With no experience whatsoever, Randy and Judy decided to start a hobby farm. Our thoughts were to raise a few chickens for eggs, a couple of broiler chickens for the freezer and maybe a turkey or two. Little did we know that it would grow into an egg farm.
In 2004 we bought 10 laying hen chicks and a couple of turkey chicks. We were officially “farmers”. Those first eggs tasted awesome, nothing like the “store-bought” version white egg. Near the end of the year we decided to purchase 50 more laying hens in hopes of selling a few dozen from a sign in front of the farm. Quite quickly, the supply of eggs outweighed the demand. Randy took the initiative to call on a couple of restaurants to see if they were interested in farm fresh eggs. With those phone calls, JRS Country Acres was born.
The following winter was spent fixing up the old dairy milk house to an egg washing and grading room. Once we obtained the egg processing license from the State of Wisconsin, we were officially in business. We sold our eggs at the local Lake Mills Farmers’ Market and to two restaurants.
Since then, we have expanded our flock each year to meet customer demand. The current number of hens on our farm equals about 7,000 birds in two flocks. Our old re-purposed dairy barn houses birds downstairs where the cows used to be and upstairs where the hay was stored. We sell our eggs to grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets and institutions.
We are quite proud of our accomplishments and growth over the past few years. And to all our customers that made our growth possible, we thank you!!
To learn more about our family farm operation please view a copy of the power point talk given to the Lake Mills High School Science Breakfast Club. Science Breakfast Club Slide Show
Photograph of Judy and Randy Tholen at the Oconomowoc Piggly Wiggly with “The Pig.” Fun Fact: In 2007 the Oconomowoc Piggly Wiggly was the first grocery store to carry JRS Country Acres eggs !