The Husband & Wife Duo Behind Show-Me Eggs
On a plot of land in the Show-Me State of Missouri lies Show-Me Eggs – a farm run by the husband and wife duo, John and Lachelle.
We roll up the long, sun-kissed rocky driveway in our white Vital Farms Subaru. The doors swing open to 55 acres of pasture land, where the sound of hens chatting in the distance is a constant audible backdrop among the green, wooded landscape.
John and Lachelle have been raising hens with Vital Farms for two years. However, they’re no strangers to farm life. This busy couple owns multiple farming businesses, totaling to eleven different LLCs. Before the Vital Farms barn, cows have always been their specialty.
“We started this to build extra farm income. Diversification is everything in farming because not one thing pays the bills anymore. Cows alone aren’t going to cut it. My father runs a logging company, and I also help him with that. But as my kids get older, it’s going to take more than just one income to survive – chickens seemed like a good idea. We’ve enjoyed it a lot since we started,” John shares, wearing thick-rimmed glasses and a kind, comfortable smile.
“I like raising chickens because it’s pretty simple. They wake up, lay their eggs, go outside, mosey around, and come back every day. With cows, I have to make sure they’re moved, fed, etc. I do like my cows, and I’ll never not have cows. But chickens are a nice change of pace.”
“We really care about our birds. In fact, our birds are treated better than most people.”
John was raised by a family of farmers. His father had hogs and cattle, and his grandfather was a dairyman. “My family has been here since 1840 on land about a mile from here. I remember milking cows as a kid…” John reminisced. “I was an only child, and my father was an only child, so our farms stayed in the family, and nothing was broken up.”
Lachelle’s childhood looked a little different. “My parents had some property with a few cows and the occasional calf. I grew up in Missouri and went to school with John. We were high school sweethearts. We got married when we were 20 years old. I went to school for teaching and have my master’s degree in special education. I taught for five years. When I quit teaching, I stayed home for a while and started helping more with farm life and doing the bookkeeping. He was raised on farms,” Lachelle nods to John, “and then I fell in love with it.”
“In today’s world, people don’t know where their food comes from anymore. There’s a lot that goes into producing food. It doesn’t just happen.”
“This is a family-owned business; we do this as a family. We have three kids. It’s not uncommon for them to be hanging out and playing in a brush pile with the chickens,” Lachelle laughs as John adds, “Sometimes you won’t even see our son, J.R.; he’ll just be out here playing in the wilderness!”
Lachelle continues, “I didn’t know I liked chickens until I got chickens. They’re special birds and hilarious animals with some of the funnest behaviors. I named some – John makes fun of me – but there are certain ones in the same spot every day, so they get named! Let’s see…there’s Jolene…oh, and Karen – she lays her egg in the cool cell (the barn’s air conditioning unit) every day,” she chuckles at the absurdity of collecting Karen’s cool cell eggs and then lets it go as she shrugs, “They’re funny!
“We really care about our birds. In fact, our birds are treated better than most people. They get to eat whatever they want, have full access to water, and can go outside whenever they choose. Our birds have a really good life. They probably have it better than most backyard chickens. I don’t think backyard farmers put cooling units in their chicken coops, but we provide that for them so they can live comfortably.”
“You can see the difference between our eggs vs. other eggs,” John adds, “I take some to my grandmother, and she’s amazed by how the yolks are brighter, deeper in color, and rich. Just truly amazed by how much better they are.”
“Plus, you can buy these eggs at the grocery store, so you don’t have the stress about hitting up a farmer’s market every Saturday,” notes Lachelle. “That said, in today’s world, people don’t know where their food comes from anymore. There’s a lot that goes into producing food. It doesn’t just happen.”
John and Lachelle have been in the farming business for some time now, but they keep their minds open, viewing every day as a learning experience.
“To those interested in farming, get in a barn and gain experience. Learn what you’re getting into – you can never ask enough questions. It’s a huge commitment, so just make sure you’re ready,” Lachelle advises – straight from the heart of a farmer.