April 8, 2014

Ian Littleton at Clarendon Farms has been producing organic free-range eggs in the local area since 1998. His philosophy follows natural laying behaviours and his happy hens, who number over 10,000 adult layers, are free to roam around portable nesting sheds.

We asked Ian about his top tips for perfect Easter eggs, whether poached or painted.

“Easter used to be a peak time for egg sales, but now people are eating eggs more often, it has evened out a bit,” he says. “I still get requests for white-shelled eggs around Easter time because, traditionally, European families used these for painting.”

Luckily, the timing for white-shelled eggs is about right. Once birds have been laying for a while, their egg shells lighten, and older birds tend to start moulting (and stop laying) for winter. Ian’s 5,000 younger layers take over production at that time.

When it comes to the perfect poached eggs, Ian follows Hester Blumenthal’s approach of low temperature, longer cooking time.

“First, make sure it’s a fresh egg – the egg white should be quite thick. Heat the water to 80ºC (below boiling) and break the egg into a slotted ladle with small holes so the runny white bits drain out first. Gently lower the ladle into the pan of warm water, slide it out again, and poach the egg for about four minutes. I also put a plate in the bottom of the pan to avoid contact with the base.”

Clarendon Farms is the only egg producer in Pitt Town, and locals are welcome to pop in and buy direct whenever they’re passing and see the egg room door open. Ian Littleton also supplies Green Hills Organics in Richmond, and serves around 1,000 customers every Sunday at the French’s Forest Growers market.

Ian also holds farm tours and cooking demonstrations about four times a year. To find out more, phone 4572 3259.

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