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Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - from Scratch

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,457 ratings  ·  259 reviews
How a Midwestern family with no agriculture experience went from a few backyard chickens to a full-fledged farm—and discovered why local chicks are better.

When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he’d tell her over dinner—that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Avery
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,457 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2016-release
I have a little hipster in me, an alternate personality I picture as a guy with a man-bun who loves hot yoga and kefir and raises chickens in a backyard coop just rickety enough to look cute on Instagram. It’s the same part that spurs me to drop money on organic brands at the grocery store and thinks it would be a great idea to decorate the house with antique canning jars.

I have the best, the crunchiest of intentions. Sometimes I even follow through. My half-full backyard compost bin is proof!

Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: foodie
My disclaimer - I'm from the Duluth area, so I'm familiar with the name, the product, and parts of Locally Laid's story already. I was there for the Super Bowl commercial voting. I noticed when the eggs started hitting store shelves. I read the articles in the paper. What this book did was fill in the names, faces, and the journey behind the chickens.

Oh my gosh, and what a journey it was - perhaps still is.

What I REALLY appreciated was the brutal honesty in what it took to get this enterprise
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lucie Amundsen's husband is a bit of dreamer and Lucie tells the story of how his big dream, a commercial egg farm that pastures its chickens and feeds the. Organically and from local sources, is told with wit and humor. If you enjoy ag stories with realistic struggles and happy endings, you'll love this. Along the way Lucie explains the theories and practices that inform their decisions. ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am biased because the author is a friend, but this is a delightful and informative book. Her writing is very much like her conversation, which I always think is a mark of a good writer. She offers useful insights into modern agriculture, and she's funny and warm. What's not to love? ...more
Survival stories aren't just about surviving abuse, neglect, crime, war, poverty, health traumas, disabilities, or acts of god. Survival stories are also like this story -- how a family, a marriage, and a whole lot of chickens survived a business start-up by an inexperienced idealistic couple who truly were naifs going into mid-sized egg production. It is pretty miraculous that they survived and stayed in business.

One summer night, Jason and Lucie are out for dinner without kids, just a rare rom
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-read
I live about a half mile down the dirt road from where the Amundsen's had their first chicken pasture. I would drive by daily and wonder in delight at this unusual setup. My son's best friend helped do chicken chores back then so I feel connected to their story through reciprocity. I also, because their farm is local, buy their eggs and have started picking berries in their fields. Long disclaimer I guess. Anyway, this book was thoroughly entertaining and informative. I've flirted with the idea ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this in a few days. Delightful. Duluth area couple want to go from keeping a few chickens in their backyard to starting a small business. Well, the husband wants this more than the wife at first. Some funny shenanigans, so real truths. The best part of the book is the writing, and the candor with which the author shares her families journey, and we learn along with them. This one is our April book club book. So glad I read this.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: farming
I thought this would be a really good farm start-up kind of book, but it wasn't that great. Lucie's husband decided on kind of a whim that he wanted to be a mid-level egg farmer and when shortly afterward he got laid off they decided to go for it. But it meant renting land since they owned two houses and couldn't buy anything. All around it seemed like they just made mistake after mistake and bad decision after bad decision. They got a lot of local media attention when they entered a contest to ...more
Karl Jorgenson
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lucie is a wonderful author and an idiot. She and her husband (mostly her husband) decided to save the world by producing pasture-raised chicken's eggs. Like everything else in this world, the devil is in the details. What makes this book worth reading is Lucie's expert storytelling and humorous voice. Her prose makes the desperate struggle to create a mid-scale egg producer heartwarming, funny, touching, and satisfying. The actual work trends toward soul crushing. ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have zero — no, less than zero — interest in chickens or the egg industry. But more than a story about their business, Lucie B. Amundsen tells a story about marriage, partnership and the desire to create a better world. This book is easy to read, funny and also full of knowledge. Great read.
Kristin Boldon
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this aloud to my family on a recent road trip. I had some saucy jokes to explain but overall, they all liked it and I really appreciated seeing the character arcs on my re-read.

Charming, sweet, sad, funny, well-written, and educational, this memoir and book about middle agriculture was a delight to read.

Support a writer and farmer; buy this book, read this book. It will make you smile and you'll learn stuff.
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
An entertaining memoir about the author and her husband's founding of an egg farm in Minnesota. There are informative Pollan-esque asides about agriculture, the author is sassy and funny, and it's nice they pulled it off. ...more
Kath McStay
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Informative, interesting and inspiring.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this memoir - and learned a lot about chickens!
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It was fun experiencing life with this family as they dived headfirst and with little experience into the world of farming. I learned about middle agriculture- a food term I was unfamiliar with.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lucie B. and Jason Amundsen started their plucky, clucky, audacious chicken-and-egg farm (turns out the chicken comes first) in 2012 in Northeastern Minnesota and lived to tell about it.
"Locally Laid," the book (it's also their trade name) serves as a cautionary tale for those who may be thinking of leaving the rat race and entering the idyllic life of producing food in the country. You need to read only a few chapters to realize that the rat race is much, much easier, and the idyllic life only
Michelle Maxwell
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I have much newfound respect for the middle-agriculture poultry industry, and even greater respect for Lucie Amundsen. While insightful and informative, her brutal honesty and wit made this a delight to read. No rose colored glasses here. She lays everything out unapologetically - and it's lovely. With so many little one-off stories of triumph and frustration, I was thoroughly entertained. The fact that she's also a local author just adds to the cake.

And come on, how can you not love a book abo
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read Locally Laid for my book group. Although I keep a trio of hens in my urban backyard, for some reason I wasn't really expecting to like this book. I had been lucky enough to score a copy at St. Vinnie's the day after we had agreed to read it, and as I was between books I thought, "Here goes nothing!" and dug in. Locally Laid is written in a wry, sometimes snarky, voice by a woman who has relocated from Minneapolis to Duluth for her husband's job. Job loss and a family crisis cause the husb ...more
Sandi Davis
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub
It has been interesting to me to watch Locally Laid has develop their business, I live in the Duluth area and voted for them in the Super Bowl competition. This book is much more than the story of their small business, there is so much more about the state of farming and our food sources. Lucie's style of writing is fun and informational at the same time. Makes me want to start my own little chicken farm, shop at farm markets and check out the whole foods coop. ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Read it. I picked this one up from a Little Free Library in my neighborhood. I’d heard of and eaten Locally Laid eggs. I’ve even eaten the hopefully spoken of berry diversification honeyberries they now grow. So it was fascinating to read this account of the founding. Lucie is a writer, funny and smooth. She offers lots of personal anecdotes and just made me want to keep reading about how darn hard it is to start a farm, a middle ag farm. Glad I read it!
I enjoyed learning about midsize farms, the egg industry, and this Minnesotan farm. I appreciate that they are producing pasture raised eggs. It's much better for the chickens, for the egg consumers, and the world. ...more
Naomi Yaeger
Lucie Amundsen’s Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - from Scratch took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. From frustration to happiness to sadness to pondering about what will be around the corner. I’ve “read’ it twice on Audible. Kate Reading narrates it and does an excellent job. The only glitch I noticed is that Kate Reading mispronounced Shakopee, but that doesn’t affect the story and only those familiar with the Minneapolis/St. Paul suburbs would notice. ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Funny, kept me chuckling but felt a bit short.. or maybe that’s because the kindle version stopped at like 82%. Slow at times, found myself losing interest but otherwise I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Over the last several years, the local food movement has become, well...a thing. People are becoming more aware of just how many resources their Big Ag food requires, and that it will not be - CANNOT be - sustainable over the long term. In response to that knowledge, there are more "backyard" farms popping up, and more businesses designed to be part of the local food in their area. Locally Laid is one such business. In the book, Lucie Amundsen describes just how their family ended up as one of t ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-pub, arc, non-fiction

Let me say I am firmly a city girl. We sold my car, we take the el, we walk to the grocery, and we walk to school. I may have shrieked when I had to pick up a baby chick for my daughter at the petting zoo last year. Maybe. Why I thought I should read a book about a chicken farm I really don’t know – but let me tell you I am so glad that I did! I enjoyed it so much that along with Avery I’m giving away a copy – so read all the way down!

Lucie tells a great s
Sharon Siepel
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is for farmers, gardeners, foodies, and anyone interested in starting a home-grown business with their spouse, Lucie Amundsen chronicles her family's adventure that started when her husband, a professional grant writer, decided he wanted to start a pasture-raised egg farm. You might think that's crazy. And it is. However, my parents did the same thing in the early 70's and in the 1940's, Betty McDonald penned the "Egg and I" regarding a very similar venture. I am not sure what it is ab ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir, food
I think this is an important cautionary tale for those who have romantic images of pre-industrial agriculture in their minds and think starting their own sustainable farm is as easy as letting nature do its work. And while I learned a decent amount about middle ag. and chicken keeping, it discouraged me from getting a few backyard birds rather than teaching me how to do it right.

I was already familiar with the Locally Laid brand and though I wonder how "industry-changing" it was, I do typically
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm somewhat interested in the process of raising chickens, so I thought this would be interesting. It is, but there was a lot of information about the process of Locally Laid's huge farm operation, and their crazy publicity that I skipped over. I found myself very, very sympathetic to Lucie, who agrees to leave her awesome life in the city to move to a rural area and start a chicken farm simply based on her husband's whims. I would have left that guy and never looked back. And I would have dema ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I, too, have a husband with lofty dreams and I could really relate to the stress Amundsen suffered for so long. My heart went out to her every time something else went wrong, when they fell behind the budget and schedule. And when her card didn't work! I almost cried because I know exactly how that feels and the embarrassment that comes with it. But mostly I enjoyed how Amundsen told her story. Even though it was full of events that could have sent their goals completely off the rails, she alway ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Some people dream of plush jobs with large paychecks and little effort. The author’s husband dreamt of cage-free chickens and organic eggs. As the author will tell readers, it is very difficult to start your own business and the odds are greater when you are literally dealing with chicken brains. This is a story of how five back yards birds turned into a multi partner company producing fresh eggs in three Midwestern states in about four years. While I do not think readers will rush out to start ...more
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Lucie B. Amundsen is a writer, marketer and reluctant farmer.
She and her husband co-own Locally Laid Egg Company, a farm that provides pasture-raised eggs in Northern Minnesota and partners with a total of seven other mid-level producers. These farms source and sell within their own regions to reduce food miles and strengthen local economies.
A former contributor to the Minneapolis Star Tribune

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