An Interview with Matt
So, what was your motivation for getting chickens?
For fresh eggs and to have local food in my own backyard.
Are they easy to take care of?
Easier than cats.
Do you feel like they’re your pets?
Would you eat them?
No—but we would be okay if somebody else did. We’re of the theory that, if you want to eat it, don’t name it. We have a saying: You can eat chicken, but you can’t eat Mrs. Darcy or Henrietta. (Those are their chickens.)
How often do they lay eggs?
It depends on the breed and it varies from season to season. On average it’s about less than one egg per day. They go through different cycles, like for example they don’t lay any when they’re molting, and they lay less in the winter because it’s light dependent, too.
What are the parameters for having chickens live in your backyard in the middle of a city?
In Ann Arbor you can have four hens maximum and no roosters. They have to be kept in an enclosed area—and that includes having a roof over head. They also have to be a certain number of feet from the neighbors and if you want to keep them any closer, you have to get permission from the neighbors—which is funny because a lot of my neighbors have dogs that come into our yard and they haven’t asked me for permission.
What kind of an effect has this experience had on your view of eggs? Are you an egg snob?
Oh my god, yes! It’s very hard to eat eggs at a restaurant now. Even if you buy the premier organic egg from the store, it’s never as satisfying—the yolks aren’t as yellow and the white part, the albumen, isn’t as firm. Also our eggs just taste better—even when they’re plain, they taste like you’ve put cream or cheese in them.
The other thing is that the eggs are a different shape and size every time. The kind that you buy at the store have been sorted and chosen for their size and anything that doesn’t match gets wasted. Our eggs are good for us, too. The probability of our eggs having pathogens is statistically near zero.
Has your perspective of food changed since growing and producing your own?
Yes. Even though we talk about it philosophically—eating locally grown food, eating close to the earth—there’s no way to be more connected to our food than by growing it ourselves.
What is your favorite way to prepare eggs?
Eggs en Cocotte.
Thanks so much! This was really helpful.
Thanks for doing this!
More about Matt...
Matthew Grocoff is Founder and CEO of GreenovationTV, LLC. He is a recovering attorney turned producer/director of television commercials, internet advocacy videos and documentary film. Matt has produced or directed over 100 television commercials with some of the most prestigious agencies and media firms.
He is privileged to be working with The Environment Report, syndicated on NPR stations nationwide, to create an ongoing series of Greenovation segments to provide practical tips to help listeners green their homes.
Matt is also an accomplished woodworker, avid sailor, backyard chicken enthusiast, emerging gardener, a California gray whale naturalist, and . . . a new daddy.