Local service sets event apart
Imagine 30,000 eggs and you are close to picturing the mountain of free-range eggs consumed by hungry crowds at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days since 1983 - and local egg producer Lyn Kennedy has supplied every one.
Mrs Kennedy has also cooked thousands of cakes for the field days.
What started as a side business on their farming property many years ago has taken on a life of its own, and Mrs Kennedy is well-known throughout the region for her free-range eggs and delectable sweets. "I call myself a chookologist," she said.
With 750 chickens strolling around her Newdegate property, Mrs Kennedy said managing the foxes and other vermin was a full-time job. But it seems locals and visitors to the field days believe it's worth the effort, and they cannot get enough of her products.
"I have people that buy the cakes, and then go back to the counter and ask where they got the cakes from," Mrs Kennedy said.
"I've had people ask for my recipes. One particular lady was here visiting some friends and she was a vanilla slice nut. She said my vanilla slice was the best she had ever tasted, and she had tasted vanilla slice all over the world.
"I keep saying I want to retire and no one will let me."
Known affectionately throughout the district as Chooky Lyn, she believes the secret of the success of the field days is in the promotion of local products and services.
"We are so far from anywhere. It's difficult for people to come to our field days, so the thing that is different about Newdegate is that we have the personalised service," she said.
"We have a lot more local things, with the cakes, the roasts, camping on site, and I think people enjoy that."
In a single year, Mrs Kennedy can supply anything up to 81-dozen eggs, which are used for breakfasts, hamburgers and sandwiches.
She also supplies the field days with apple slice, carrot cakes, chocolate brownies and mud cakes.
Mrs Kennedy estimated that since 1983, she had committed 3000 hours to making the cakes and more than 500 hours to collecting, cleaning and packing eggs, specifically for the field days.
While Mrs Kennedy and her husband, Peter, also provide eggs throughout the year to the Newdegate district, she said freight could be an issue and often caused logistical challenges.
"Sales are around 220 dozen a week," she said. "We supply to Newdegate, Lake Grace, Nyabing, Varley, Lake King, Hopetoun, Ravensthorpe and Darkan, and also have private sales in Perth."
So next time you bite down into that vanilla slice at the Newdegate field days, it is worth remembering the hard work and passion that went into making such a delicious treat.
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