Rene and Bruce Gelder raise Animal Welfare Approved laying hens at Ellis Family Farms in Benton Harbor, MI. Rene and Bruce both come from farming backgrounds- Bruce is a co-owner of a farm equipment dealership that has been in his family for four generations, while Rene grew up on Ellis Family Farms when it was still managed by her grandparents.
Today, Rene oversees most of the farm’s operations. With the help of her son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Christina, Rene sells Ellis Family Farm products at several Chicago farmers markets and also organizes two suburban pick-up points.
Rene and Bruce’s youngest child, Mary, is an Honor Roll student in junior high school and the one who raises the farm’s Animal Welfare Approved laying hens. Mary takes care of her poultry, gathers the eggs and works to clean and package them. Her chickens and eggs have been the recipients of many awards at the Berrien County Youth Fair over the last couple of years, including Grand Champion in 2009. Mary often accompanies her Mom to their various farmers’ markets, helping to sell Mary’s Eggs across Chicago.
You can learn much more about the history of Ellis Family Farms (Rene has uploaded a great electronic album covering the farm over five generations), as well as see a complete list of their farmers’ market locations at www.ellisfamilyfarm.com.