Locally Laid, an egg farm in Wrenshall, Minn., got a lot of unexpected attention this week.
The company got a letter from a customer complaining about their cheeky name. Their carton marketing says "Get Locally Laid" and other advertisements state "Local chicks are better."
"I find your name on your egg carton extremely offensive and your sexual innuendo in advertising them vulgar," it said. "Not only were they the highest price in the store but also the worst in advertising."
On The Daily Circuit Friday, Lucie Amundsen of Locally Laid said they've only had a handful of negative notes out of the thousands received from consumers.
"It turns out the thing we valued the least, which I would say are our communication skills and our writing skills and our ability to go and make these connections is what's serving us best in this business," she said. "Most farmers are not as forward-leaning into the world as I am. I drive a car that is wrapped, that says 'Get Locally Laid' on the side. I would say a lot of my farmer brethren are not going to be driving that car."
Lucie Amundsen of Locally Laid responded on the company blog with an open letter:
To the point of your letter, I want to say you're right. Our name, Locally Laid, is totally cheeky and pushes the envelope. And I truly am sorry, we offended you. (I'd offer you one of our American-made "Local Chicks are Better " t-shirts, but I don't think you'd wear it.)
But here's why we risk your umbrage. When our perfect double entendre breaks through the media clutter in which we're all steeped, we leverage it. With that second look from a consumer, we educate about animal welfare, eating local, Real Food and the economics of our broken food system.
We all vote with our food dollars every day and we respect your decision if our playful moniker keeps you from buying our eggs. It was just important to me that you understood everything that was going on behind that name.
The blog post sparked a discussion about middle agriculture--farms she said gross $50,000 to $500,000 a year--and the unique issues facing these farmers.
4 challenges facing middle agriculture
1. Finding a home for your product. While a small farmer or producer can sell most of their product through farm stands and CSA programs, mid-size farms need to work on local relationships with grocery stores and restaurants to sell their goods, Amundsen said. The agreements require stores and restaurants to take on an extra work because they have to step away from an easier one-check system they are accustomed to for purchases.
2. Inconsistent income. Small producers can sell out of their goods in a day, walking away with cash to reinvest in their farm. Large agricultural farmers have major contracts to keep steady money coming in. Middle agriculture gets a combination of cash from grocers and restauranteurs, but also rely on uneven payment times via invoices.
3. The product costs more to produce. Amundsen said her size farm takes on a lot more risk:
4. Your product needs to be distinguishable. "Would you have learned all this if we were named Amundsen Farms?" Amundsen wrote in her post.