A local farmer is not surprised that emu eggs are in huge demand and gaining interest from restaurants, bodybuilders and retirees.
While there used to be over 30 emu farms in the Riverina, the owner of the Marrocka Emu Farm at The Rock Ian Marston said he is the only one left and as a result there is increasing demand.
“In March emu farming made a comeback because they discovered that emu oil has the super vitamin k2, which boosts the immune system,” Mr Marston said.
“People are interested in emus and farmers have almost doubled their stock as the eggs are selling well.
“I’ve had interest from a few restaurants in Melbourne and Victoria.”
Mr Marston said that he “missed out” on selling his emu eggs after an issue with his incubator caused inside temperatures to rise four degrees, which cooked about 360 eggs.
“I had to redo it again and as a result I didn’t advertise as there weren’t many eggs available for sale, but people still chased us down,” he said.
While Mr Marston said emu farming was unpredictable, he remained positive about the strength of its future.
“Back in the early 1990s, there was a big phase with emus and they were labelled as the next big thing, but after bird flu ripped through the industry many farms shut down,” he said.
“One minute the industry is up and the next it’s down; one year you have surplus for oil and fat and then the next you get nothing.
“But, I think the discoveries of emu eggs and the vitamin in the oil will push emus forward into a big developing industry,” he said.
Mr Marston said the taste is a “bit stronger” than regular hen eggs, but they are “excellent” for pastries and french toast.
The dark emerald eggs equate to about eight chicken eggs and Mr Marston said farmers receive about $10 per egg, while the retail price is between $20 to $40 each.
Trail Street Coffee Shop’s third-year apprentice chef Hannah Newnham said the unique Aussie product is used in Aboriginal culture.
“The eggs are massive and therefore can feed a lot of people and are rich in protein,” Ms Newnham said.
“This is not a new phenomenon, the Indigenous population have been using emu eggs not only in cooking but also for medicinal purposes.
“I think they’re definitely making a comeback because there’s a push towards Australian and native cuisine and they’re quite rare to find in the wild.”
Ms Newnham worked in remote Western Australia and said she was given these eggs as a gift by the locals.
“We’ve used them for scrambled eggs, omelettes or we’ve broken them in dishes,” she said.
“I think people are interested in native produce and also there are people who are after the health benefits.”