<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Healthy hens, healthy eggs is the mantra of Bowland Forest Eggs on Longridge Fell

PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 November 2017

Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson

Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson

Archant

The beautiful woodland John Collinson’s hens explore on Longridge Fell is what makes Bowland Forest Eggs taste so good. Emma Mayoh reports

Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson

Poultry farmer John Collinson lives by one motto – healthy hens, healthy eggs. And the more than 19,000 birds he has at Hougher Hall Farm on Longridge Fell must be some of the healthiest you could come across. The free range Hyline breed roam the woodlands at the farm where John grew up and they enjoy some of the best views the Ribble Valley has to offer.

‘I doubt they notice them but I love it,’ joked John. ‘We are quite high up here and the hens do like it. They get to peck around in the shaded areas under the trees and are free to explore.

‘Animals and poultry are always happier if they don’t have too much stress in their lives – very similar to humans – and our hens are a contented flock.’

John’s family have been keeping hens on the Longridge Fell farm for three generations – his granddad Joseph first started working with poultry before dad Christopher took over. In 1996, John, who was then working a milk round, bought the farm from his dad and moved back to his childhood home. A year later, he started the egg production business.

Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson

‘I’d had the milk round for most of my working life and I’d worked on a dairy farm for five years too,’ said John, now 54. ‘My heart had always been up at the farm and I’ve always felt fortunate to be able to move back here.

‘I’d always had this passion for poultry and the farm is ideal for it. I started with 100 hens that I’d use for eggs on my milk run but as time went on I moved into egg production full time.’

The hens have plenty of space to roam around the beautiful woodland on the farm and at night they are housed in large hen houses. This helps them produce premium quality eggs, which are picked, inspected and packed every morning.

‘This really is a great spot for the hens,’ said John. ‘They’re fed on the best grain and feed too. It does show in the quality of the egg they produce. Our location in the heart of the Ribble Valley means the eggs are as fresh as possible too.’

Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson

John spent several years solely looking after the egg production. But when his teenage daughter, Georgina, was tragically killed in a car accident five years ago he started to re-evaluate his life. Now John spends his days out selling the eggs while Rainfords, a local egg firm, looking after the production side of the business.

‘That changed my outlook on how I was going to take things forward,’ said John, who also has daughters Katie, Jessica and Christine. ‘Something awful like that does make you look at things different and I wanted to concentrate on the selling of the eggs, which come from my farm.’

The quality of Bowland Forest Eggs speaks for itself. John supplies them to top quality butchers and farm shops in Lancashire as well as at some of our county’s best places to eat. Northcote, Ribble Valley Inns and Inn at Whitewell are on his books as well as Bowland Food Hall, Bashall Barn and The Barn at Scorton.

‘It’s a huge compliment for me to have places like this who love our eggs,’ said John. ‘It’s also fantastic to see chefs who can see the value and can spot the best quality, fresh eggs and want to use it on their menus. It’s something that makes me very proud.’

Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson Bowland Forest Eggs with John Collinson

Now John wants to focus on the selling, with help from worker Jenny McCrerie, as well as looking at ways to expand the business. He dedicates his time to the job he loves and admits there are some added perks.

‘I get to go in so many great pie shops when I deliver the eggs. I won’t mention who sells the best though. I gave them up for Lent last year – it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

‘Joking aside, I do feel grateful to be in a place like this. And now I’m looking to a way forward. People, especially after the foreign egg issue earlier this year, are looking for good quality, local eggs, which is good news for me because that’s exactly what we do.

More from Food & Drink

Ad Feature: La Locanda

Friday, February 16, 2018

When you visit La Locanda, a true taste of Italy is guaranteed, thanks to the owners, Maurizio and Cinzia Bocchi, a husband and wife team who hail from Lake Maggiore, in northern Italy...

Read more
Friday, February 9, 2018

The Boho Baker makes a traditional Lancashire cake that could be a great alternative to pancakes.

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Treat Mum to a deliciously authentic Italian meal to remember this Mother’s Day (Sunday, March 11th).

Read more
Thursday, February 1, 2018

A crafty collaboration has brought the worlds of beer and art together in Salford, as Rebekka O’Grady discovers

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Valentine’s at The Top Lock - 14th-17th of February

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mother’s Day at The Lock - Sunday 11th of March.

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It’s Pizza o’Clock at The Top Lock - Monday to Thursday from 4 ’til 9pm.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Valentine’s at The Butlers Arms - 14th-17th of February.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Treat your mum to an extra special afternoon tea at The Butlers Arms this Mothers Day.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Start the weekend The Butlers Arms way, with 2 for 1 from our Friday Seafood Menu, Fish & Chips and on Prosecco.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

You’re a vegetarian, they love a steak. Perhaps it’s the other way round. Maybe you’ll both have the steak or you’ll both try vegan.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The contemporary vibe of this new Ribble Valley restaurant will have surprised customers who recall the old hotel dining room. Roger Borrell reports.

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants Whalley
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Contemporary Chinese restaurant Tattu is calling time on those January blues with a host of special events lined up for February from Valentine’s Day through to a week-long celebration for Chinese New Year.

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Join Arlene Phillips and Strictly Come Dancing favourites Aljaz and Janette on this exclusive 8-day river cruise along the Danube

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search