Nellie's Cage Free Eggs

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Meet Our Farmers

All our eggs come from small family farms similar to our own home farm in Monroe, New Hampshire. We stay vital and growing by carefully selecting new families to join us in raising our cage-free hens. This way we can supply more humane eggs to the market without becoming a giant egg factory ourselves. It’s good for us, good for small farms and families, and good for you too.

Working with Nellie’s Cage-Free enables our 33 farm families to make a good living with a business they can keep in the family. And we know a small-scale farm is the best place for a healthy, happy hen to roam as she pleases.

Come meet the people who happily supply your eggs.



Check out more of our small family farms

Sensenig Family Farm

Lebanon County, PA

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.

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

Wenger Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA

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 Nellie’s Cage-Free 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.”

Reiff Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA

Reiff Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA


“A nice place to raise a family”

John and Nancy Reiff are some of the newest farmers to join the Nellie’s Cage-Free family, but they’re no strangers to the business. Both grew up on family farms, and they knew they wanted an operation their eight children (ages 1-16) could be a part of, just as they’d been.

The Reiffs’ farm, which John grew up on, is well diversified. They also run a grain storage operation, crop-farm corn and soybeans, and raise sheep. But the day-to-day operations of egg gathering and packing, says Nancy, are mostly done by her and the older kids.

“They help with the first eggs in the morning,” she explains. They’re each responsible for gathering 1,000 eggs, and they do!”

The family’s first flock has been exceptionally healthy and productive. “They’re an easygoing breed,” says Nancy. The birds love socializing, strutting and visiting the grassy outdoor access area just outside their barn.

Best of all, she thinks, is the opportunity the farm brings the whole family. “We enjoy the lifestyle. It’s just a nice place to raise a family.”

Martin Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA

Martin Family Farm

Lancaster County, PA


A Nellie’s Cage-Free legacy farm

Signing up with us in 2002, Emory Martin was one of the very first farmers for Nellie’s Cage- Free. By then his historic stone barn already held many years of farm traditions. Today his flock of 8,000 chickens are exceptionally healthy and happy—especially since he recently added a big, green pasture area for them to roam in.

Emory is proud that he and his wife Eva Jane have been able to keep their farm in the family for their eight children, who grew up helping out on the farm and selling vegetables at the family’s farmstand. They’re also committed to being good neighbors; Emory volunteers for his local fire company and the whole family is very active in their church.

Wadel Family Farm

Lamoille County, VT

Wadel Family Farm

Lamoille County, VT


New technology rekindles an old livelihood

Farmer Wadel produced eggs 20 years ago in an old-fashioned poultry barn, until the giant egg corporations started muscling small operations like his out of the market. Moving on, he had to work at a number of activities to make ends meet, including raising heifers, running a farm stand and a lawn mowing/maintenance business.

When he learned about the opportunity to produce eggs for Pete & Gerry’s, he worked with Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation and Yankee Farm Credit to finance a brand new, fully automated poultry barn on his property.

The barn’s unique design offers his 12,600 hens a humane cage-free environment. Feed, water and ventilation are all continuously monitored by a central electronic console. A cold storage room keeps the eggs chilled until the weekly pickup truck arrives. And the operation provides Farmer Wadel with a reliable, secondary revenue stream–for just two to three hours a day of non-strenuous labor.

Ward Farm

Grafton County, NH

Ward Farm

Grafton County, NH


A family connection to farming traditions

Brian and Phil Ward had milked cows on their family’s farm since high school. But like many small dairy farmers, they were finding it harder and harder to make any money. While they had a productive herd of about 85 milking cows, the economies of scale weren’t on their side. So in spring 2012, the Ward brothers sold off their herd and rebuilt their dairy barn for poultry. They’ve never looked back!

Phil and Brian are second cousins to our own Jesse Laflamme, which made it an easy decision to produce eggs for Nellie’s Cage-Free. After they gutted and remodeled their barn from top to bottom (in just 90 days!), 12,700 laying hens are now contentedly clucking away inside.

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 Nellie’s 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.

Sensenig Family Pullet Farm

Lebanon County, PA

Sensenig Family Pullet Farm

Lebanon County, PA


Neal Sensenig has a barn full of chattering, active teenagers-and that’s just the way he likes it.

Neal has been raising pullets (young hens) for us on his 100-acre farm since 2012, with help from wife Diane and their six children.   The family regularly welcomes flocks of day-old chicks for 16-18 weeks of tender loving care, then sends them to our laying barns as full-fledged adults.

Along the way, the fuzzy chicks need special care-and a little training.  The clean, airy barn has plenty of activities for the fast-moving birds, like chicken-size stepladders and adjustable roosting perches that gently increase in height as the days go by.  “This helps them get used to jumping up to roost,” explains Neal.

The family also helps train the birds to walk through open doors, to get them ready for going outside.  They’ve got a lot to learn, but luckily “they’re easy to educate,” Neal notes. “They figure out a lot of things, and thoroughly inspect anything they see.”

After five months or so of helping tottering chicks transition to graceful adults, it’s hard not to get a little attached.  “We don’t like to see them go out the door when they leave,” he admits. “But we understand.  And there’ll be another flock coming that we can get ready for.”

The Sensenigs, who are Mennonites, also crop farm and have a small flock of sheep.   Neal is glad to have been able to buy a farm next door to his home farm, and that of his brother Nelson (also a Nellie’s Cage-Free egg farmer).  The community school is right across the street from their home, so the Sensenig children can easily balance their school work with helping out on the farm.  It’s a lifestyle the family is glad to continue, says Neal.  “This is what I grew up doing,” he muses.  “This is what we enjoy doing.”


Our farms, by state

In New Hampshire

  • Laflamme Family Farm
  • P. and B. Ward Brothers Farm

 

In Ohio

  • Hess Family Farm
  • Miller Family Farm
  • Schlabach Family Farm
  • Warren Family Farm

In Pennsylvania

  • Breckbill Family Farm
  • A Fisher Family Farm
  • JK Fisher Family Farm
  • S Fisher Family Farm
  • Gingrich Family Farm
  • Good Family Farm
  • D Kauffman Family Farm
  • C Kauffman Family Farm
  • King Family Farm
  • Lehman Family Farm
  • E Martin Family Farm
  • T Martin Family Farm
  • Oberholtzer Family Farm
  • Reiff Family Farm
  • Sensenig Family Pullet Farm
  • Smoker Family Farm
  • Spring Pond Farm
  • A Stoltzfus Family Farm
  • C Stoltzfus Family Farm
  • D Stoltzfus Family Farm
  • JI Stoltzfus Family Farm
  • JS Stoltzfus Family Farm
  • Wenger Family Farm
  • Zeiset Family Farm
  • S Zook Family Farm

In Vermont

  • Wadel Family Farm