Daniel McCaughan used to sell gelato in New York City. Lancaster County Amish farmers sold him milk to make his product.
When Covid-19 closed restaurants, McCaughan’s gelato market tanked. Then a Peach Bottom farmer suggested that McCaughan might use his market connections to sell milk for him. And, by the way, how about eggs from a few hundred Khaki Campbell ducks.
The eggs were a big hit, so McCaughan and the farmer created a line called “Brother Daniel’s Free Range Amish Eggs.” The eggs are popular with trendy restaurants from Lancaster County to New York City, McCaughan recently told Channel 27 in Harrisburg.
OK, so let’s discuss duck eggs in greater detail. The Scribbler suspects that few readers have eaten a duck egg. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs and have a mildly wild flavor. They are, in the Scribbler’s view, far superior.
The Scribbler ate duck eggs (as well as dozens and dozens of ducks) while growing up on the Brubaker Duck Farm in Bird-in-Hand. Before the farm shut down 60 years ago, it produced more than 100,000 Pekin ducks a year in close quarters. Very different from free ranging. More like factory farming.
The hens’ eggs hatched after spending about a month in an enormous underground incubator. Deficient eggs could be seen clearly through the glass incubator doors. A bad egg turns color or cracks.
The Scribbler’s occasional job was to cull rotten eggs. He picked them out of the incubator and dropped them into a bucket of water for disposal.
One day, too lazy to move the bucket with him as he walked along the incubator, the Scribbler spotted a dud, pulled it out and tossed it about 30 feet toward the bucket. The egg missed by a foot and landed on the incubator cellar’s concrete floor.
In that enclosed space, the resulting explosion resembled the sound of a cherry bomb. Worse, the sulfuric smell escaping from the shell permeated the incubator cellar and drove the Scribbler and a fellow egg checker out the door.
But this column began by discussing tasty duck eggs. No problem. The rotten ones never make it to market.
How to vote correctly
A photograph shows Bernice Quay voting well before Election Day. She has just stepped out of the car of her daughter, Nancy Bradley, and is poised to walk her vote-by-mail ballot to the drop box inside the lobby of the Lancaster County Government Center on Chestnut Street.
That is what the Scribbler and Mrs. Scribbler will have done, too, by the time you read this column. As you read last week, we failed on our first try because we filled out each other’s ballots and had to obtain new ones from the elections office.
“I’ve always been fiercely proud to be an American and to have the right to vote,” comments Quay, a retired Hempfield High School English teacher who lives in Lancaster. “This was an easy way to vote.”
Ten years ago, Quay was named to the Pennsylvania Voters Hall of Fame because she had voted in at least 50 consecutive general elections. Now her total is at least 60.
“Everybody hopes that their vote counts this year,” she says. “I received a message on my computer at the end of the day that I voted. It said that my ballot had been received. My vote will be counted.”
Amid the chaos, something is working right.
n Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes "The Scribbler'' column every Sunday. He welcomes comments and contributions at firstname.lastname@example.org.