Farmer Unable to Sell Eggs Faced With Euthanizing Flock of 80,000 Hens–Until Local Woman Steps I

BY LOUISE BEVAN

After running out of freezer space in mid-April, a Pennsylvania egg farmer was faced with an impossible choice: find a brand-new market for his eggs in the midst of the COVID pandemic or face euthanizing his flock of 80,000 hens.

Disaster seemed to be a foregone conclusion until help arrived from a local woman with expert social media skills.

Egg farmer Josh Zimmerman, from Hamburg in Berks County, Pennsylvania, owns a 140-acre family-run farm. Zimmerman collects an average of 60,000 eggs from his cage-free hen houses every single day.

Zimmerman, 37, was using a bulk-egg processor to liquify eggs for use on cruise ships, school cafeterias, hospitals, and hotels, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. But when supply chains dried up in the wake of the pandemic and he ran out of freezer space, the egg farmer had no choice but to turn off his processor.

However, Timi Bauscher, 38, who runs the Nesting Box Farm Market and Creamery in nearby Kempton, Pennsylvania, caught word of Zimmerman’s plight and offered a hand: to sell some of Zimmerman’s eggs at her roadside market for a discounted $2 a dozen. The egg farmer accepted, grateful though skeptical.

Bauscher, however, had a tool in her arsenal: Facebook.

She and her husband, Keith, posted a call to arms on social media, proposing a “drive-by” sale on April 27 in an effort to alleviate the strain on Zimmerman’s overabundance of eggs. “It went viral within 30 seconds and reached a half-million people,” said Bauscher.

“There’s a lot of good people out there once they hear about terrible things happening,” Zimmerman observed, speaking to The Morning Call.

On the day of the first egg sale, customers arrived in their hundreds and remained in their cars in order to facilitate safe contact-free transactions.

The Bauschers took to Facebook at close to reflect upon the day’s success, posting, “Taking into consideration that we pulled together as a community in only 4 days from meeting Mr. Zimmerman to conquering a feat like this, [it’s] nothing short of incredible!”

Zimmerman, shocked by the outcome of the social media drive, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Bauscher’s “got connections.”

“It’s her social media platform and she’s energetic,” he reflected. “She saw a need and she kicked the wheels into motion.”

Wishing to repeat and expand the egg-selling enterprise into a business partnership between Zimmerman and the Nesting Box Farm Market, Bauscher relocated the drive-by egg vendor to the 50-acre Kempton Community Center and enlisted the help of 30 volunteers. On May 3, the second egg sale commenced, and the day’s sales amassed an extraordinary $36,000 from selling some 18,000 dozen eggs, much of which was allocated for the upkeep of Zimmerman’s flock.

Thanks to the ingenuity of the Bauschers, and the support of the Berks County community, Zimmerman had side-stepped the devastating prospect of euthanizing much of his flock.

“You have to remember,” Bauscher reflected, “that if you’re not doing things in your life that give you goosebumps, you’re doing it wrong.”

Customer Pegene Pitcairn, who collected 360 dozen eggs for needy families and food pantries, described the drive-by as “a wonderful story of how humans come together to help people in our food chain.”

“Small farms need support,” added Cindie Penzes, who drove away having purchased 30 dozen eggs.

The pandemic has forced numerous U.S. eateries and hospitality businesses to close, decimating food supply chains though some respite will be provided by the Department of Agriculture. In a statement, the department pledged to purchase $100 million worth of dairy products per month for distribution to food banks and non-profits; however, for many farmers, additional sales outlets are increasingly imperative.

The Nesting Box Farm Market and Creamery’s own cage-free egg farm tends to 1,700 hens of its own. Having also taken the fate of Zimmerman’s 80,000-strong flock under its proverbial wings, as Bauscher told the Reading Eagle, “We may be small, but we are mighty.”

Zimmerman predicted that without the Bauschers’ help, he may have reached financial destitution by the end of September 2020. Now, his stock of frozen, liquefied eggs, the farmer predicted, should remain safe and saleable until November.

Republished with Permission The Epoch Times    SUBSCRIBE


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