IT SEEMS keeping it small is the way to make it in big in the eyes of the country’s top foodies and that’s the path Ben Way of Springfield Pastured Eggs has taken.
With just 3000 free-range chickens under his wing, Mr Way reckons he’ll stop at 5000.
“The welfare of our hens is our highest priority. Right now our hens spend about 85 per cent of their time outside and that’s important to us,” he said.
“We don’t want to get so big that we can’t manage our quality as closely.”
Mr Way, who farms at Springfield, Victoria, is among the clever group of producers who turn out the country’s tastiest produce. This month his eggs made the cut to feature in the annual ‘produce awards’ co-ordinated by popular food magazine Delicious.
Producers are nominated by chefs who use their products, and if invited, can then submit their produce to a blind tasting panel made up of Australia's top chefs and food experts.
Representing NSW on the list this month was 31 producers including Leeton’s Randall Organic Rice; Bathurst’s Crack Willow Farm Pork; Mudgee’s High Valley Cheese and Griffith’s Murray Cod Australia.
The state winners will have their produce judged again at the national finals this month.
For a small operation Springfield Pastured Eggs has made some big strides. Mr Way, who farms with the help of his wife Lena, only set-up his operation 18 months ago.
“I have a background in farming but not in the egg industry. I did a lot of reading, speaking, making contacts in industry. We began wholesaling then connected with a few restaurants. Now, we’ve got 12 customers.”
Mr Way was Riverina born and bred but migrated south to set up shop in the Victorian Macedon Ranges with his small family a few years ago.
His parent’s, Laurie and Helen, still run a mixed-farming enterprise at “Tourang” at Berrigan with his brother Adam and Adam’s wife Zoellen.
Laurie affectionately calls his son the "Bourke Street Cocky".