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As the price of eggs rises, so does the demand for local eggs.
“We’ve been really busy lately,” said Bob Stamp, owner of Stamp Egg Farm in Johnston.
As egg prices rose to an average of $4.25 in December, more people turned to local suppliers. Local prices are generally between the lowest and highest egg prices consumers will find on grocery store shelves. However, as any egg farmer will tell you, local eggs are of superior quality.
“There are many reasons to buy local,” said Adam Baffoni, of Baffoni Poultry in Johnston. “You keep more money in the local economy. You support the works … and the eggs are better. When you buy from us, we collect the eggs from the chickens a couple of hours earlier, so it will last in the refrigerator for two months, not two weeks.”
Why are eggs expensive?
The main reason for the increase in egg prices is bird flu, which began in February 2022 and killed more than 43 million egg-laying hens, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The deaths occurred in two waves, one from February to June and the other from September to December.
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The egg industry recovers slowly, depending on how long it takes to raise chickens for this type of loss.
“It takes 21 weeks to get an egg from a laying hen,” Baffoni said. “It’s going to take some time for big companies to recover from that loss.”
The shortage comes at a time when seasonal demand for eggs for holiday baking has increased, creating a supply-and-demand problem that has led to sticker shock at the grocery store.
By the end of December 2022, egg prices were 267% higher than in January 2022.
It is doubtful that large egg companies do not take advantage of consumers. US Senator Jack Reed is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether egg industry giants have engaged in price gouging, citing that local egg producers don’t have to adjust prices as much.
What is the average price of ten eggs?
The good news is that the overall price of eggs is starting to come down. According to the USDA’s Jan. 23 report, prices for large eggs are down 58 cents from last week, and a regular carton in the Northeast is now between $3.30 and $3.34.
Where to get local eggs in Rhode Island
For those looking to buy their eggs, here are a few places in the state.
333 Wapping Road, Portsmouth, RI
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 11am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm.
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The chickens at Aquidneck Farm are raised in a mobile outdoor coop, also known as a “chicken tractor,” which allows the birds to be constantly moved to a new location while protecting them from predators such as hawks. They currently sell eggs for $7 a dozen, which can be purchased at the farm stand or Aquidneck Growers Market.
Baffoni poultry farm
324 Greenville Ave, Johnston RI
Open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Founded in 1935, Baffoni’s sells 25,000 brown eggs laid by the Rhode Island Red Flock, which is also Rhode Island’s state bird. The birds are raised without cages and the eggs are collected twice a day so they are as fresh as possible. They are currently selling large dozen eggs for over $6.
816 Greenville Ave., Johnston RI
Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Wednesday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and Sunday 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
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Right now with a flock of 3,000 birds, fresh eggs are collected bright and early at Stump every morning. A family business since 1937, they do it the “old fashioned way” raising chickens on a vegetarian diet. They are now selling a dozen large eggs for $6.