Egg production at the “Meyrishaff” farm in Bastendorf, Luxembourg, is hard, manual work. The eggs, which are mainly laid by the hens in their nests, have to be collected by hand every morning. A farm employee checks the mobile and large coops two to three times a day to see how things are going, checks whether the animals have enough food and water and collects the rest of the eggs that have been laid elsewhere in the coop. There are six steps between when the eggs are laid and when they are packed for sale in the farm shop, all of which have to be carried out by hand. The free-range eggs are mainly sold directly to the customer, without the need for a distributor. The broilers are sold within the framework of the “Lët‘z Poulet” project. The project involves four farms, with all participants producing products to the same standard to guarantee continuous supply.
The Angus cattle calves born on the farm are also raised here. Bob Kaes takes the cattle to the nearby abattoir every two weeks and the slaughtered cows are then processed in the on-site butcher’s. “The prize cuts naturally fly off the shelves. For me however, it’s important that the whole animal is processed and sold. Only then will another animal be slaughtered,” explains Bob Kaes. To work according to this philosophy, an on-site butcher’s and a sausage kitchen had to be built at the ”Meyrishaf”. Some of the meat is processed and cooked on site. For example, the beef is turned into a ragout and the chicken is turned into “Bouchée à la reine”. “There is little appetite for stewing hens in Europe. We process them ourselves because it makes no sense to export these to countries in Africa and flood the market there,” says Bob Kaes.
“For me, it’s important that food isn’t transported over long distances, either when buying or selling it.”
There is also great demand for strawberries in the farm shop, which are produced on the farm in two polytunnels. Other regional produce is also sold in the shop.
Bob Kaes has been raising chickens since the age of ten, when he started selling eggs to neighbours. “I always loved working on the farm,” he says. “Food production is a real passion of mine, and I love being able to offer customers new products”. He turned his hobby into his professional career.
Why is it better to purchase regional produce?
“I don’t believe in transporting food over great distances to bring it to the customer. If you want to avoid transporting goods over long distances, you have to buy seasonal produce. Lots of people are concerned about climate change. As part of this, they should also buy seasonal and locally-produced food,” adds Bob Kaes. It’s also about supporting local businesses. “Trades and crafts are dying out or being transferred abroad. For example, butchers’ crafts are being transferred to large-scale operations, which obviously present their own risks. There is always a risk of a monopoly developing in food production.”
We have to support small, medium-sized and family-owned businesses and that is only possible if we shop where we live.