AT THE FARM
Egg production has changed significantly since the early 1900s. Before, farmers were raising a few hundred hens in outdoor enclosures where the hens laid eggs and circulated freely. This meant that the farmers would have to be very careful when picking the eggs distributed around the yard. However, given the climatic conditions of Maritimes, they could only keep their production running in the summer time because winter was unbearable for the chickens. At that time, a hen laid about 84 eggs per year.
Today, the portrait of poultry production is completely transformed. Now, most barns in Martimes are large modern buildings which house between 5,000 and 50,000 chickens and everything is done automatically. The production: temperature, ventilation, humidity and lighting are all controlled for the hens comfort throughout the year. In modern barns, no need to search for eggs in haystacks, they are now sent on a conveyor to facilitate a faster and a more efficient harvesting. Water and fresh food are always available. Even manure removal has become easier with the cages being smartly built to drop the waste onto conveyors carrying the manure outside the building, allowing eggs and chickens to remain clean and away from diseases. The hens lay over 300 eggs per year, which helps to offer consumers a very high quality product at a low price. Hens begin laying at the age of 19 weeks and continue to lay eggs for at least 12 months. There are many varieties of laying hens in Maritimes.
The hens enjoy a well-balanced menu containing cereals, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fresh water in abundance.
At Maritime Pride Eggs
Once the eggs have been gathered, placed on plastic trays and warehoused in a cold room at the farm, large refrigerated trucks bring them to Maritime Pride Eggs plant in Amherst for grading. Upon arrival, the eggs are stored in a cold room where the temperature and humidity are controlled in order to keep the eggs fresh until they are graded, this normally occurs on the day they arrive at the plant.
The grading process has several stages. First, the egg trays are placed on a conveyor equipped by electronic arms fitted with suction cups. This special device raises and places the eggs on a conveyor belt for the next step. The eggs enter an ultramodern machine where they are carefully washed and dried. They then undergo a human examination process called candling. The eggs pass under a light making the inside visible. Various characteristics are examined at this stage: the shell, the size of the air cell inside and the position of the yolk (whether it is well-centered or not). The eggs continue on to our "Crack-detector". This machine uses a magneto-acoustical system to scan the entire surface of the egg with a high degree of accuracy. If an egg is found to have even the slightest crack, it is redirected to an off grade lane. The next step is our UV disinfection system. This process uses UV-C light to eliminate 99.98% of any remaining surface bacteria and is the firt of its kind in North America. Safety is our business. Finally, all the eggs are weighed and sent to the packing area by size. Each carton is dated to indicate the shelf life (normally 35 days after packing).
Category A eggs have a thick egg white, a well-centered yolk, a small air cell, and a clean and solid shell.
Once packaged, the fresh eggs are kept in a cooling area until refrigerated trucks deliver them to supermarkets and distributors. However, in order to ensure the freshness of the eggs and that they meet the Category A standards, our manager carries out spot checks everyday. Inspectors from The Canadian Food Inspection Agency also performs other lab tests to ensure Maritime Pride Eggs follows the egg regulations. The inspectors also check eggs that have not yet been graded in order to determine the production quality from a particular flock.
If the eggs are well refrigerated at home, the consumers can even consume them after the expiry date; with a slight loss of freshness.
The eggs are delivered to the supermarkets one to three days after they have been laid.
The consumers can enjoy the culinary delights of dishes made with Maritime eggs of Maritime Pride brand.