Dan Hromas says it wasn’t that long ago when many people raised their own chickens and eggs all the time. But with more and more people moving to urban areas, the days of the farm fresh egg have dwindled, so he had to find ways to get the attention and investment of local customers.
Gathering eggs from 600 chickens on a daily basis is only half of Hromas’ job. Packaging and selling them is what keeps Prairie Pride Poultry near York going.
“I want my eggs to literally go from my farm here onto the table, and I want the consumer to have confidence in what we’re producing out here,” says Hromas.
Customers can come to the farm and get eggs themselves or Hromas delivers. But he’s also been searching for other ways to put his product in easy reach of consumers.
Grand Central Foods owner Warren Thomas says Prairie Pride eggs are one of many locally grown foods they sell. He says buying a hometown product is an option many customers want.
“We’ve got signage on the product explaining to the consumer that they’re from the York area and they’ve sold really well,” says Thomas. “Local consumers really support local growers.”
Hromas got into York’s restaurant scene too. Chances ‘R’ uses his eggs in their Sunday brunch.
“We kind of have a good mix of everything – wholesale and retail,” says Hromas.
Hromas even tapped into another movement: getting food from farms to schools.
Marcia Erdkamp, the Food Services Director at York Public Schools, says she jumped at the chance to get farm eggs into their chef salads.
“Because they don’t use the antibiotics, you’re not going to get that that goes through that egg either, so you’re going to have a real good farm fresh egg, and I believe it’s a healthier egg,” says Erdkamp.
Like other ag advocates, Hromas is concerned about disconnects between food and farm.
“It also gives the kids a chance to know where their food is coming from,” says Hromas. “You can’t get more local or fresh than just a mile-and-a-half away.”
Hromas is quick to invite everyone to visit and see what a pasture poultry farm is.
“Transparency with the consumer is important – we want them to feel like they’re part of the family, part of the farm,” he says.
Hromas says he didn’t randomly choose to raise chickens – gathering eggs at his grandparents’ is a fond memory he says he finds a lot of people share in. The nostalgia factor is another way he connects with customers, and he’s using Facebook to keep them involved in the daily activity of an egg farm.