This is not your typical story about eggs before Easter.
This is a story about a young farmer, Doug Groenendijk, who got cracking on a unique idea to deliver his product to consumers with an egg vending machine that doesn’t pose the same problems as regular roadside stands. The part about getting cracking, though, has nothing to do with the state of the eggs when they come out of the vending machine – they’re all in one piece.
Anyone who’s recently driven between Crofton and Chemainus on rural Vancouver Island would have noticed the vending machine and probably been surprised to find it contains eggs. Groenendijk sells farm fresh eggs from the machine on the farm he’s renting.
He also has plans in the works to get more chickens and set up a website for the vending machine.
“I’m actually hoping to sell these machines,” Groenendijk added.
It’s certainly turned into a novel idea and captured plenty of attention since he installed the machine in early January.
“That’s spacey,” said one patron from Esquimalt, who stopped to buy eggs. “I haven’t seen anything like that.”
“It’s a different kind of vending machine,” added Groenendijk. “It’s the only one in North Cowichan.
“Lots of people are quite amazed by it. I get lots of comments, people saying this is a great idea.”
He knows of only one other vending machine for eggs on the Island in Cobble Hill and it’s a slightly different model.
Groenendijk grew up on the family Greendyke Farm operation on Mount Sicker Road before recently starting up his own mainly dairy farming operation that he’s calling Legend Dairy Farms.
He figures it’s the perfect epic name for the site he’s renting from a guy who used to dairy farm there.
Since setting up the egg vending machine, “it’s been working out really well for me so far,” said Groenendijk.
He’s grateful to all the people who are supporting him as a young local farmer.
“I go every day and I put fresh eggs in every day,” Groenendijk explained. “They can’t be any more fresh.
“So far all my eggs are selling. There’s never really any inventory left from the day before. They’re usually sold out.”
The machine can hold up to 50 cartons depending how it’s configured. Groenendijk has the normal dozen egg cartons, but also has 18s.
“I only have two rows dedicated toward 18s,” he indicated.
All are brown eggs that currently sell for $6 a dozen and $9 for 18s.
“I just say all my eggs are ungraded,” said Groenendijk. “They’re any size, shape.”
Figuring out how to operate the machine is a bit perplexing at first, especially for older people who aren’t tech savvy, but it’s actually quite simple.
It’s all operated by a bank card. By not using cash, it deters thieves.
The card must be tapped first for a pre-authorization, then you look in the vending machine for the product you want and type in the number of the selection. You tap your card again at the end to finalize the transaction.
The machine works with a little elevator to safely bring the eggs down to the pick-up spot in a gentle process that ensures none get cracked.
“It’s nice, it keeps the eggs refrigerated as well,” Groenendijk added.
He actually did considerable research before settling on this particular type of machine.
“I think it’s a good option,” Groenendijk said.
“As long as I don’t sell out, there’s eggs available 24/7 for the consumer. It’s not sun up and sun down.”
Egg vending machines that he discovered on the Lower Mainland are a different style with a locker system.
“I would say they’re in their infancy,” Groenendijk observed. “There’s not too many of these egg vending machines yet, but I do think it’s going to be catching on.”
It’s all very exciting for him as he branches into his other new endeavours as well.
“I’m about to start production on my dairy April 5,” Groenendijk said. “I’ll be milking my own cows soon.”
You can also expect to see him in the near future as part of the CTV series Farming For Love. It’s a reality series based on finding love matches for farmers and Groenendijk was selected for the show.
Filming has already been done at the Greendyke farm and details about broadcast dates in the late spring should be released soon.