Flying the Factory Coop

Jackie Aufrere-Sebetic with Mr. Jim, a large ram that loves to eat apples from the trees. Photo by Brittany Jordt.

On my way to the Pulse office on Friday afternoon I stopped by Jackie Aufrere-Sebetic’s farm to pick up eggs for the weekend. Since returning home from visiting farms in Asia and Costa Rica, I’ve made it my personal mission to start becoming familiar with Door County farms.

I don’t eat meat unless it’s local or organically produced; essentially, I want to know where my burger’s coming from. With these particulars, buying meat regularly gets expensive. That makes eggs an important source of protein in my diet (and a favorite breakfast food).

The recent outbreaks of Salmonella across the country have made it very clear that eggs are not immune to food-borne illness. Large, egg-producing factories are just as likely to abuse the system as meat packaging plants. Chickens are mistreated, injected with hormones, and raised in dimly lit and over-crowded hen houses. Subsequently, their eggs are subject to contamination.

At the local grocery store, buying organically produced eggs can get expensive. Depending on where they are purchased, eggs can cost anywhere from $3.50 to over $4 per dozen.

All that brought me to Jackie’s farm on a fantastically sunny day in search of eggs. The Aufrere-Sebetic farm is conveniently located directly off County Road E.

Jackie bought the farm in 1983, and she’s been running it herself since 1999, when her husband passed away. She led me into the old barn to show me the large enclosed part of her coop. The chickens scatter as we enter. It’s clear there’s plenty of space for them to hunt and peck. One lone rooster stays on his perch next to the door.

“I just found out that’s a rooster,” Jackie said. “I thought he was a hen. He’s pretty tame – you can pet him.”

I reach out and stroke his tail feathers a couple of times. He slides away, slightly uncomfortable with my touch. All the same, he stays close by.

In the back of the chicken coop there’s a little door that leads to a small fenced yard.

“If they can fly over that fence – that means they know how to fly back in. Then they are free to go. Otherwise we have too many coyotes here,” Jackie said.

Jackie continued, “People prefer the farm fresh eggs. The yolks just stand right there. The whites, they whip right up for baking. You’ll taste the difference.”

Jackie weighs all her eggs. Medium eggs are anything up to 52 grams; 52 – 70 grams qualify as large eggs; and jumbo eggs are anything over 70 grams.

Jackie’s medium-sized eggs cost $2 per dozen. This makes buying local eggs not only good for the Door County economy and your health, but also cost effective.

Call ahead: Jackie’s chickens lay about two dozen eggs a day and there can be limited availability.

Jackie Aufrere-Sebetic

Phone: 920.868.3086

3580 Cty Rd E, Baileys Harbor