David and Helen Brass from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company have recently launched ‘Natures Nest’ - a new brand of ethically produced free range eggs that fits entirely with the ethos of their business.
Dave Brass with a box of Natures Nest Eggs
The first retailer to introduce Natures Nest eggs is the Morrison’s Supermarket chain who are stocking them in over 150 stores from Cumbria to Cambridgeshire in the south.
David and Helen Brass have been producing free range eggs for 20 years and from day one their vision of producing free range eggs to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards has been at the heart of the operation.
“When you care about your environment, animal welfare and the farmers who support you, producing ethical eggs comes naturally.”
They decided to create their own brand because ‘Natures Nest’ is an all encompassing ethical proposition in one egg box. David summed up their decision to launch by saying “We strongly believe in the welfare of our hens, our woodland and our wildlife and we work hard to reduce the impact on our environment. That’s why we only work with farmers who have bio diversity action plans to improve their woodland habitat, wildlife habitat, flora and fauna.
Decreasing the company’s effect on the environment is a constant challenge and one the team focus on at all times. ‘Natures Nest’ egg producers live within a 20 mile radius of the packing plant so the carbon footprint is very low. We use egg boxes that are made from 100% recycled cardboard and also recycle our waste which can provide us with all the hot water we need!
Helen said “We have four young daughters (two sets of twins) who’ve grown up collecting eggs, planting trees and with a constant awareness of their environment. They’re very excited that we have created something tangible that demonstrates what we have been doing for years – and they love the fact that we included a Red Squirrel on the egg boxes. Elizabeth and Rachel are 12 and they helped find out about regional endangered species and links for our website www.naturesnesteggs.co.uk . Our 7 year old twins Emily and Jane wrote a story about a day in the life of Harriet the Hen – they wanted people who don’t know us to see just what a wonderful life our hens live.”
David said “we wanted to create our own brand because we have built such great provenance in the last two decades in terms of developing the habitat for our hens and caring for woodlands and wildlife; we are also the largest specialist free range egg producers in the country so can cope with the volume we anticipate needing. Retailers like Morrison’s are looking for products that have the ethical provenance for animal welfare and environmental care – their customers are demanding it and Natures Nest fits the criteria very well.”
A penny per dozen will directly be allocated to supporting woodland wildlife. In Cumbria, some of the money received from selling Natures Nest Eggs will go towards providing Red Squirrel boxes on farms and in local woodland and nature reserves. Support will also be given to local Trusts to help with the protection of other endangered species like the Dormouse, Water Vole and Ospreys.
What makes Natures Nest unique is the fact that help will be given on a regional basis depending on what is endangered in the area – and it isn’t just about providing financial support. As well as the environmental enrichment on 6000 acres of wood and farmland, some of the Natures Nest staff will be providing volunteer help to organisations like local Wildlife Trusts and local Farming and Wildlife Advisory Groups (FWAG).
Helen and David began their program of tree planting over a decade ago to improve the habitat of their hens. They have supported tree planting and range enrichment ever since – earning themselves the reputation for being the ONLY egg company to include tree planting and range enrichment as part of the production criteria for ALL their producers. On average Natures Nest egg producers have 12000 trees on their farms and they ALL use naturally ventilated hen houses giving an energy saving of up to 70%.
David said “We first started planting trees because we felt it was the right thing to do. We wanted to encourage our birds to roam, roost, peck and scratch in woodlands and are proud to have some of the best feathered birds in the country. Science has now vindicated what we have been doing for years and others have now followed in our footsteps! Many of our farms support populations of Red Squirrels so we ensure our planting includes trees and shrubs that will encourage their population to prosper – like Ash, Rowan and Hazel - a favourite of two endangered species - Red Squirrels and Dormice!
David continued “This spring we planted 100 acres of trees in one week, adding to the tens of thousands of trees planted in previous years. Because we have been planting for so long, many of the trees are now quite mature, providing great canopy protection for our birds and wildlife as well as supporting the environment.”
David and Helen have a reputation for being innovative in their field. They were one of the first to plant trees to enrich the habitat of their hens, they were the first to build only naturally ventilated hen houses – reducing
by 70% the energy needed and they were the first to stamp farm of
origin on all of their eggs. To ensure the authenticity and provenance
of Natures Nest, they went one step further by printing their unique
farm of origin code on every Natures Nest Egg before it leaves the
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