For four years now, we’ve been working with the amazing folks over at Otto’s Eggs, a family run company who are passionate about providing better, more traceable, more ethical food. Based at the bottom of the Kaimai Ranges, just outside of Katikati, in the Sunny Bay of plenty, they produce the highest quality eggs we’ve ever had the pleasure of baking with. Featured in some of our most popular products, we use Otto’s for our Custard Square, Breakfast Butty, Caesar Salad, Cakes, and Brioche Loaf (just to name a few.)
You’ll find them at Farmers Markets, and soon, in many grocers and good-food stores under the new name of ‘Kaimai Free Range.’ Like the guys at Kaipaki Dairies, they’re helping us to reduce our waste by delivering their eggs to us in large reusable trays of 30 eggs per tray with no plastic in sight. We wheel them around the bakery in a large metal cage and then leave them out to be collected and reused once we are done.
They’re a brand we can trust and an absolute pleasure to work with and we thought you might enjoy getting to know them a little more. Keep reading for the full interview below…
What is your name, where are you from, and what is your role at Otto’s?
My Name is James Brown, Originally from the mighty Canterbury now enjoying life in the sunny bay of plenty. I am the farm manager, responsible for all things chicken. Overseeing our supply chain, from a young day old chick right through to working to ensure our customers get the best eggs.
Who is Otto and where did the idea for the egg farm come from?
Otto – who is my father in law (so naturally I have to say something positive here) – is a true Kiwi farmer, roll-your-sleeves-up and make it happen kinda guy. He and his family thought that consumers want, and will continue to demand, a better, more traceable and ethical food. So 10-years ago he built a small shed in the bush at the bottom of his farm, and the rest is history so they say.
What makes Otto’s different?
There is no corporate structure to be found around here. This owner operator system means we have total control over the quality, our ethical responsibilities, supplying good quality food to local businesses and families. The big difference here is the care for the bird. Otto buys 1-day old chicks, rears these so they can be the happiest healthiest bird, manages their entire life so the bird never leaves the farm.
Managing our own supply chain means we own the good and the bad. If something is going right, thats good, but if there is an issue – it is only our job to put things right. Ownership of the entire business.
Where can we find Otto’s?
Ottos Egg company has just developed a new brand, ‘Kaimai Free Range‘ we’re super excited to make this a reality. We think this brand identifies us really well. It’s local, it’s a high quality product, and you can buy local. Kaimai Free Range has just been accepted by Countdowns throughout the Bay and Waikato. You can also expect to find it at most of your local New Worlds, 4 squares and local stores.
What makes a happy hen?
Access to clean water, quality food, a safe and clean environment, shelter and pastures in the sun – it’s a pretty simple job – let a chicken be a chicken. Dig, scratch and peck. If we don’t have happy healthy chickens, we don’t get eggs.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
Supplying an ethical, traceable good quality affordable food to people every day. Consumers are becoming more aware about the food they consume. Chicken farming may sound like a bit of a silly occupation – but it is actually really rewarding.
Any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry? What are some of the roughest lessons you’ve had to learn?
It is a really challenging, but rewarding industry. One minute, we’re working on our brand, and marketing. The next in the sheds working with our baby chicks, teaching them how to drink and eat.
Where do you see Otto’s 10 years from now?
The most trusted egg brand on the market. We’ve got a good story to tell, and we want to tell it. So, in 10 years, we want everyone in the Waikato, Bay of plenty to be consuming a healthy, ethical, traceable, environmentally sustainable egg – Kaimai Free Range.