In Conversation with Lil’s Yolky Dokey Eggs

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Honouring Lila’s Legacy

16 April 2024

Can you share with us how your daughter Lila and her bucket list dream inspired you to start Lil's Yolky Dokey Eggs, and what it means to you to carry on her legacy through this venture? 

The loss of our daughter, Lil, in February 2018, was sudden and heartbreaking.  

We immediately turned to all her hopes and dreams still unfulfilled. Farming and creating a business in her name was an attempt to keep her in everyone’s thoughts and to honour her with hard work and the love of her family. Lil had always wanted a bush block and to have her own chickens... we just took it to the next level. 

What were some of the challenges you faced when setting up Lil's Farm, and how did you overcome them to make Lila's dream a reality? 

There was only one property available for lease at that time. It had been sitting idle for over a year, completely overgrown and rundown. The agent didn't believe that two women in their late forties with no farming background warranted any consideration. To capture his attention and demonstrate the seriousness of our intentions, we paid 12 months' rent upfront. As female farmers in a male-dominated industry, we have certainly required a level of resilience. This, matched with navigating our way through our grief while supporting our children and farming long hours, has been immensely challenging. 

Can you explain the concept of pasture-raised eggs and how it differs from free-range? What makes your eggs unique in terms of quality and the happiness of your hens? 

Our chickens live and sleep in mobile chicken caravans, free to roam and forage outdoors on pasture 24/7. They have access to the natural world, feeling the wind in their feathers and the warmth of the sun. They have a permanent source of high-quality, nutritionally balanced grain, but they also have the freedom to supplement their diet with grass, bugs, worms, and insects. At Yolky Dokey, we maintain 60 hens per hectare, in contrast to 'free range' egg production, which can house up to 10,000 hens per hectare in large sheds with doors open to the outdoors. 

Our ladies are living the dream, protected by their big, white, fluffy Maremma guardians. 

How have Lila's friends and family been involved in supporting Lil's Yolky Dokey Eggs, and what role have they played in the success of the business? 

Once we had secured our lease, we got to work fixing fences and laneways, installing a silo, and making the site a fully functional working farm. We did this with the help of Lil’s close friendship group and our extended family and friends. Lil’s friends were incredible, and there is no way we could have got up and running without them. They assisted us with all things farming, finding and servicing a tractor, and taught us how to use it along with other farming machinery. They were a constant source of knowledge, encouragement, and support. Lil’s Yolky Dokey Eggs in their pink packaging are a tribute to our beautiful girl but also to her friends and their love and support. 

As you reflect on the journey of Lil's Yolky Dokey Eggs over the past six years, what are your hopes and plans for the future of the business, and how do you see it growing while still staying true to Lila's dream? 

We are incredibly grateful for the support our community has given us, and we are super proud of the product and brand we have created. However, we are also in a difficult position because we are farmers who do not own our own land. Our aim is to continue to produce Lil’s Yolky Dokey Eggs for our customers and we are passionate about honouring our daughter’s name and her legacy. As a well-established business with 4,500 chickens and 8 Maremma livestock guardian dogs, having land to farm on is critical.  

We are currently taking expressions of interest and are looking for land to lease so that we can continue farming pasture-raised eggs on the Mornington Peninsula. As a scalable business, we are seeking contract growers interested in joining the regenerative farming community and contributing to our local food system and to the food security of the region. Egg farming experience is not essential, and for anyone interested in starting a new venture with Lil’s Yolky Dokey Eggs, we would offer mentorship and support to get you up and started. 

What opportunities are there for readers who are touched by your story and the mission of Lil's Yolky Dokey Eggs to get involved and support your business? 

If you have 20 acres of land and are interested in starting your own venture as a contract grower or would like to add to your existing portfolio, please head to our website to view our business profile document. We would be very happy to discuss how you can start your own business with the Mornington Peninsula’s iconic Yolky Dokey Eggs, providing instant income in a thriving market.