While the University of Connecticut’s Dairy Bar may be just starting to sell fresh eggs again, UConn poultry from the animal science department have been providing eggs for over thirty years, Dr. Steven Zinn, animal science department head, said.
Sarah Brady, Dairy Bar location supervisor, said the Dairy Bar temporarily stopped selling eggs in March due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Due to their new online services, they were recently able to start including more of their usual menu.
“Because of the COVID[-19] shut down, we were closed until June, and only reopened partially with an online ordering system and a reduced staff so we reduced our menu offerings,” Brady said. “With the cooler weather approaching, we are able to expand our online offerings to include more take home grocery items.”
UConn Dining Services announced in a Daily Digest on Thursday, Nov. 5 that the Dairy Bar is offering three sizes of eggs from UConn poultry. The Dairy Bar is selling small eggs, also called peewee/pullets, for $4.50 per 30 eggs. Medium eggs are being sold for either $3.50 for a dozen or $7.50 for 30 eggs. Extra-large eggs are being sold by the dozen for $4. Eggs can only be purchased via an online pre-order.
Brady said customers have been happy to order UConn eggs again.
“We have a loyal egg customer base who have been thrilled to be able to purchase eggs again,” Brady said.
Zinn said the animal science department has been raising chickens at the poultry barn on Horsebarn Hill for more than 50 years. Although he did not know the exact year the Dairy Bar started to sell UConn eggs, they started selling eggs before he became department head in 1990.
The 600 chickens in the poultry unit lay about one egg a day, Zinn said. Every day, all the eggs are gathered and prepared to be sold. Although the eggs are not branded in any specific UConn logo, they are the only eggs available for purchase at the Dairy Bar.
“The eggs are collected once per day, washed, sized and packaged and stored in our big egg cooler,” Zinn said. “Eggs are sold within one to two days of being laid.”
Brady said egg sales can range depending on the time of year and the size of eggs the poultry farm has available.
“It varies from twelve dozen to several cases a week during normal business operations,” she said.
Customers like the freshness and range of eggs that the UConn poultry provide, Brady said.
“[Customers] like the freshness and that they can support the university with their purchase,” Brady said. “We also sell peewee eggs, which are not easy to find.”
Zinn said it’s up to the consumers to decide if the eggs taste different compared to store bought eggs.
“I believe that the fresher the egg, the better it tastes,” he said.
Having fresh UConn eggs sold on campus allows the UConn community to taste first-hand the hard work affiliated with the animal science department, Zinn said.
“It’s a great market for our farm products and another way that the community can be connected to the University,” Zinn said. “In addition, for those that walk by the poultry farm on Horsebarn Hill, they may get satisfaction from knowing exactly where their eggs come from.”