A family business
The Herbruck family has been in the egg business since at least the 1920s, when Harry Herbruck Sr. started an egg delivery company in the Flint, Michigan, area. As his business grew, so too did the area of delivery territory. He wholesaled the eggs from Flint to Saginaw to Detroit. Eventually, as the next generation of Herbrucks became involved with the business, they realized the routes were increasingly around the St. John’s area, more in the center of the state than the other regions. At this point, in the late 1940s, the small company decided to build a warehouse in St. John’s to help service the increasing number of routes.
Harry Herbruck Jr, the first president of Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch
Harry Jr. continued to run his egg routes as he and Marilyn began having children — first Stephen, then Terry. A few years later, Melanie was born followed by Greg and then Herb. As the children started coming and the family foundation needed to be stronger than ever, a decision was to be made. The writing was on the figurative wall for the small, family farm egg business. If they wanted to stay in the egg business, they’d have to start producing their own eggs.
Despite having just recently built a new house in St. John’s, the new, young Herbruck family heard of an opportunity from the builders of the house. There was a chicken coop for sale down in Saranac, Michigan, about 35 miles over.
It took about six months of negotiations, but Herbruck’s were soon the proud new owners of a chicken operation and the family of six made their way to Saranac in 1958, splitting off from Harry Herbruck and Sons and starting Herbruck’s Poultry with 6,000 birds.
Marilyn Herbruck, standing here beside an early Herbruck’s truck, started Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in 1958 with her husband, Harry, with just 6,000 birds.
Today, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch is run by Harry Jr.’s sons and his daughter. Six members of the fourth generation also work in the business. The company’s flock has grown from 6,000 laying hens in the 1950s to over 10 million today — but its founding principle remains the same:
Do what’s right – for the hens, for the employees, for the consumers, for the community, and for the Earth.
Years of growth
- 1976: Herbruck’s purchases the egg division of Michigan Farm Bureau to market their eggs
- 1981: Herbruck’s founds Poultry Management Systems, Inc., a technology company that developed and marketed what became the industry standard in environmental control systems. The company was sold in 2009 to Big Dutchmen, the largest livestock equipment supplier in the world
- 1991: After years of supplying premium-quality shell eggs, Herbruck’s adds a breaking facility and began selling whole liquid eggs to the food service industry
- 1992: Herbruck’s becomes a franchisee and distributor of Eggland’s Best, Inc., eventually producing all varieties of Eggland’s Best eggs and distributing them in four states
- 1998: Herbruck’s begins producing organic eggs onsite; they would later open the Green Meadow Organics facility and become one of the largest organic egg producers in the country
- 2008: Herbruck’s opens the Green Meadow Organics facility, becoming the largest organic egg producer in the country with over 2 million organic hens
- 2018: Herbruck’s celebrates its 60th anniversary as the largest egg producer in Michigan and 10th largest in the United States with over 10 million hens and nearly three billion eggs produced every year
- 2020: Ground is broken on the Blue Springs farm in Mercersburg, PA. When completed it will house nearly 2.4 million hens and supply cage-free and organic eggs to our customer base on the East Coast.
- 2021: Herbruck’s furthers our commitment to the environment with the installation of a 2-megawatt solar array and pollinator field to help power our Green Meadow Organics farm
- 2022: Herbruck’s completes construction of Blue Springs farm in Mercersburg, PA, an expansive 335-acre facility including eight poultry barns, an egg processing plant and a fertilizer pelletizing/storage building.