By Jessica Micallef
What is your connection to the Macedon Ranges?
The Macedon Ranges is my home. I have lived my whole life here. It’s where I started Madelaine’s Eggs and where I still run the business on our family farm. I also have a farm gate stall run on an honesty system for the local Sunbury and Macedon Ranges community to buy eggs from.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about sustainable agriculture, growing a vegie garden and now as I am a mother of two, I am concerned and passionate about fixing our environment for our kids.
How did your business Madelaine’s Eggs come about?
Madelaine’s Eggs started when I was eight years-old as a homeschool project. My parents … loaned me just a few dollars for some hens so I could learn responsibility caring for them, maths from selling the eggs, literacy and communication. Before no time I had paid my parents back and had an organic egg business in my little hands. Besides that initial investment I haven’t taken a loan or got into debt for my business, but have used other methods of raising funds such as crowdfunding.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
The best part is being in control of every stage of the production. So I know with complete certainty it is chemical and cruelty free. I know that it regenerates the soil and that my chickens are happy and healthy and I even know some of the families who eat my eggs.
What do you pride your business on?
I like being 100 per cent transparent and being as organic as you can get. I’m proud of my eggs, they taste amazing and that is not just me saying this. I have many chefs who say my eggs are the best they have ever used.
What are the challenges that you come across?
My biggest challenge at the moment is the deceptive marketing by other egg farms who use the word organic but who are not certified, or are only certified for hay. Consumers who are educated know to look for the NASAA or ACO logo on the packaging itself but most consumers don’t understand this and are lured in by the lower prices not realising they are barely better than normal generic free range eggs. Being certified organic for poultry, my birds are raised on certified organic feed and pasture from day one and I’m highly accountable to an independent external authority. I’m audited annually and have to provide full documentation for everything.
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
I was allergic to eggs until I was about 16 years-old, but now I’m totally fine. I eat three eggs a day.