From the day that we let our first small flock of rescue hens out for the very first time, right until today, ‘small’ as been at the heart of what’s allowed us to grow bigger. It’s family farms across the country – more than 100 from Georgia to Kansas – that have joined us on this journey, and every day we get emails from more wanting to sign up.
Every farm that we work with is independently owned and operated, and often by single families, mom, pop, kids and all. We have agreements in place to purchase all the eggs that they produce at a fair and reasonable price, just as they agree to follow our very specific standards and best practices. As with all that we do, we apply the principles of the stakeholder model to this relationship, and hold each other mutually accountable. What’s good for us must be good for our growers, and vice versa. (‘growers’ is the name given to farmers who raise hens)
Many of the farms that we work with are in rural communities, and quite often our farmers are Mennonites, which is why you won’t find their pictures below (we respect that their faith forbids it). Most are small farms with a handful of barns, each home to a few thousand birds on several acres of protected pasture.
The standards that we require our growers to follow are extensive, and in addition to our own grower support crew, every farm is regularly audited by a number of 3rd party organizations, such as NICS or Oregon Tilth (who audit against the USDA Organic standards) and HFAC (the folks behind the ‘Certified Humane’ seal), to ensure that we can substantiate our claims.
Farms are also located in what we colloquially call the ‘pasture-belt’, a Goldilocks zone across the country that meets the basic criteria that are required for year ‘round pasture-raising:
not too hot or dry in the summer (our girls get uncomfortable if it gets too hot outdoors)
decent annual rainfall to allow for fertile fields, but not so much that it gets muddy, not so cold in the winter that birds have to stay indoors, and little to no snow fall so our girls can always get to the grass) Tree coverage varies from farm to farm, but we love it when the land is just right for the girls to explore their full range!
For the sake of efficiency of collection, washing, packing and distribution, it’s also important that any of the farms that we work with are not too far from a processing center. We want to get the eggs from their farms to your table as quickly as we can after all!
Check out the video below that features a few of our farmers