Egg Types and Packaging

DEFINING EGG TYPES & LABELS

Questions about egg labels? AEB has created a useful fact sheet that addresses common egg types, defines frequently used seals and terms on egg cartons, and explains egg freshness. A printable version is also available to download here

 

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Greg Herbruck

Greg Herbruck

3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Saranac, MI

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch is Michigan’s largest egg farm, producing 60 percent of Michigan’s eggs. The third-generation operation that began with 6,000 hens has been family-owned and operated in Michigan since 1958 and now houses more than five million hens.

 


 

The Herbrucks have 81 hen houses, and raise a number of different breeds of hens, which produce a variety of types of eggs, such as brown organic, cage free and conventional white table eggs. In addition to ensuring bird comfort, egg quality and variety, the Herbrucks are committed to making their farm operations sustainable for future generations.

 

 

Greg Satrum

Greg Satrum

3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Willamette Egg Farms, Canby, OR

Members of the Satrum family have been raising hens since 1852, and officially started Willamette Egg Farms in 1934 when Great Uncle Tom began delivering eggs to businesses in the Portland area. From there, the family farm grew, and today, the third-generation egg farm houses 2.2 million hens and produces more than 1.8 million eggs every day.

 

Joe Patmos

Joe Patmos

3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Sunrise Acres Egg Farm, Hudsonville, MI

Joe Patmos and his brother, Doug, are part of the third generation of farmers at Sunrise Acres Egg Farm. They care deeply and work hard to do right by their hens, the environment and their community in Hudsonville, Michigan.

 


 

About the Farm

 

Joe and Doug’s grandparents, Marvin and June Patmos, started with 100 chickens and 30 acres of farmland in 1949. In the 1980s, their father, Bill, and his brother, Dick, took over daily operations. Today, with more than 7,000 acres, Sunrise Acres remains a family business: Joe oversees Sunrise Acres’ egg operations, while Doug focuses on growing their crops and caring for their baby chicks and hens.

The farm is completely integrated — meaning the Patmos family and team manage nearly the entire process, from planting seed in the fields to grow the feed for their flocks, all the way to delivering the eggs to the customer’s door.

Every day the Patmos’ care for more than 2 million hens and a half-million baby chicks (from one day old) and pullets. They farm and care for the Michigan farmland that feeds their hens, producing corn and soybeans specifically and only for their hen and chick farms. They buy additional grains from local West Michigan farmers, helping to keep those farms sustainable. These ingredients are mixed and processed at the farm’s newly rebuilt feed mill, which produces quality feed specially formulated for each of their flocks under family supervision.

The Patmos’ package their own eggs daily and transport them to market with their Sunrise Acres truck fleet. Having their hands on the entire process — from crop in the field to the customer receiving docks — ensures care and high quality standards are maintained at every step.

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Q&A with Joe Patmos

 

Why did you decide to be a farmer?  

Growing up, I honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a farmer or not. I was raised in a house that was 50 yards away from a hen house, and I was immersed in the lifestyle as a child. I learned from my parents the huge responsibility that comes with caring for animals. Over time, I realized just how much farming was in my blood. After completing business school, I joined our farm full-time and found a passion for being a part of the next generation at Sunrise Acres. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a farmer and to be a part of the next generation of America’s farmers.

What does farming mean to you personally? 

My wife and I both grew up in farm families, so in a lot of ways farming is a lifestyle to us and is a piece of our family and history. Farming also comes with stewardship — caring for hens, the land, the environment, and resources — a personal responsibility not to be taken lightly.

What is the most rewarding part of your work? 

Seeing how everything comes together. We lay the seed and wait; by God’s grace, the harvest comes up in season. We work hard to feed our hens right and care for them to the best of our ability, and they lay a nutritional powerhouse of a food! Also, it is rewarding to be able to provide this incredible food to others inexpensively and to be able to build great relationships with others involved in the food industry.

What would you like people to know about egg farming that they may not?

Caring for animals is a 24/7 job. For the farmer, there is no turning it off. There is so much hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and care from a lot of people that goes into producing an affordable, high-quality protein source for families to pick up at the grocery store.

 

 

 

Karyn Kreher

Karyn Kreher

3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Kreher’s Farm Fresh Eggs, Clarence, NY

Kreher’s Farm Fresh Eggs, a farm run by 17 family members. Since 1924, the Kreher family has been committed to producing, marketing and distributing high-quality, safe and affordable eggs in Western and Central, NY.

 


 

Karyn started working at Kreher’s while she was an undergraduate student studying poultry science. During that summer, one of the previous owners, Don, would take her to the various contract farms to teach me all of the many details of each farm and for hands-on experience.

In her current role as Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, she’s responsible for maintaining Kreher’s food safety and quality standards and making sure that the family adheres to the values that have guided their family for 90 years. To meet the demands of grocery stores, they’ve expanded, while managing to keep the family farm and business strong. She has found that ensuring the safety and quality of eggs for families has been extremely fulfilling.

 

 

Mindy Truex

Mindy Truex

3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Creighton Brothers Farms, Warsaw, IN

In order to continue being the successful family business their fathers envisioned back in 1925, they focus their unwavering attention, first and foremost, to the best care for their hens, on being responsible stewards of the land, and by providing superior standards for product quality and food safety.

 


 

Mindy Truex is proud of her work as a third-generation egg farmer who is committed to caring for her animals and providing nutritious, affordable eggs. She works on a large range of projects and helps keep her 160+ family owners informed. Every day, the family and employees care for 3 million hens, 5,000 sows and 9,000 acres of crop ground.

Located in Warsaw, Indiana, Creighton Brothers produces eggs, pork, corn and soybeans. Their eggs are also processed for use in foodservice and manufacturing and as ready-to-eat hard boiled eggs.

 

 

 

Vanessa Brey

Vanessa Brey

4th Generation Egg Farmer
Brey’s Egg Farm, Bethel, NY

 

Founded in 1932 by Harold Brey, the egg farm is today run by Harold’s grandson Daniel Brey, his wife Nancy, and their youngest daughter Vanessa. Together they oversee the daily production of 228,000 eggs and the care and feeding of 350,000 chickens and 50 Hereford cattle.

 


 

At just 24 years old, Harold’s great-granddaughter Vanessa will be assuming responsibility for the legacy of this family farm – the last egg farm in Sullivan County.

“People ask me what I do. When I tell them I’m a farmer, they’re a little bit shocked,” she said, laughing. “A lot of people think women in agriculture get the easier jobs, but that’s not how it is here. I don’t mind the manual labor. It’s like I get paid to work out.”

Vanessa notes the farm has come a long way from its humble beginnings. “In 1932, my family started farming with 10 milking cows and 200 chickens. We built our first chicken coop for 1,500 hens in 1943 and a second in 1954 for an additional 3,600 hens. In 1995, we added a feed-mill, so the farm could produce our own special blend of grains to feed our chickens. My dad also reintroduced beef cows to the farm along with hay, compost, topsoil and poultry manure as side products. The farm is also now outfitted with state-of-the-art technology that gives every hen more space in a community-living environment,” she explained.

Brey’s Egg Farm today employs about 20 people, including entire families on staff. “We’re very much a family here. Our employees depend on us, and that’s a huge responsibility. I love that everyone cares so much,” Vanessa remarked.

Vanessa is particularly proud of the care taken with the farm’s hens. “I love that I know I’m taking care of my chickens. They have a good home here,” she said. Brey’s Egg Farm raises its hens from one-day old. Their feed mill is onsite, which blends the ingredients to make different kinds of feed for each stage of a chicken’s development.

“We’re proud to be farmer-owned,” Vanessa said. “We do our best, humanly possible to give people the best and most natural products.”

“People need to learn more about what is involved in producing eggs,” she added. “People don’t realize how much work goes into feeding this country.”

Vanessa admits farming might not be an obvious career choice for many young women today, but it came naturally to her. “As a kid I, I had an instinct for farming. I’d always be in the coops. I’d be packing eggs. I actually had to stand on a milk crate. I just wanted to work so bad,” she recalled.

“I couldn’t let this place go,” concluded Vanessa.