This article is brought to us by BYC sponsor LocalHens.com We all know the many benefits we receive from eating fresh eggs laid by the chickens in our own backyard—they are delicious, nutritious and fun! We also know that a lot of times, especially after chicken math strikes, we have far more eggs on hand than our family can eat. That’s when we give our eggs away to relatives, co-workers, friends and neighbors or, with a little planning, we can sell them at farm stands and farmers markets. There are many reasons for people to eat locally produced food, even if they don’t get to have the fun of raising chickens in their own backyard. Food is at the peak of freshness, they can see where it is produced and grown, they contribute to their local economy by supporting small farms and farmers, and they maintain community ties between producers and consumers. Interest in the small farm and local foods movement has grown immensely in recent years. The number of Farmers’ Markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) has nearly tripled in the past 15 years. Farm to consumer food sales has more than doubled. Urban homesteads and community gardens have taken off across the nation. That being said, local food is still just a tiny portion of all food sales. It can be difficult for farmers to find and connect with potential customers. Objections to buying local are generally convenience, price and packaging appearance. Customers often say that they would buy local foods if they were easier to identify and seemed safe. So how do small, local farmers reach these customers and show off the benefits of those fresh eggs without breaking the bank? www.LocalHens.com – Connecting Consumers with Local Egg Producers Local Hens.com offers an online directory of local farms nationwide. It is completely free and anyone may join and list their farm, whether they have 3 birds or 3000. Consumers search by zip code, city or farm name and are rewarded with a list of nearby farms. It is an excellent way for consumers to find local farm fresh eggs, and for farmers to reach out and connect with local consumers. Not only will potential customers be able to easily find your farm, but the friends and neighbors who purchase your eggs will enjoy seeing a web page devoted to your farm and chickens—with images, stories, new and updates and much more. Marketing and Selling Your Eggs with Local Hens™ The Local Hens brand was created to enable local, small farms and CSAs to have the same marketing advantages and professional image as the large national brands, yet maintaining the country fresh appeal of the small farm. In addition to the website, we’ve created a line of premium egg packaging and marketing materials. The attractive branding and logo on our Local Hens cartons, signs and banners help instantly identify your eggs, presenting a clean, professional looking product to your customers. Local Hens cartons are manufactured by Hartmann. They are the best carton on the market and we offer 7 different cartons with our Local Hens branding. It is easy to customize these cartons using our rubberstamps that match the Local Hens font. The cartons include the website information and a brief story outlining the local food background. We’ve designed Local Hens marketing products for those of you selling in stores, as well as those who prefer to sell in farmer’s markets, CSAs or their own farm stand. If you sell your eggs in stores you’ll be interested in our cooler clings, shelf talkers, shelf strips and large banners (which can be customized with your farm name). Those of you who sell your eggs on the farm or at farmer’s markets and CSAs will love our small banners (customizable with your farm name), table talkers you can write your prices on, and our great yard signs. We also offer beautiful full color business cards with the Local Hens information on one side while the other side is blank for you to write or stamp your contact information. All of these professional marketing materials along with our branded cartons will help to showcase your eggs in any environment! The marketing material includes the Local Hens QR code and the cartons and marketing materials include the website information so that consumers can easily get more information on your farm and the chickens that produce the eggs you sell. For other ideas to help your product stand out look over the Local Hens website for fun facts and trivia to share. Use the recipes section to make recipe cards to give out to customers. Create a community feel and involve the customers in your farm. Share your farm profile and encourage people to check back in for updates and farm news. Use lots of visuals, both at the stand and on your online farm page. Try taking some pictures of your fresh, local eggs in comparison with others, showing customers the benefits of your eggs; the colors of the yolks, the thickness of the shells. And don’t forget pictures of your hens! It always comes back to those happy backyard hens! Local Hens™ branded cartons and merchandising products are available exclusively from The Egg Carton Store. Visit http://www.eggcartonstore.com/Local-Hens-s/153.htm#start for more information. Are you interested in joining the Local Hens community? Go to www.localhens.com and learn more! Do you ever sell your eggs or give away extras? Tell us what you do with all those extra eggs!