The Secret to Judy’s Family Farm Organic Brown Eggs’ Success
For Jonathan Mahrt and his family, terms like “cage free,” “natural,” “organic,” “grown local” and “humane” aren’t just buzzwords. They’re a promise deeply rooted in nearly a century’s worth of farming experience, and one that’s delivered with every carton of Judy’s Family Farm Organic Brown Eggs. With a product locally cultivated under the Mahrt family label, Petaluma Egg Farm, the idea for the Judy’s brand was conceived at home. “It was inspired by my mom, who started to feed us more organic food when my three brothers and I were young, and she thought that my dad should also be producing an organic egg,” explains Mahrt.
The family has been raising the Judy’s variety since 1996, and local shoppers likely recognize the design on the cartons; this too includes the Mahrt family touch. “That is a hand-drawn design that my dad worked on with a local artist,” says Mahrt. “The boy and the girl are supposed to be caricatures of my parents as children working on the farm.”
Both of Mahrt’s parents have extensive history in the business. Petaluma Egg Farm was started in 1983 by Mahrt’s father, Steve, but his family started producing eggs in Petaluma in the 1920s. Mahrt’s mother, Judy, grew up helping at her family’s Calistoga hatchery, a business that dates back to the early 1900s. Mahrt and his brothers were encouraged to continue this tradition, and the family now produces several other brands under the Petaluma Egg Farm label: Uncle Eddie’s Wild Hen Farm, Rock Island, Petaluma Pastures and the Daily Egg. But Judy’s boasts the distinction of producing the first Certified Organic Egg in California.
All of the eggs for Judy’s Family Farm come from the family farm in Marin County. And every egg comes from chickens that are raised inside a barn, without cages, free to move around and exhibit their natural behaviors. The chickens eat only certified organic feed and are given no antibiotics, which is part of the process of meeting the USDA National Organic Program standards. The amount of space that the chickens have, as well as their access to food and water and the monitoring they receive at the farm, all contribute to the brand’s Certified Humane label granted by the Humane Farm Animal Care organization. Both certifications require successful third-party audits, but Mahrt notes that meeting the stringent standards was easy due to the family’s years of experience.
“We were actually producing organic eggs before the USDA National Organic Program even existed,” says Mahrt. “It’s hard to verify, but we’re pretty sure we were the first organic egg producer in California and one of the first in the United States.”
Referring to their eggs as “sustainably homegrown,” the Mahrts take pride in the quality of the products as well as their origins: “When you’re buying our eggs, they’re all coming from hens raised by our family the best way we know how, down the road in Marin County.”