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MONTVALE, Va. (WFXR) — Soaring grocery store egg prices have had an unexpected consequence. They have made the prices charged by small local producers who use biological or organic methods more competitive.

Price differences between the two are so minimal these days that some consumers are opting to spend a little more for what many believe is a higher-quality egg.

Bramble Hollow Farm in Bedford County produces eggs from pastured hens. Those chickens are fed non-GMO feed to supplement and are allowed to range to forage for insects, seeds, and grasses.

Pastured chickens at Bramble Hollow Farm near Montvale (Photo: George Noleff)

“The stereotypical idea is that local products or biological or organic products are a little more expensive,” said Bramble Hollow Farm owner Brent Wills. “One of the reasons that they are that way is because the cost of production is a little higher. It’s really about how you value your community and sort of the end product that you’re buying for your family.”

Wills runs Bramble Hollow with his wife and children. His teenage son Jack handles the egg operation.

“They lay up here and the eggs roll down,” said Jack Wills as he toured the hen enclosure.

Bramble Hollow sells eggs for $6.50 a dozen. Local grocery stores sell eggs from $4.25 to $6.00 a dozen, depending on location. The price difference is so little that many consumers are paying slightly higher prices for the local eggs, and that keeps those consumer dollars local, boosting the local farm economy.

Plus, Brent Wills says consumers are getting a higher quality product from local egg producers: “All you have to do is put them side by side. Take a store-bought egg and put it next to a local egg that’s raised on a pasture, there’s really no way to claim there’s no difference.”