Bringing the freshest eggs to you

 In Egg Producers, Farmers, Grazing Fields

Delivering the Next Generation of Freshness with the Help of the Yoder Boys

A number of the Grazing Fields farmers, like Dave and Marlene Yoder, are part of the Amish community. We had a chance to visit their farm and see first hand how they bring the freshest eggs to you–family-style.

Three years ago, Dave and Marlene Yoder moved back to the farm Marlene grew up on. “We knew we wanted a setting where our boys could both learn responsibility through the farm chores and also have adventures out on the land,” says Dave.

“We have a row of sons—Darin, Kevin, Benjamin, and Micah—and they needed more opportunity,” adds Marlene. “There are woods here… and fields. It’s where I roamed growing up, and the memories of exploring made me want to come back. When you see that energy in our kids, the boys especially, we knew we wanted something more for them.”

The four boys are slotted in between bookend girls. The eldest Yoder child is Lori. She works at a daycare center nearby. Emily, the littlest, is three and she’s now becoming friends with the chickens too! As a family, the Yoder’s make the farm work.

The main focus is the chickens. Dave and Marlene have Isa Brown chickens. Each hen lays one egg almost every day—so that’s a lot of eggs to take care of. Dave works with the boys to keep the chickens happy and healthy. They make sure the hens have plenty of water, fresh feed, dry litter for dust bathing and clean nesting boxes to lay their eggs.

Darin helps his dad manage the overall operation. One of his jobs is to walk through, checking on the hens several times a day.  In the morning he opens the barn doors and lets the birds out on the pasture where they have plenty of room to roam.

“Chickens are amazing creatures,” says Dave. “They’re fun to watch and birds are always happy. But you do have to take care of them every day. And it’s really the details that make the difference. You’ve got to keep your eye on the little things, and that’s what Darin’s learning.”

Like their dad, the boys can gather four eggs at a time from the nest boxes and place them into wash trays. They then transport trays to the egg washer.

As part of the washing process, the eggs are “candled.” That’s where a light shines through the egg from underneath to show any imperfections. If this inspection points to anything that doesn’t meet quality standard, that egg doesn’t make it into a carton. After candling, the eggs go through two sets of brushes, for washing and drying. Once clean and dry, the eggs are sorted by size and put into Grazing Fields flats and cartons.

Eggs are gathered every day—so eggs never sit around. They are packaged fresh daily, then refrigerated before being picked up for the store.

Marlene reflects, “Small farms are important because we produce healthy food for people locally. It’s like farming for our neighbors. There’s love and dedication that goes into this. Not only is it an income and things for the boys to do, but Dave truly enjoys what he does.”

Dave adds, “We feel very fortunate that we’re able to be on this farm. It’s about learning and working together… and offering something we’re proud of to our customers.”

And that’s how the Yoder’s help bring the “farm fresh” to Grazing Fields eggs for families around Michigan.

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