When I heard that Maritime Pride had a banner month in January, shipping mind-boggling millions of eggs, I couldn’t make the transition from my box of a dozen eggs to such a huge number, right here in Amherst.
Plant Manager Dwayne Ogilvie agreed to an interview and a tour and now I’ve seen how it’s done. Owned by egg farmers who wanted to market their own product, Maritime Pride Eggs opened off Tantramar Crescent in the Industrial Park in 2006. Supply trucks working for “birds” in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick collect eggs in the afternoons and bring them to the double doors facing Tupper Boulevard.
The eggs are never touched during the process. The flats are loaded by an air powered loader on to conveyor belts and pass through machines that identify and eject the few eggs that are bad or cracked. Good eggs are washed and sorted by size and maneuvered so that that rounded, heavier end is down. I was intrigued by the way the machines revolve the eggs to go around corners.
The hundreds of thousand of eggs I saw were destined for industrial use.
As a recycler, I was pleased to hear that the liquid from the rejected eggs will be fed to mink. Who knew?
A massive storage cooler with the eggs all in their categories will be emptied within four work days. The same trucks that bring the eggs in the afternoons will deliver the sorted eggs in the mornings. They depart from the numerous doors on the recessed part of the building on the right facing Tupper. The huge trailers have beautifully designed sides proclaiming “Local Eggs from Local Farmers to your Maritime Market”. They service all the major chain groceries.
I laughed at myself when I was taken to the area where containers are stored because I’m so meticulous about recycling our few egg cartons! The room was storeys high, packed with variations of egg containers. I was pleased the cardboard cartons are made in the Annapolis Valley because the styrofoam ones come from the US! The flats are made in Quebec.
I was also shown a quality assurance room and a maintenance room.
At least twelve million eggs a month are thus managed by just over forty employees who “understand the importance of keeping customers satisfied.” Some work four 10-hour days from 6:30 - 5:00 Monday to Friday on rotation. The sanitation and shipping crew arrives at 5:00 to work an 8-hour shift.
Maritime Pride is growing. In the last ten years, they have increased their shipping by over 60%. An expansion of their storage cooler is planned for this year.
These millions of eggs shipped by Maritime Pride Eggs are only about half the eggs used in the Maritime Provinces. Five other companies in Nova Scotia, three in New Brunswick, and one in PEI provide the other half. Maritime Pride is our largest supplier of fresh table eggs.
Eggs have a shelf life of six weeks but Maritime Pride accounts for little of that time.
Not only are dedicated employees maintaining efficiency with a basic food product, the office walls proclaim sponsorship of the ARHS Senior Girls’ Soccer team and a $5000 donation to the IWK Hospital in Halifax. A thank you card from Cumberland County 4H Club was on the counter. Maritime Pride also donates to local breakfast programs, breakfast fundraisers, and many other fundraising events throughout each year.
Maritime Pride Eggs is a local company of which to be proud.
To buy my publications, including my new Read More About Amherst, a collection of my last forty columns, go to the Artisans’ Gallery, Amherst Centre Mall; Maritime Mosaic, Dayle’s, Victoria Street, Amherst; Flying Colours, Maccan; and Main and Station, Parrsboro.
Coles carries My dear Alice.
For my seven self-published books and booklets, go to the Cumberland County Museum and Archives and to the YMCA Amherst.
Clare Christie is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.