Biodynamic produce is on the rise, according to Gippsland free range egg producer Ian Onley, who says he's struggling to keep up with demand.
He supplies mainly a Melbourne market with between 600 and 1000 dozen biodynamic eggs each week from his his Bullfrog Gully Produce farm at Gormandale.
"People come back for the flavour and they're prepared to pay that little bit extra to get that taste," he said.
"You can see the difference as soon as you crack open a biodynamic egg, the yolk sits up high and stays in a ball and the white clings around the yolk."
On average, a dozen eggs retail for $12-$13.
The operation consists of between 3000 and 4000 free range hens at any given time, with a new flock of 2500 chicks added every 12 months with the mature chooks sold onto "backyarders" who keep the hens for private use.
"All biodynamic produce has to be on pasture and have access to fresh, green grass," Mr Onley said.
"It's similar to organics but it goes a step further because we use a preparation that is really efficient at turning organic matter into humus in the soil and humus is plant food."
The process prevents the use of fertilizers, limiting the spread of pests such as the redlegged earth mites and lucerne fleas, eliminating the need for pesticides.
"All the food that the chickens eat has to be certified so we buy certified wheat from grain growers mostly in the northern part of Victoria and we milk about 20 cows and culture milk for the chickens overnight," Mr Onley said.
"It's thick-like yoghurt and the acidic nature of the yoghurt helps to control the worms ... and it produces an egg with a fantastic flavour."
The certified farm, which follows the Australian Demeter Bio-Dynamic Method, started about 20 years ago with 200 chooks and since then has grown in size and popularity.
"I've never been able to keep up with demand," Mr Onley said.
"I'd encourage people to get into this ... it's a lot of work but it's very rewarding to see the final product."