Lehigh Valley

Pursing passions and changing perceptions: Alec's Free Range Eggs

Blue Sky Cafe gets their eggs from a Kutztown business owner with Down syndrome

Pursing passions and changing perceptions

Each week Bethlehem's Blue Sky Cafe uses 12 cases of eggs, with 15 dozen in each case.

That's where Alec Mertz and his free range chickens come in.

The 24 year old from Kutztown sells up to ten dozen eggs per week to the cafe.

"They have the best food ever," Alec said.

Between watering, feeding, and gathering, it's a full time job, all done on his family's farm.

Alec was born with Down syndrome but his Mom Pattie said that hasn't stopped him from pursuing his passion.

"We all have high expectations for Alec and because of the environment he was in rose to the occasion," Pattie said.

Alec, who finished a three year program at East Stroudsburg University, started his business last fall at a local farmer's market.

But now every Friday he unloads the fridge, packs the car, and delivers his eggs to the cafe.

A one year farming internship with Cathy Fields at Flint Hill Farm in Coopersburg planted the business model seed.

Both Pattie and Kathy hope that Alec can be an example of breaking perceptions of what people think those with Down syndrome or special needs can and can't do.

"Alec taking his talents and creating his chicken house feeding his chickens daily taking his eggs to the market. That provides him with independence," Kathy said.

So the big question is, do Alec's eggs pass the taste test?

"They're amazingly good, fresh. I've never seen yellow yolks like that. Won't be able to find in a grocery store," Sneeringer said

More paydays are in Alec's future; he's expanding his business by buying more chickens and hopes to have more restaurants on his menu.

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