Proud family cracks COVID with egg provenance (Eggstra Dec 2020)
Phenomenal growth in social media traffic, and the subsequent decision to switch to more online marketing and home delivery, led to an increase in new customers for the third generation run Casaccio Egg Farm operation.
This was especially apparent during the panic-buying stage that occurred between Phase 1 and Phase 4 of coronavirus restrictions being introduced.
Based at Werribee on the outskirts of Melbourne, the Casaccio family has a passion for producing top quality eggs in an ethical and sustainable farming system that employs industry best-practices.
Already well-known in the local community, Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdowns further increased the farm’s popularity with wider Melbourne consumers who started looking for local, natural produce – and actively sought to support their local businesses.
During the initial phases of lockdown earlier this year, Casaccio Egg Farm director Lina CasaccioSfetcopoulos said customers were quick to flock to the farm for supplies – often travelling up to an hour each way to buy eggs direct.
“We had about 200 followers on our Facebook page in March and when we encouraged them to come and shop for their fresh eggs at the farm, we were inundated with customers,” she said. “Queues extended outside our farm gate on to the main road and we ran out within hours. Our social media post got shared-out nearly 200 times and we were no longer Melbourne’s best kept secret. In the next few weeks, our following continued to go viral and we decided to expand online sales and egg deliveries into the city – and within a 45 kilometre radius of the farm.”
Followers on the Casaccio Egg Farm Facebook page grew to more than 2000 people by July. And when Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the introduction of tough Phase 4 virus restrictions to people’s movements in the first week of August, there was another immediate spike of about 30 per cent in the farm’s online orders.
Mrs Casaccio-Sfetcopoulos said the business had now expanded its online sales service from one delivery person working three days per week to now working five days a week delivering to customer’s family homes. This system is designed to be convenient, safe and contactless. “It goes to show the power of social media platforms as a marketing strategy,” she said. “And it highlights the dramatic growth we have seen in our reputation as a reliable supplier of a consistently high quality product that can be delivered right to the doorstep of our loyal clients in a safe manner.”
With Italian roots, the Casaccio family has a strong passion for food and shares a real desire to inspire good nutrition using farm fresh produce. The importance of good food, home cooking and eating together has been part of their culture for many generations and COVID-19 has deepened the focus on sharing this love with its egg users.
It is now commonplace for the farm’s customers – described as ‘fellow foodies’ – to bring their baked and cooked goods back to the farm to share, and for the extended Casaccio family members to post recipes and photos of their own favourite dishes.
“Our loyal buyers are returning again and again and telling us our eggs are vastly superior to what they can buy off the shelf from many retailers,” Mrs Casaccio-Sfetcopoulos said. The passionfruit sponge featured in this article, made by our regular customer Doris, might just be one of the best show cases of our eggs ever. Doris shares a tip for anyone thinking of attempting a similar creation: “I find the bigger the eggs, the better the sponge,” she says. “We are so lucky to have tasted some wonderful Casaccio eggs in fabulous food from our lovely customers – and to also see our product in such high demand.”
Mrs Casaccio-Sfetcopoulos attributes success of the business to the freshness of its product, highlighted by the fact that many of the Casaccio Egg Farm eggs are laid by the hens in the morning, graded on-site and sold at the farm gate – or delivered – the next day. “If it’s not the next day, delivery is within two or three days,” she said. “We have a five to six- week ‘best before’ period for our eggs. But customers tend to use the them well within this timeframe because they find the flavour, colour and performance in baking and other dishes so good. And because they know the origin of the eggs – having most likely visited the farm – they are also well aware of our provenance, food safety and sustainable production practices.”
The Casaccio Egg Farm was established and built-up by Italian migrants Gregorio and Emanuela Casaccio and their three sons in 1966, with 2000 hens in their small backyard farm. Since then, its flock has been developed and expanded to significantly increased numbers. The operation now uses environmentally friendly and automated hen houses, free range systems and a state-of-the-art grading floor.
Business expansion has been in-line with the evolution of egg industry standards and to cater for growing market demand. Third generation farm managers Greg, Nunz and Tony take great pride in producing eggs that are of highest standard and place top priority on the flock’s welfare. The third generation are now operating the farms, under the watchful eye and guidance of parents Paul and Josie Casaccio (recently semi-retired) who have a combined 99 years of experience in the poultry industry.
Mrs Casaccio-Sfetcopoulos said core values continued to be unity, respect, loyalty, passion and determination. “With service as a foundational value in the family, the notion of family extends all the way out to our valued employees and customers, where we establish meaningful relationships with our community,” she said. “We continue to build our family’s legacy, working hard every day, to ensure we are exceeding our customer’s expectations delivering the freshest, healthiest and tastiest eggs – 365 days of the year. Our hard-working family is dedicated to producing the best eggs possible for the local community and neighbouring suburbs in Melbourne. We are giving our egg customers good old-fashioned service that comes from the heart. Our long-term aim continues to be to connect with our egg buyers in a way that inspires them to eat healthier and live a better life. As we focus on the future of the business and continue to evolve, we will always value our roots from the past and keep our family traditions alive.”
As an ongoing marketing strategy, Casaccio Egg Farm is promoting and supporting use of its own and the Australian Eggs Facebook and Instagram accounts. These platforms are allowing locked-down consumers and others outside Victoria to access and share terrific recipes using eggs.