Name: Fiona Brice
Business: Havensfield Eggs
Role: Joint Director
"A career in agriculture has provided me with fantastic opportunities and I am surrounded by inspirational women across the farming community.”
Havensfield Eggs is a family business run by first-generation farmers Fiona and Alaistaire. Together they produce fully traceable free range eggs from their farm in Hoxne, Suffolk.
The pair started their free range egg business in 2003 with just 300 chickens and a small grader on rented land. Today, the pair have created a successful brand with 20,000 hens of their own as well as 130,000 birds from other local family run farms, supplying over 700,000 eggs a week across East Anglia.
All farms are within 40 miles of Havensfield Eggs’ packing station, where eggs are graded, packed and delivered, often within two days of being laid. Fiona has a hands on role in this packing side of the business, loading delivery vans and grading eggs to ensure the best quality.
On top of this, Fiona manages the general direction of the business and looks after her three children aged 13, 10 and eight. Before starting the business, Fiona studied a degree in sport and exercise science at Exeter, and following this went into teaching.
Fiona says: “My career plans changed after having children and every time I went on maternity leave I got more involved in the business. It didn’t take long for me to realise my passion was for life on the farm and I decided to work full-time with Alaistaire. I love the lifestyle it allows me. I’m in control, working for myself and able to make my own decisions which is extremely rewarding. I’m so proud of everything Alaistaire and I have accomplished.”
Havensfield Eggs has supplied East of England Co-op stores with freshly laid eggs from their free range hens since April 2010. Fiona describes the relationship as ‘honest and fair’ which gave Fiona and Alaistaire the confidence to grow and expand.
Fiona says: “The Co-op was always interested in the business and able to offer friendly advice and support. By keeping things local we can pass our savings on to customers and guarantee the quality of our eggs – the Co-op shares this passion for keeping things local which is fantastic.”
Outside of work Fiona enjoys staying active with hockey and cross fit. Her love of sport and the outdoors is something she has passed on to her three children who are ‘hockey and tennis mad’.
She says: “Alaistaire and I have a strong work ethic and we try to set a good example to our children. As a parent, I’m proud to show my daughter there are no barriers because of gender. A career in agriculture has provided me with fantastic opportunities and I am surrounded by inspirational women across the farming community. For anyone looking to start their own business I would say be prepared to take risks and grab every opportunity you can. People will be there to support you.”
Fiona believes the future of local produce is bright because more people are realising the benefits of buying local and supporting producers in their own region. Furthermore, eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals so are considered by many to be a superfood. So if current health trends continue, the amount of eggs we consume is set to increase.
She says: “We are constantly investing in innovation, new products, and technology, packaging and marketing ideas to ensure we continue to grow in the future. We are even looking at producing liquid egg and even separating the egg white from the yolk. This is very niche and something that isn’t done locally so we’re really excited.”
For further information on Havensfield Eggs visit www.havensfieldeggs.co.uk