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Making the grade
Hay River-produced eggs to be sold throughout the NWT by September

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, May 28, 2012

Later this year, eggs laid in Hay River will be on sale at stores throughout the NWT.

NNSL photo/graphic

Glen Wallington, the manager of Hay River Poultry Farms Ltd., watches a production line of eggs at the company's barn, which produces over 100,000 eggs a day. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

That's because Hay River Poultry Farms Ltd. the only egg producer in the NWT received certification from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on May 16 to operate a grading station where eggs will be graded, washed and prepared for sale.

"Because we didn't have the capability of doing that here and we didn't have the licence to do that, we couldn't sell them up here," said Glen Wallington, manager of Hay River Poultry Farms. "Now that we have the licence, now we have the capability, now we can sell them."

It's a big thing for the territories, Wallington said. "It was important for the territory's egg industry to get the grading station up and running."

The grading station underwent a $280,000 refit to obtain the CFIA certification.

The Hay River eggs are not expected to be on sale until the beginning of September. They will be sold under the brand name Polar Egg.

The operation needs time to hire four new workers and ensure they are properly trained, Wallington noted. "We want to make sure all our ducks are in a row. We're not going to be in a big hurry to get eggs into the market. We'd rather get them in when the timing's right and get them in there the right way."

Seven people already work at Hay River Poultry Farms' producing barn, located near the DeLancey Estates area of the community. The grading station is in the town's industrial area.

Currently, eggs produced at the company's barn 103,000-105,000 eggs a day from 118,000 chickens are taken to the grading station, but are not graded for public consumption. Instead, the eggs are distributed in the south by the Egg Farmers of Canada, a national marketing organization.

"They buy the eggs from us there and they redistribute them," Wallington explained.

The eggs are graded and processed elsewhere.

Hay River Poultry Farms is looking to serve the Northern market the NWT and probably Nunavut and parts of the Yukon.

"I think all the retailers would welcome it," said Steve Anderson, manager of the Super 'A' grocery store in Hay River. "Anything locally grown we would like to carry in our store, provided it's food safe."

Anderson noted all stores in Hay River used to carry local eggs when they were available in years past.

Wallington said it will be the first time in about a decade that NWT eggs will be sold in the territory, noting the last time was by a different company that is no longer in business.

Local eggs will offer the advantage of freshness.

"For Hay River, basically there's the possibility that they could have same-day eggs on the shelf," Wallington said, adding most places in the NWT should have the eggs within a week of them being laid.

Plus, he noted the price will be very competitive.

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