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Locally Laid eggs popular at Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth

McLean Fifield of Duluth, who works at Whole Foods Co-op, re-stocks Locally Laid brand eggs Wednesday afternoon. The eggs, which sell there for $4.19 to $4.59 a carton, depending on the size of the eggs, sell out quickly after deliveries are made. (Bob King / 1 / 2
Locally Laid eggs are sold at Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth and Twin Ports Super One stores. (Bob King / / 2

When Locally Laid Egg Co. came along two years ago, Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth was the first store to carry its eggs.

“We have always tried to offer eggs whenever they’re available,” said Sharon Murphy, the co-op’s general manager. “But we were never able to get enough eggs from the local supplier.”

With Locally Laid, they thought they would be able to keep up.

”Unfortunately, we’re still not able to keep up with the demand for eggs,” Murphy said. “We’re running out all the time.”

Indeed, when a typical Locally Laid shipment of nine cases  — about 162 cartons of a dozen fresh eggs — comes in a couple of times a week, they don’t last long. Stop in the next day, and they could be sold out.

“They’re very popular, especially when people were excited about supporting them for the Super Bowl ad,” Murphy said, referring to an online voting contest last winter in which Locally Laid came in second. “It was a huge impetus for people to support and try those eggs.”

“I like them,” Camille Glesener of Esko said after picking up a carton of their extra-large eggs for $4.49 at the co-op. “For one thing, they’re pretty. They’re big and their yolks are real yellowy. And they taste real good.”

But there’s another reason she buys them.

“I don’t like the way eggs are produced in this country, all just stuffed in cages. It’s just horrible,” Glesener said. “I’d rather pay more for more humanely produced eggs.”

Whole Foods had long ago developed standards for how the chickens that produce the eggs they carry are cared for and what they are fed so the co-op can promote them as naturally raised.

“They already met those standards,” Murphy said of Locally Laid. “They were doing a very good job.”

Charlotte VanVactor of Duluth got a carton of large eggs for $4.19 on Wednesday.

“They’re great,” she said of the eggs. “They’re not much more than the eggs I would typically buy.”

She likes that the chickens are cage-free and that the business is owned by a local family who is active in the community.

“They have a brilliant marketing strategy,” she said. “They can be local anywhere.”

Locally Laid is owned by Jason and Lucie Amundsen of Duluth, who started with a backyard flock of five chickens. They now have a farm with 2,000 hens in Wrenshall, as well as eight small partner farms.

While some of the dozen other farms that supplies eggs to the co-op were bigger when Locally Laid started selling eggs from its farm, Locally Laid is their biggest egg provider now, Murphy said.

“They’ve definitely raised awareness (about eggs) and about the importance of supporting a small local business and that you can make a go of it in the food system,” Murphy said.