The Farming Column with Sam Walton

Watching the eggs being packed proved to be a real eye-opener.
Watching the eggs being packed proved to be a real eye-opener.

I wonder how many people ever think about where their food comes from? It is so convenient to pop into a shop and usually everything you need is there on display.

So that means we take everything for granted, as it is sure to be there.

I hope that will be able continue in the future but life on a farm these days is vastly different from how it was in my youth.

There was a lot of hand labour and very little quality control of what we produced, however pride in what we did ensured that we all did our best to produce the best quality, often under difficult conditions.

Egg production today is enormous and I guess back in the 1950s it was still seen as a back yard industry where a few hens on most farms would scratch about in the farm yard or nearest paddock and any eggs either sold at the door or taken to the local shop. What a massive change we have seen.

A recent trip to look round an egg packing station was a real eye-opener and it was right here in East Yorkshire at Bewholme.

The family have four large free range sheds for layers and they also have 25 other fully certified producers supplying them weekly with a massive number of eggs which means 32 staff are employed to sort and grade them.

A sample of eggs from each batch is candled, to see that everything is OK inside the egg, the sample is also weighed for grading and a sample is also broken open onto a flat metal plate and the distance is measured between the top of the opened egg to the measuring device and that height is also used in helping to decide the quality.

The engineers who have developed the machines to carefully handle, pack and grade eggs must be mechanical geniuses.

Eggs are given a 28 day life from the date of laying so you can buy your eggs these days with confidence.