Bob Beauregard, manager at The Country Hen in Hubbardston, a massive organic egg operation with about 107,000 chickens, says the choice comes down to quality. The business sells to markets.
“The shelves are pretty bare,” Beauregard said of the retail end of the egg business. “Either you're going to go in, you're going to find (eggs) or you're not, and that's including our product as well because they sell out pretty quick.
“There's nothing there and people kind of almost forced into buying a better-quality egg.”
For those looking to cross the street for farm fresh eggs in the county, the following locations offer an option on their farm stands.
154 Houghton Road, Princeton
The stand is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kelly Homestead Apiary
167 Carpenter Hill Road, Charlton
The farm is open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Lilac Hedge Farm
216 Wachusett St., Rutland
The farm is open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Little Bit Farm and Apiary
26 Charles St., Leicester
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
Drive up to the farmstead and either knock on the front door or honk the horn, said Provencher.
Woodland Gardens Farm
32 Brooks Station Road, Princeton
For those curious about duck or goose eggs, that’s the farm’s biggest output. Cartons are kept in a farm stand at the corner of Brooks Station Road and the path that leads to the farm.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Local farms see egg cartons flying off stands amid avian flu aftermath