Price Jump in Eggs Sparks Higher Demand for Free-Range, Organic Alternatives

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Craig Carlson knows a thing or two about egg farming.

"We've been on this farm for 15 years, and poultry/eggs was one of our first livestock that we started to raise," Carlson said.

While it's a lot of work on Nine Patch Farms in Hamburg, he prefers to let his chickens range free as opposed to staying in cages.

"They'll stand next to a clover plant and pluck every leaf off of it. Or they'll-they're looking for bugs, and grasshoppers. They're diet is just more diverse," he said.

It's that diverse diet he says enables them to lay dozens of healthy, more natural eggs. It's those kinds of eggs that more customers are gravitating towards in grocery stores like Trig's in Stevens Point. Assistant manager Nate Vollmer says they're gaining popularity as of late, as the prices of eggs from caged chickens continue to rise.

"That gap of prices is definitely a lot smaller," Vollmer said. "So customers say well, I find I'm going to pay a certain dollar amount for a certain product, and I could get maybe a more organic or more natural product for just a little more increase in price. Maybe I'll do that this time instead."

While Carlson says the Bird Flu's impact isn't as big for egg farmers in Central Wisconsin, he points out that his method of raising his chickens helps prevent them from getting sick in the first place.

"If the Flu does get into one bird, it can easily spread to the rest because of the concentration. Where ours hopefully by not being as stressed in such a confinement, that we're going to avoid those problems," Carlson explained.

But besides looking a little more affordable as of late, Carlson believes you may even want to consider free-range eggs for a little more nutrition.

"To have a less stressful environment can only make them healthier."