finest* brown eggs

Farmer Andrew Watson on what it takes to bring delicious eggs to your table.

Andrew Watson: My day begins around 6:30 in the morning when I wonder down to the sheds ready for the chickens waking up. So for a chicken it has a lovely, simple life really, an enjoyable one where it's got the freedom to roam inside the shed for the food and water, run around the fields and coming back whenever it likes.

Tom Willings: Keeping well?

Andrew Watson: Yeah, not too bad, thanks.

Tom Willings: Good. Andrew's a bit of a unique individual, aren't you, chap?

Andrew Watson: Can be.

Tom Willings: But the farm itself is spectacularly maintained. It's spot on, it's at the cutting edge, really, of free-range egg production.

Andrew Watson: I've been farming for chickens for near on 20 years now. I like chickens because it gives us a good challenge to produce good quality eggs with it all. You take them in at a young age before they start laying the eggs so it's to us, the responsibility, to get them to grow, to get the right body weights on and then we choose when we're going to bring them in to lay. From a free-range perspective, from there, is that the birds have open access to the fields from first thing in the morning to last thing at night when the sun goes down.

Tom Willings: If they haven't got what they need - and the basics are feed, water, ventilation - if they're not right, every single every day, they won't lay eggs, they simply will not lay eggs, so it's massively important that they're happy.

Andrew Watson: So what I'm just doing at the moment is running the eggs off. They're coming off a conveyor belt which is by the side of the nest box inside. Egg quality, to me, is very important, as a farmer, because it's my produce, it's what I'm producing, so therefore it's like a measure of my capabilities and how well I look after the birds. So it gives me a lot of pride to be able to keep chickens to a high standard and in a free-range welfare system, it's good satisfaction.

Tom Willings: Come on, Andrew, perfection, we want perfection.

Andrew Watson: That's it. We've got perfect chickens and you've got to get the perfect egg to do the chickens justice.

Tom Willings: It's the same product that we're putting into the Tesco Finest supply chain that Andrew is thoroughly enjoying every day of the week for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Andrew Watson: It's a good, tasty British product and for Tesco to be able to sell it as that, I really want to do my best and that's what I do.

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