The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - FOOD&WINE -

Early light, there’s gen­tle brood­ing. Gi­ant shed doors clang open, sun streams in and it’s full-vol­ume cack­ling as 40,000 chick­ens wad­dle into the day. John, Ange and their three young adult chil­dren never tire of the sight as their Ro­hde’s Eggs’ chooks roam at a free and easy 1500 to a hectare. In smaller digs nearby, the Ro­hde crew sorts about 15,000 eggs a week. John hopes a re­cent rise in lo­cal-egg-love will en­dure, pre­fer­ring to at­tribute it to a shift to the good­ness of our own freerange prod­uct, rather than pres­sure from bird-flu-re­lated short­ages in­ter­state. “Many peo­ple don’t re­alise more than half of the eggs sold here come from in­ter­state,” laments the Clare Val­ley farmer. He em­pathises with con­sumer con­fu­sion, say­ing some producers keep “ar­ti­fi­cial free-range” birds at a tight 10,000/ha. As co-chair of the new South Aus­tralian Egg Farm As­so­ci­a­tion he aims to de­liver more clar­ity on that. DIANNE MATTS­SON

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