Egg Farmer (St. Ann’s, Ontario)
Located between Smithville and Fonthill (in the township of West Lincoln), Roger Pelissero and his family operate their egg farm. They take care of 16,000 laying hens that lay about 9,000 dozen eggs per week, sold under the Gray Ridge Egg Farms label. They also produce 96,000 egg-laying hens for themselves and other egg farms throughout Ontario.
Why egg farming?
When my grandfather emigrated from Itay in 1924, he raised a small flock of chickens. My dad followed in his footsteps and had a strong egg business in the 1950s. But when I was growing up, I wanted something different. My parents didn't work 9-5 jobs; egg farming is a lifestyle and I didn't want any part of it. I decided that working in Hamilton's steel mills was a much better choice. It turned out to not be the right path for me. Today, I love the fact that I'm a third generation egg farmer and consider it a privilege to be one.
What are most of your days like?
I wake up between 5 am and 6 am and go directly to the barn. First I check the controller which is a computer that monitors the environment, feed and water levels of the birds. Then I walk through the barn to look at the hens to see how they are doing. We collect the laid eggs just after noontime and get them into our cooler. From there the eggs that I collect get to the grocery for shoppers to purchase in less than five days.
What do you love best about what you do?
I love my job. I get the fulfillment of providing a food that’s very nutritious to my family as well as consumers across Ontario.
I take care of my hens. I’m proud of my farm and I maintain the principles that my father had raising hens. We’ve always been very conscious of the welfare of our animals as well as consumers. My job is very rewarding.
Any myths about eggs you’d like to clear up for consumers?
When it comes to nutrition, brown and white eggs are identical. The choice is up to consumers, they can have brown or white eggs, without compromising nutritional value. I think people are starting to realize all eggs are good for them. The good news is that eggs in Ontario are highly regulated when it comes to supply – so they’re always very fresh.