by Jesse Laflamme, Chief Executive Farmer
Yes, there really was a Nellie.
When I was growing up on our family’s egg farm in Monroe, New Hampshire, my favorite pet was my brown hen, Nellie. Whenever I played in the yard, she made sure to be nearby. She’d hitchhike a ride on my shoulder whenever she could. She was competitive and usually beat me at races and tag (chickens can run up to 9 mph)!
Nellie enjoyed flapping her wings, but she wasn’t much of a flyer. So she loved doing the next best thing—riding in my bicycle basket and pretending.
Today, the beautiful brown hens living in our cage-free barns look a lot like Nellie, and live like her, too.
They run, roam and scratch as they please, stretch their wings and socialize, and enjoy a daily buffet of the best corn, grain and flaxseed. And wouldn’t you know, they too follow us around and perch on our shoulders, and crack us up with their goofy antics. (We’re still working on playing catch.)
It would break our hearts (and theirs probably) if they were jammed into tiny cages with no way to move about and be themselves.
Do you love chickens as much as we do? Click here Jesse@NelliesCageFree.com to send me your best chicken story.
How it All Started
The story of Nellie’s Cage-Free Eggs began in the late 1800’s at the Ward Family Farm in Monroe, New Hampshire, where Robert Ward grew up farming dairy cattle and hens.
After World War II, Robert’s son Les returned home from distinguished service as a Navy Dive Bomber pilot, and decided to expand the egg farming business. He started with just a few hundred hens and kept growing; soon his brother-in-law Rodney Stanton joined him.
Les and Rodney kept our farm going through good times and bad—but others weren’t so lucky. Beginning in the 1980s, industrial-scale egg producers cornered the market and forced most small egg farms out of business.
Did you know that some 95% of the eggs sold today come from those giant egg factories?
Avoiding the factory-farm trap
When Les passed the farm on to his daughter Carol, son-in-law Gerry Laflamme and Rodney’s son Peter Stanton, they led our farm down a different path – one that led away from factory-style farming.
Instead of “going industrial,” we changed to supplying cage-free and organic eggs produced without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, GMOs or animal byproducts. Later, we became the first Certified Humane egg farm in the country. Today our brands offer consumers a choice:
- Certified Humane Cage-Free eggs (Nellie’s Cage-Free Eggs)
- Certified Humane, Certified Organic eggs (Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs).
You can select eggs based on your personal preferences and budget, but know that you’ll always get a deliciously healthy, humanely raised egg that began on a small family farm.
A better way to grow
Today our business is healthy and growing—but we will never become a factory farm. We help other family farms thrive instead of swallowing them up.
Gerry and Carol’s son Jesse Laflamme now runs our farm with the help of his dad—and he’s raised the bar even higher with his commitment to small-scale farming, organic foods, humane treatment of animals and conservation. Jesse and his wife Sandra love having their children help out at the farm.
We’re proud of our family farm and hope you enjoy the fresh, wholesome eggs we produce!