The Easter season is upon us, and regardless of whether or not you celebrate, eggs and bunnies have a way of infiltrating all the things. Also, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups actually taste better when they’re shaped like eggs. I’d argue it’s been empirically proven, but I simply don’t have the data to back that up. Seriously though, is there a better time of year to talk about eggs? It’s just the happiest of coincidences that today I get to tell you all about Lucie B Amundsen’s memoir about her family’s adventures in starting a pasture-raised egg farm. *I received a complimentary copy of Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm – from Scratch from the publisher for review consideration. It didn’t take long for me to accept after reading the title. I love a good double entendre.*
One evening over dinner in a Mexican restaurant, Lucie Amundsen’s husband Jason casually drops the bomb that he’d like to leave Corporate America behind and become an egg farmer. A locally sourced, pasture raised, foray into agriculture. Her reaction is essentially what mine would be: shock, hysterical crying, and the desperate hope that she was being punked.
As it turns out, Locally Laid was no joke. Hilariously cheeky brand name aside, the process of acquiring a few thousand laying hens was no easy feat. And since the hens they did acquire had been raised in an industrial manner, Jason and Lucie not only had to learn how to farm, but also learn how to teach chickens act like chickens. With antique machinery and a heck of a lot of gumption, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. There’s a steep learning curve when it comes to farming as you may well imagine, but chicken farming in Duluth, Minnesota? WINTER IS COMING. The story is funny, smart, informative, devastating, and heartwarming. Plus it’s got a whole lot of chickens named LoLa.
I learned so much about agriculture in the US as a result of reading this book, which, frankly, is not a not a thing I’d have expected to find interesting. (I also learned a lot about chicken butts which is a thing I WOULD HAVE expected to find interesting. I’m just mentioning it because chicken butts.) I’m not a foodie, okay? I don’t get excited about artisanal cheeses or organic kale. I’m sure they’re awesome, but I was under the impression that local food was the exclusive domain of the foodie class. One of the things I loved so much about Amundsen’s book (aside from her killer sense of humor, because I would not turn down a beer with this lady) was that she made the whole concept of locally produced food seem accessible. She did a really great job of advocating for small and middle ag without making me feel like a complete jerk for my earlier willful ignorance. Does this mean I’m going to start getting up early and frequenting farmer’s markets? Probably not. BUT I plan to pay a little more attention in the grocery store. And maybe try my hand at a vegetable garden this spring. That’s a pretty awesome result for a plucky little book about chickens, no?
You want to read this now, don’t you? Today is your lucky day because the folks at Avery have provided a giveaway copy of Locally Laid for you! (And by “the folks at Avery” I mean Farin. Thanks for hooking us up, girl!)
*If you make a purchase through a link on this site I may receive a commission. It depends on the link. But full disclosure and all that.*