header-family-farms

Meet Our Organic Free Range Egg Farmers

Just like you, our farmers believe that family comes first—and we’re proud that raising our Organic and Free Range Eggs offer them the opportunity to make a good living with a sustainable business that they can keep in the family if they wish. We’d like you to meet the people who proudly supply your free range, organic eggs.



Check Out More of our Small Family Farms

Wenger Farm

Wenger Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA

Wenger Farm 2

Wenger Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA


A farm evolves as its family grows

When Clyde and Regina Wenger moved into their farm in 2004, it came with a henhouse fitted with cages. It wasn’t a long relationship. “We ran one flock through with the cages, and figured out that the cages were worn out,” recalls Clyde. “So we remodeled and put in a flock of  birds.”

The Wengers found that raising happier, healthier chickens was a much better fit for them—so much so that Clyde, also a stone mason, was soon laying the foundation for another, modern laying barn. Today their 40,000 hens have the run of their clean, well-furnished barns—and plenty of room to roam in a spacious outdoor access area.

The egg farm gave the family more room to grow and pursue their dreams. With Regina and their four children (ages 5-10) helping gather and pack eggs, Clyde was able to leave his stone masonry side business to farm full-time. Currently the family leases out some of its 58 acres to local crop farmers, but they hope someday to bring it all into the family fold.

“It’s a long-term goal, but our primary focus is on the farm,” he explains. “I hope some of the children take on where I leave off, when that time comes. Time brings change.”

MattDersham-tile

Dersham Family Farm

Windy Valley Poultry—Union County, PA

MattDersham_160615_344_480x720_72_RGB

Dersham Family Farm

Windy Valley Poultry—Union County, PA


Farming for the “next 100 years”

When the doors open at Matt Dersham’s hen house in the morning, the first chickens come out tentatively, poking their heads and clucking softly.

Soon they’re joined by a handful of others, then dozens—and within minutes the grassy stretch is full of noise and movement as hundreds of chickens peck at bugs, scratch, and roll in in the dirt.

“They’re having a good old time,” chuckles Matt.

It looks and sounds like an old-fashioned farm scene, but Matt’s spanking-clean cage-free hen house is full of brand-new technology. And he’s just putting the finishing touches on another one that features a state-of-the-art ventilation system and expanded roosting and nesting areas to keep his next flock of “18,000 girlfriends” even more comfortable.

The goal is to not only meet the already stringent Certified Humane standards all Pete and Gerry’s egg farmers follow, but to surpass them.

Matt is proud to be taking the 106-acre Dersham farm, which dates back to 1885, into the next century and beyond. Having a solid contract to supply Pete and Gerry’s with free range, organic eggs gives him the flexibility to plan ahead–no easy task for most farmers.

He’s also grateful that Pete and Gerry’s takes care of packaging, marketing, and distributing his organic eggs. “That way I can focus on doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing—just being a farmer.” Besides adding the new laying barn, he plans to expand into crop-farming to keep his land productive.

Matt looks forward to his upcoming marriage, starting a family, and having their children be a part of it all. “I’m taking the long-term view, to keep the farm going in the family,” he explains. “It’s already a centennial farm, and I’m going to make it a bicentennial one.”

AaronFisher-tile

Fisher Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA

AaronFisher

Fisher Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA


Cleanliness is a family value

Farmer Fisher keeps his farm spotless. It’s something he learned from his parents, who were also farmers.

He was a building contractor for 20 years before returning to farming in 2004. He built a new barn on his 23-acre farm in 2008 to produce eggs for Pete and Gerry’s.

He supplements his income by renting some of his land and building furniture. The best part of his work on the farm is working side-by-side with his wife and their six children. That may be why their barns are so neat and tidy.

ErvinHoover_160614_167_720x480_72_RGB

E. Hoover Family Farm

Union County, PA

ErvinHoover_160614_061_720x480_72_RGB

E. Hoover Family Farm

Union County, PA


Born to small family farming

Farmer Hoover grew up on his farm. Except for a few years in his early twenties, he’s worked the 125-acre farm his whole life. Today he farms with his wife, and their children, and they started working with Pete and Gerry’s in 2008.

In addition to poultry, the Hoovers milk 36 cows and grow corn and hay. They love the seasonal rhythm of the farm – especially the spring planting and the fall harvest.

It’s nice, he adds, being his own boss and working with his family. For fun, he likes fixing his neighbors’ machinery. He believes there will always be opportunities for small family farms in niche markets.

CarlHurst-tile

Hurst Family Farm

Berks County, PA

CarlHurst

Hurst Family Farm

Berks County, PA


A lifelong “drive” to farm

When Farmer Hurst was 16, his car got stuck on the steep driveway of a farm in a snowstorm. He never imagined that 17 years later he’d own that farm. The neighbor who pulled him out still lives next door.

He and his wife, bought the 121-acre farm in 1999 and built the poultry barn in 2007.  Previously, he managed a 125,000 caged-pullet farm. With the help of his father,  also raises corn.

Farmer Hurst likes working the farm and producing eggs for Pete and Gerry’s. It allows him to spend more time with his wife and five daughters.

geraldhigh_160614_073

High Family Farm

Juniata County, PA

Free Range Hens

High Family Farm

Juniata County, PA


All in the Family

The Highs and their five children all work the farm every day. In addition to two barns with hens in them, they also raise sheep and breed dogs, not to mention tend a very large garden. But there is still time during summer, after the chores are done, for the kids to get into the above ground swimming pool to cool off a little.

LeeZook-tile

Zook Family Farm

Snyder County, PA

LeeZook

Zook Family Farm

Snyder County, PA


Raising Healthy Kids and Healthy Hens

When farmers Lee and Neila Zook built a playground for their two young sons, they knew just where to put it. It’s right next to their century-old farmhouse, and just a few hundred yards from their two organic free-range hen houses.

“We wanted to keep everything close by, so we can keep an eye on them all,” says Neila, who considers her 36,000 layer hens part of her family. “We all breathe the same air, so why shouldn’t our chickens have a good life just like we do?”

Setting up their 200-acre family farm this way allows the Zooks to keep work and family life in happy balance. Every morning and afternoon Neila goes to her “office” for a couple of hours to pack eggs, sometimes with the boys in tow; Lee walks the barns to check on the chickens.

“We monitor everything—feed consumption, water, egg output—to make sure they’re happy and healthy,” says Lee.

Under Certified Humane standards, the birds get strictly organic feed and filtered water, with plenty of room to scratch, roost, socialize, and lay their eggs in privacy. All this loving care keeps their hens amazingly productive: From their first flock, the Zooks’ farm has averaged some the best egg yields in the industry.

A steady egg income has enabled Lee to keep the farm thriving in its fourth generation, as he crop-farms corn, soybeans and hay with his father. Best of all, they’ve been able to manage the farm themselves.

“We’re able to make a good living and still be able to do things as a family,” says Neila. “What’s more important than that?”

IMG_5072

Stoltzfus Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA

IMG_5115

Stoltzfus Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA


Caring for Hens and Cows

The Stoltzfus family has been farming for over 20 years.  With a family of five children, they care for roughly 6,000 organic hens, 44 cows, and 46 acres.

Bomgardner Family

Bomgardner Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA

Bomgardner farm steers

Bomgardner Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA


Time for Family and Farm

Greg and Katie Bomgardner’s kids are pretty typical tween/teens. They juggle school, friends, baseball, football, and soccer practice, music lessons, 4-H livestock club, horseback riding lessons, and just about every other extracurricular activity that active American kids do these days.

Oh – and they also help their mom and dad sort, wash and pack eggs almost every day.

That’s just one of many reasons why the Bomgardners chose to become Pete and Gerry’s Organic Egg farmers: They can have an active, healthy home life that the whole family can participate in. “Say, if we have a baseball game, we can wait to pack the eggs when we get home,” says Greg.  “That’s a big selling point for us, because family comes first.”

Greg works for the township during the day, checking on the hens before he leaves. Katie manages the hens, and does the bulk of sorting and packing the eggs.  The kids help when they get home from school.

“They do it in exchange for time on the Xbox,” says Greg. “It’s a great motivator!”

The family bought their 42-acre farm from Katie’s family, and live in the home she grew up in.  Besides their flock of 18,000 organic hens, they raise grass-fed steers and pigs, and crop-farm on neighboring land.  They’re eagerly planning to add a second laying barn, which will enable Greg to move more to full-time farming, a tradition the family hopes to continue.

While they’re too young to make decisions about such things, at least some of the Bomgardner kids may one day opt for the farm life, too. “They really love animals, and our second son really enjoys the equipment–he loves to use the riding mower,” muses Greg.  “I think it’s just a matter of time.”

Michelle Daren Good

Sparkling Waters Farm

Lancaster County, PA

Michelle Daren Good

Sparkling Waters Farm

Lancaster County, PA


A Good Balance

In today’s economy many farm families have to juggle working both on and off the farm to keep the family business thriving. At Sparkling Waters Farm, Daren and Michelle Good have found their own happy balance–with a little help from their 40,000 hens.

Daren, who grew up on a dairy farm, had worked full-time with an excavating company for several years. Then the Goods connected with Pete and Gerry’s and made the decision to go full speed ahead into organic free-range egg farming.

“We went in headfirst, sink or swim!” he recalls. “Right off the bat we had two barns, and I’m glad we did!”  The steady income allowed Daren to become a full-time farmer, and today the Goods also raise grass-fed steers and crop-farm corn, soybeans, and hay.  Their ultra-modern laying barns stand next to their nearly 200-year old stone barn and farmhouse, a striking mix of old and new.

For her part, Michelle jokes that she leads a double life, working full-time off the farm as a program manager for alternative markets at an insurance company. “When I come home from work, I kick off my heels, put on boots, and head to the barns!” she laughs.  She helps with barn chores on weekends and on weeknights when Daren needs extra help.

“I like having the balance and the variety,” she notes.  “It’s great to have that ‘outside’ social interaction.”

The Goods also have help from Daren’s parents (“my father is in the chicken houses with me every morning,” he notes).  And of course, there’s plenty of moral support from Muzzy, their beloved dog.

“Pete and Gerry’s has been good to us,” muses Daren.  “Working with them has made it possible for us to keep our farm in the family for another generation.”

Sensenig Farm

N. Sensenig Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA

Sensenig Egg Room

N. Sensenig Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA


Room for hens and family to flourish

“Every flock, every bloodline has its own personality,” Nelson Sensenig says of his 18,000 hens. The “girls” have the run of two roomy, modern barns, with time outside when weather permits for sunlight, fresh air, and green grass. “They can run, they can fly, they can perch, they can scratch …or they can just sit and watch you go by,” he laughs.

The Sensenigs like to keep their two barns spanking clean. “When things are in order, it’s just better for the hens’ well-being,” says Nelson. “And it just creates an atmosphere you enjoy coming to each morning.”

Their farm is truly a family operation: While Nelson manages the laying barns and crop-farms, Susan manages the books and helps pack eggs with their two daughters. Two of their three sons help run the family’s manure-hauling business.

Having the steady income and streamlined operations of an egg farm gives the Sensenigs the flexibility to do other activities, such as taking time away to go on mission trips with their church.

“Pete and Gerry’s has been a good company to work with,” adds Nelson. “They’re family oriented, and that comes through in our relationships.”

Breckbill Farm

Breckbill Family Farm

Lancaster, PA

Breckbill Family Farm

Lancaster, PA


Work Life and Home Life in Balance

When David Breckbill checks in on his hens every morning, the first thing he does is listen.  “I can tell they’re healthy by the noises they make,” he explains.  “When they’re happy, it gets really loud in there, because they’re singing!”

David, his wife Janelle, and their four children consider those noisy hens part of the family.  In fact, their cage-free laying barn is just a few hundred yards from their own front door. The kids take turns helping their parents pack eggs every day, and the hens love to watch them work, from a window in their barn.   (Their hens, they’ve found, are curious about everything.)

For David, who made a full recovery from a backbreaking fall in 2012, it’s a blessing to continue the hard, satisfying work of family farming. Today he balances his farm duties with his work at a local flooring company, while Janelle and the children help manage the hens and pack eggs.

The Breckbills bought their farm from Janelle’s parents, and they’re determined to keep the family farm tradition going. They’re looking forward to adding a second laying barn soon, and having David come home full-time to farm.  “We’re all about family and doing things together,” says Janelle.

Dennis Nolt

Nolt Family Farm

Butler County, PA

Dennis Nolt

Nolt Family Farm

Butler County, PA


Dennis Nolt grew up in New Holland PA, the youngest of seven children. His father raised steers, and Dennis helped his father growing up. He and his wife Lawanda met at a church youth group meeting and married in 2001.

Dennis was working for a hardware retailer, but he wanted to do something where he could be with his family. Both of his grandparents were farmers, and his sisters married dairy farmers.

He wanted to try farming, so he talked with Chris Pierce at Heritage Poultry Management about producing eggs before buying his 43-acre farm in 2015. He then built two free-range barns adjacent to organic pasture space. As soon as the barns were completed, he received his first two flocks and he was on his way.

“I started this to be able to work with my kids,” he explains, “ to help them learn about farming and where their food comes from. I want them to develop a good work ethic.”

Dennis’s favorite part is packing the eggs. “I like seeing what I have accomplished.”

“I also like the personal connection with Pete and Gerry’s and that they are fighting for family farmers.”

Dennis is hopeful about the future of small family farms. “As long as consumers are willing to pay a little more for quality eggs, the future looks good.”

Daryl Sensenig

D. Sensenig Family Famr

Lebanon County, PA

Daryl Sensenig

D. Sensenig Family Famr

Lebanon County, PA


Like many of our farmers, Daryl Sensenig worked for his father on the family farm while growing up. His grandfather raised steers and hogs on this farm, after which his father bought it and converted to poultry.

Daryl and his wife Janice met at church. He worked off the farm as a carpenter for five years and then in commercial hauling.

When Daryl’s father bought the adjacent farm and built two more hen barns, Daryl had the opportunity to buy his boyhood farm from his father. He’s now looking forward to delivery of his third flock of hens

“I wanted to get back into farming, but even with what I learned growing up, it’s a big step, so my father helped me in the beginning, being just across the road” Daryl explains. “I really enjoy the work and being at home with my family.”

Daryl also raises corn and beans on 40 acres of his own and 63 acres that he rents on the farm next door.

“Farming allows you to go as far as you want. It’s up to you,” he adds. “I‘m my own boss, and my schedule is flexible in the afternoon.”

“I like packing eggs. It lets me see the rewards of my efforts.”

For relaxation, Daryl and Janice like camping with their children. Daryl also does a little hunting.

“Farming can be very difficult. Pete and Gerry’s offers one of the few opportunities to make a good living on a small farm. I hope to have this farm paid off in ten years.”

View More: http://jackiebeachyphotography.pass.us/roundhouse

Raber Family Farm

Sugar Creek, OH

View More: http://jackiebeachyphotography.pass.us/roundhouse

Raber Family Farm

Sugar Creek, OH


Javan Raber is proud to be the third generation on his farm in Sugar Creek, Ohio. His grandmother raised poultry on a small scale on this farm in the 1940s. His parents bought the farm from her in 1961, and his grandmother raised their first flock of 2500 brown turkeys.

They lost money on that first flock, but they didn’t give up. They went on to be successful with subsequent flocks. They also had dairy cows and beef cattle.

Javan’s wife Christina also grew up in Sugar Creek. They met as teenagers and eventually married. They bought the 93-acre farm from his parents in 2006.

Javan started working full-time at Kalmbach Feeds as a service man in 2014. He helps farmers with organic and humane certifications and compiling weekly reports. After visiting other Pete and Gerry’s egg farms, he decided to give eggs a try on his own farm. He built two barns and housed his first flocks of hens in 2016.

Christina does most of the daily chores in the barn. While she had no previous poultry experience, she took to it quickly and now enjoys caring for the hens and packing the eggs. Javan and Christina also have have 14 Angus breeding cows for producing steers.

“Farming has always been a love of mine” he continues. “A layer house is a good working environment, and Christina can do most of the chores herself. Producing eggs for Pete and Gerry’s makes it possible financially.”

“Farming works well with family life. We very hard, starting early, but the hours allow us to still spend time together at the pool or the lake on summer afternoons.”

“I love spring on the farm when everything is turning green, the cows are having calves, and the hens are able to be outside every day again. It’s a great way of life.”

Tom Giovagnoli

Giovagnoli Family Farm

Merrimack County, NH

Tom Giovagnoli

Giovagnoli Family Farm

Merrimack County, NH


Tom Giovagnoli comes from a farming family. His grandfather had a vegetable farm in New Jersey. His father moved to New Hampshire right after WWII to marry the sister of an Army buddy, bought a farm in Manchester, and began raising hogs.

Tom grew up as one of seven sons on that farm, and they all helped with the hogs. Tom eventually bought his own farm in Dunbarton, NH where he and his sons raised cattle and a few hogs, but still had to work off the farm as a mechanic to make ends meet.

Tom has three sons. All three worked on the farm growing up.

Tom always wanted to farm full-time, so he contacted Pete and Gerry’s about building a layer barn on his property. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get zoning approval in Dunbarton so he sold that farm and bought 200 acres in the neighboring town of Boscawen and started over. He cleared the land and built a house on the property in 2015. He built a barn in 2016 and housed his first flock in September.

“I have always farmed,” Tom states. “It’s in my blood. I have always had beef and hogs. The hens will allow me to farm full-time with my sons. Farming keeps families together.”

He wants to build a second barn and clear more land for pasture so he can increase the size of his cattle herd. “If you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life,” he declares.

“It’s going to be tough for small, family-owned farms in the future unless we can educate the public about the value of small farms and quality of food they produce” Tom says.

“People are fortunately becoming more aware of where their food comes from,” his son Andy adds.

Terry Lehman

Lehman Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA

Terry Lehman

Lehman Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA


At 23 and 22 years old, Terry and Jolene Lehman are among our youngest farmers. They recently bought this 130-acre farm, where Terry built two barns in 2015 and now have their first two flocks.

Terry’s grandfather was a dairy farmer on a nearby farm. Terry’s father took over that farm, and Terry grew up and worked there with his father.

Jolene grew up in Lancaster County. She and Terry met at their church youth group.

Terry chose poultry farming over dairy. “Producing eggs seemed like an enjoyable and predictable living,” he explains. “My friend’s uncle had a layer barn where I sometimes helped, and I liked it.”

“Jolene and I enjoy working together, so we both pack the eggs which makes the job seem a lot easier.”

What keeps Terry farming? “I have always wanted to farm. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. I look forward to the day my farm is paid off.”

Susan and Leon Burkeholder

Burkeholder Family Farm

Franklin County, NY

Susan and Leon Burkeholder

Burkeholder Family Farm

Franklin County, NY


Leon Burkeholder grew up on his father’s farm in Fleetwood PA where they grew crops and raised cattle. Susan lived in a nearby town where her family raised produce, hay and grain. Both of their grandparents were also farmers.

Leon and Susan met at their church youth group and married. Leon began working construction and eventually started his own construction business. But what he really wanted was to be a farmer.

Land was so expensive in Berks County, however, there was no way they could afford to buy a farm. So Leon and Susan bought an old 200-acre farm in Fort Covington NY, a tiny town on the Canadian border, and started raising produce, grain and hay, plus a few beef cattle. They also rented land to a neighboring farmer.

Leon repaired the old dairy barn on the property, but they decided against dairy farming. “We considered it, but milking cows didn’t appeal to us. It’s pretty hard work, and the income is so inconsistent, so we decided on laying hens instead.”

“And we didn’t want to be married to cows” Susan quips.

Neither Leon nor Susan had poultry experience other than small farm flocks, but Leon approached Pete and Gerry’s and received a contract to produce eggs. He built a brand new barn in 2015 and received his first flock of hens.

They work together caring for the hens, and Susan often packs all of the eggs. Leon still raises corn, soybeans and produce. He has a small green house to raise tomatoes they sell at their farm stand.

“We love farming,” Susan says. “It’s a nice way to raise a family. The children often play right here in the packing room while we pack.”

“I like working the land, and I enjoy working at home with my family,” Leon adds.


Our Small Family Farms, by State

Illinois

  • Hostetler Family Farm
  • Miller Family Farm

Indiana

  • 4 Woods Family Farm
  • Maulberry Family Farm
  • Schlabach Family Farm
  • Schwartz Family Farm
  • Shady Creek Family Farm
  • Therapy Lane Family Farm
  • Winding Creek Family Farm

Maine

  • Martin Family Farm

New Hampshire

  • Laflamme Family Farm

New York

  • Latremore Family Farm
  • L. Burkholder Family Farm

Ohio

  • B. Troyer Family Farm
  • L. Troyer Family Farm
  • Brumme Family Farm
  • E. Burkholder Family Farm
  • King Family Farm
  • Zimmerman Family Farm

Pennsylvania

  • Bomgardner Family Farm
  • Beiler Family Farm
  • Bogart Family Farm
  • Breckbill Family Farm
  • Cook Family Farm
  • Crouse Family Farm
  • Dersham Family Farm
  • Dunkelberger Family Farm
  • Ewing Family Farm
  • Fischer Family Farm
  • Good Family Farm
  • High Family Farm
  • E. Hoover Family Farm
  • L. Hoover Family Farm
  • Horst Family Farm
  • Hurst Family Farm
  • L. Kauffman Family Farm
  • Lehman Family Farm
  • J. Martin Family Farm
  • W. Martin Family Farm
  • Musser Family Farm
  • Nolt Family Farm
  • Oberholtzer Family Farm
  • L. Reiff Family Farm
  • N. Sensenig Family Farm
  • D. Sensenig Family Farm
  • Shepperson Family Farm
  • Siegrist Family Farm
  • Slaymaker Family Farm
  • Stoltzfus Family Farm
  • Wenger Family Farm
  • Willhide Family Farm
  • Zimmerman Family Farm
  • Zook Family Farm

Vermont

  • Miller Family Farm
  • Bullock Brother’s Farm