I’d like to switch all Sysco eggs to Lake Meadow Naturals eggs. They will ship with wild ocean seafood. I know they only come once a week bit we can stock pile and store outside in storeroom. Matt, can you please coordinate with Dale from Lake Meadow? Jumbo is the size. Questions?
Michael sent this email on November 3, and today we will receive our first delivery from Lake Meadow Naturals, an Ocoee, FL farm that specializes in free range, heritage eggs, from chicken and duck to guinea fowl and goose. It’s their geese you see on our new website’s homepage photo rotation.
Of course this is a big commitment, but an important one we are willing to make. The eggs are more than double the cost of the factory eggs from Sysco on which we were relying to supplement what Alice Pena’s boutique operation at PNS Farms could handle of our 120 dozen per week volume. Moving forward, we will serve 100 percent free range Florida chicken eggs.
We were introduced to owner Dale Volkert through a television production company we’re working with. It’s so cool when such a partner also becomes a forager, identifying new sustainable sources that we are able to incorporate into the restaurant!
You might be interested in the notes compiled by executive producer Rochelle Brown and her team about the history and ins-and-outs of Dale’s operation. We’ve included them below, and you can see his vision come to life in our Flickr set here.
Lake Meadow Naturals
Dale Volkert, Owner
Brandon Kunkel, Farm Manager for Animals
Shalamar Summers, Property Manager, horticulturalist
Dale grew up in a dairy and commodity farm in the 50s. Moved to Atlanta 10 yrs ago and began to look for a place to retire with his partner Robert. Found Ocoee Florida and moved to Lake Meadow 6 years ago just to be a home and personal small farm.
Started raising some chickens. Bought geese and ducks in honor of his grandmother. Recently bought cows for his father who passed away. Grew produce for personal consumption. Lake Meadow Naturals Farm started with one chef’s interest in Dale’s eggs and it has evolved to the farm that it is today.
The farm sits on just 10 acres of sustainable land. Dale became interested in teaching others about where their food comes from.
Initially he kept his chickens in an old horse stalls but soon realized that they were not efficient and too hot for the chickens. He tore down those stalls and structures and rebuilt eco-friendly and sustainable chicken houses we see today with fans and roosts that the chickens enjoy and produce flavorful heritage eggs.
Heritage eggs are not genetically altered so that they will be the same size and shape like the ones found in grocery stores. Chickens are fed a healthy diet of corn, soy, grains and well water and lead a normal healthy, free roaming life.
It was a difficult process to get into, as there are many regulations and rules. It is also more costly to manually collect and process eggs but Dale believes eggs of this caliber deserve the attention.
The farm has become a passion of Dale and his team. It has been an evolution from self to community. He became part of Slow Food when there was a lot of initial interest in their product and poured that passion through his farm. Most recently he hosted a fundraiser to help pay for a few Orlando locals to attend the Slow Food summit in Italy.
Dale is not interested in commerciality. He wants to show the way farmed products were produced back in the 50s before it was commercialized. It’s a sustainable way to treat chickens, land and community.
All of their products stay in Florida with the exception of duck eggs that they ship across the country for those with chicken allergies.