Locally Laid
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. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.
To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly two thousand chickens—all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-y instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man’s-land known as Middle Agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America’s local food system.
With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple’s ag adventure—and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.

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Locally Laid Reviews

  • Lisa
    May 18, 2017


    I felt the bitter cold and sheer exhaustion experienced by Lucie and Jason. This was a well written and fascinating book about chickens and their eggs -- who knew the topic could be so interesting! Will make me think the next time I buy eggs. ...

  • Kristen
    May 14, 2017


    3.5 stars Glad this seems to be working out fairly well for them, and I'll look for LoLa eggs at my market because I fully agree with humane treatment for the layers of my eggs, as well as supporting "middle ag" and keeping $ local. But damn, I'm kind of surprised she didn't divorce he...

  • Majel
    May 7, 2017


    I would have never picked this book up, and I absolutely loved it. Kate Reading as the audiobook narrator was another huge plus--she is fantastic. Amundsen is honest from the start with the reader, with her tale of shouting at her husband at a restaurant when he proposes starting a chi...

  • Gina
    Apr 6, 2017


    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. ...

  • Michelle Maxwell
    Apr 5, 2017

    Michelle Maxwell

    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 ...

  • Megan Johnsen
    Mar 25, 2017

    Megan Johnsen

    As with all important revelations in my life, I first heard of Locally Laid egg company on MPR. Later, I was passed a copy of the book. I tend to think of my corner of the state as a cultural wasteland, so to read such a witty, intelligent, laugh-out-loud funny book from just shy of an...

  • Steph Winter
    Feb 7, 2017

    Steph Winter

    I loved Amundsen's story about the start-up business she and her husband began to offer an alternative to factory farmed eggs. Their philosophy behind pasture raised poultry is aimed towards offering customers healthy, delicious eggs while promoting local businesses that serve a local ...

  • Delta
    Jan 30, 2017


    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 exa...

  • Krenner1
    Jan 29, 2017


    "I am not a risk taker by nature, and there's a case to be made that I'm just a plain weenie." So says Lucie Amundsen as she explains how she and her husband, both more prone to desk jobs, decide to start a pasture-raised chicken farm in Duluth. She is very funny, but along with the wi...

  • Adam  McPhee
    Jan 15, 2017

    Adam McPhee

    A few interesting bits on chickens. Apparently that's where the term rose-coloured glasses comes from, because chickens will peck at anything red, like blood, and end up killing their own. So someone put rose-coloured glasses on the chickens so they couldn't see blood, and said they st...