Texas-based Vital Farms donates four million eggs to Ozarks Food Harvest
Leading producer in pasture-raised eggs expands to Springfield with new processing plant
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Protein-rich food is one of the most requested items from Ozarks Food Harvest’s member pantries. So when Vital Farms, the leading producer of pasture-raised eggs in the U.S., asked if The Food Bank could benefit from a donation of fresh eggs, OFH staff were eager to start a partnership.
Since October, Vital Farms has donated nearly four million eggs to Ozarks Food Harvest. The eggs have helped to provide millions of meals to families through a network of 270 pantries, feeding sites and programs spanning 28 Ozarks counties.
“It’s been very beneficial,” said Paul Reffitt, pantry manager at Christian Action Ministries in Branson, an Ozarks Food Harvest member agency. “The fact that [Vital Farms] has donated them and we can get them from Ozarks Food Harvest at no cost has definitely filled the gaps and allowed us to give more eggs out.”
Reffitt said in the past the pantry had to limit distributing eggs to families with two or more members, but with these increased donations from Vital Farms, they are able to give out eggs to everyone who visits the pantry. Nearly 900 families receive food from CAM in Branson each month.
“Eggs are requested as much as anything is, probably more so, you can’t do too much baking or anything without eggs,” Reffitt said. “It’s helped tremendously.”
Vital Farms’ eggs comes from certified humane, pasture-raised hens. Each hen has a minimum of 108 square-feet to roam, is antibiotic-free and is able to forage grass and be outside without restrictions. The company is building a new Springfield plant, and although the building is not complete, Vital Farms is already investing in the local community.
“We’re thrilled to have found a great partner in Ozarks Food Harvest, an invaluable asset to the community,” said Russell Diez-Canseco, president of Vital Farms. “We will continue to look for ways to support The Food Bank’s mission in the coming months.”
Last fall, Vital Farms began building the 82,140-square-foot egg-processing plant on 11 acres in Partnership Industrial Center West. The plant will be a processing facility for the company’s supply chain of 100 farmers who provide eggs from pasture-raised hens. At the plant, eggs will be evaluated for grading, quality inspection, sorting, packing and transportation of the eggs to over 6,000 U.S. grocery stores, including Ruby’s Market in Springfield.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 15 million meals annually to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.