Celebrating Tradition on an Egg Farm

4/5/2019
L to R: Shawna Gebhart, Jordan Hertzfeld, Tom Hertzfeld II
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By Jordan Hertzfeld
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Hertzfeld Poultry Farm, Grand Rapids, OH

Like most kids, I loved rides.

Only my favorites weren’t at any of Ohio’s amusement parks or carnivals. I preferred hopping on one of the tractors right here at Hertzfeld Poultry Farm, in my hometown of Grand Rapids.

I still do. Only now, I’m the operations manager for our fourth-generation family farm, which provides high-quality eggs to the Toledo area and surrounding communities, as well as to markets in the eastern United States and Canada.

To be honest, I wasn’t always sure I would join the family business. The farm had been a central part of my life since birth, so when I went off to Bowling Green University I had time to experience life beyond the farm. And I missed it. Farming is hard work, but it’s fun, too. I like being on my feet when I work and experiencing something different every day.

Every day on the farm is special, and I know how fortunate we are to be able to provide nutritious and delicious eggs that feed so many Americans. But Easter is a particularly special time for our family — and most other egg farmers.

A highlight is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, an American tradition dating back to 1878. Each year, egg farmers across the country donate thousands of eggs for the event. Those eggs – which are rolled, decorated or eaten on the South Lawn of the White House by thousands of children and families — are just a small part of the nearly 3 billion eggs eaten during the Easter season each year!

One of the reasons I’m so fond of the White House Easter Egg Roll is that I’m a traditionalist at heart (that may explain why my favorite way to eat eggs is sunny side up, with toast). Our family — those who work on the farm, and those who don’t — always returns home to celebrate Easter together. And we all run around the lawn searching for colorfully decorated eggs. It doesn’t matter your age.

I feel that sense of family and pride every day on the farm, too. We are fortunate our business has grown over the years. We can keep doing what we love to do, and I treasure every part of the job. Each day is different, but each day I work together with family and friends. Some days we have to overcome challenges, some days are easier than others, but every day we leave proud knowing we’re providing something wholesome that nourishes people.

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