Steve Smith

Lakeside Farm, canterbury

Hens have been part of Steve Smith’s life for as long as he can remember. His sensible Greek mama, Zambeta, arrived in New Zealand as a war bride in 1947. She quickly recognised that running a dozen chooks would keep her family in protein, at a time when post-war rationing made protein scarce.

Eighteen years ago, Steve decided that producing top-end, fresh, free range eggs was what he wanted to do – all day, every day.

“I started with 500 hens, then it snuck up to 1500, and now it’s 2500.

“When people find out I produce eggs, their first question is ‘are they free range?’. I reply ‘of course’. Then 1001 questions follow.”

Lakeside Farm

Steve is not one to do things by halves. His 12-hectare Springston property is a scene straight off the top of a chocolate box.

“There was nothing on the range. I started planting, right from the word ‘go’. Poplars, pines, macrocarpa hedges and roses now cover Lakeside Farm – and it’s not all for the hens’ pleasure. I get a lot of satisfaction from the compliments my farm attracts. People come up the long drive and they immediately understand how I farm – things are done right around here.

“I’m not one to skimp and that includes what I feed my hens. I used MainFeeds, because it’s the best. Yes, it’s more expensive, but it’s worth it. Top-quality feed keeps my hens in peak condition. You can tell at a glance that they are happy, healthy and want for nothing.”.

The free range difference

“There’s a real difference with free range eggs. You know how much better vegetables straight out of your own garden taste? Well, that’s how I feel about the taste of our free range eggs.

“What gives me a real buzz is that people who enjoy Lakeside Farm eggs realise they are on to something special – but they don’t keep it to themselves. They can’t help but tell others. That fills me with pride.”

Contented farmer and hens

Steve wouldn’t change a thing about his “job”. “I value being self-employed and answerable to no one – except 2500 hens.

“If I want to stop and watch them going about their day, I can. There’s a real joy in seeing the hens free and content. I will never tire of that.”

Check out our favourite egg recipe here »