The next time a thief shows up at Simerville Farm, he may find himself caught on camera, says Mike Somerville, who owns and operates the farm on Rosedale Road in Montague Township with his wife Danielle Simard.
On Aug. 11 Somerville discovered that only $3.25 was in an “honour box” used by customers to pay for the purchase of farm fresh eggs. A thief had removed the remaining contents, which amounted to cash equal to the purchase of five dozen eggs. The farm sells its eggs for $4 a dozen. A similar incident took place about a month ago.
The farm uses an honour system, trusting customers to pick up their eggs and leave behind the money to pay for them.
Somerville said he reacted by complaining about the theft on social media, “because I was angry.”
On further reflection, he concluded that “It is what you make of it.
“If you focus on the negative of it, it will drag you down.”
If someone is stealing, added Somerville, it is probably because of one of several reasons. The thief might be someone who is genuinely in need, or it might be a bored teenager.
“I would be willing to bet it’s some bored local kid who’s been trapped in his house because of COVID.”
He doesn’t want to get police involved, believing they have more important things to do than track down the theft of “30 bucks.”
Somerville has gone ahead and installed a couple of surveillance cameras to monitor the area. He also put a note in the box reading: “If you are taking my eggs because you cannot afford food right now, please come to the farm house. I will feed you and I will pay you to do some work here. I need the help and you need the help, lets help one another.”
There is always plenty of work to do at the farm, added Somerville. He and his wife purchased the property in a “derelict” condition four years ago, and have been working hard to return the farmland to production, producing beef, chicken, turkey and pork as well as eggs.
As for the honour system, they plan to keep it in place. “I believe in this. The honour system works,” said Somerville. “We’ll keep doing it.”