Hatching a Way to Produce Better Eggs
All eggs are not created equal. As one of the largest egg producers in California, Chino Valley Ranchers discovered almost 60 years ago that innovation and dedication to their craft were the only way to produce a better egg.
It started in the 1950s when Charles Burton Nichols made an all-in commitment to egg farming and began acquiring chickens and operating a modest egg ranch with his wife Isabella and their three sons. Three generations later, Chino Valley Ranchers has grown their egg operations to accommodate tens of thousands of birds, and the company offers virtually every type of egg you can buy.
So how did they get there? Innovation, for starters. Charles and his family were always seeking out innovative methods to provide better care for their hens. One of these was taking the chickens out of their cages and placing nests directly on the floor, allowing the birds to walk around on their own.
It marked the early beginnings of the “cage-free” approach to raising chickens, which has now become a standard inhumane treatment within the industry. The Nichols family has been doing cage-free egg production for more than 40 years—well before the advent of government regulations and pleas from animal rights groups.
From those early days right through the present day, the company learned a valuable lesson: a happy, healthy hen is a productive hen. Says Steve Nichols, son of Charles, “we’ve always been proud to be cage-free.”
As the family business grew and Chino Valley further refined their chicken farming methods, a few of their customers began requesting a type of egg that was virtually unheard of at the time—“organic” eggs.
“As far as I know, we were one of the first people to start organic eggs,” says Steve. “We didn’t know anything about organic at the time and had to go learn about it. We looked into it, researched it, got farmers on board with purely organic grains, and began producing them. It grew very quickly. People loved it.”
Producing organic eggs—defined as eggs that are laid by free-roaming hens raised on certified organic feed with nothing synthetic—made Chino Valley Ranchers an organic pioneer of sorts. They were producing organic eggs regularly by the mid-1990s, which was even before the current USDA Organic program officially began. With experience showing the way, the company still uses the most stringent protocols and best practices to ensure a better organic egg.
The innovating wasn’t just limited to shell eggs. Decades ago Chino Valley Ranchers began research & development of liquid egg whites—a highly valued ingredient with an excellent nutritional profile. For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, liquid egg whites are their go-to dietary staple thanks to a compelling combination of high protein with no fat, cholesterol or carbs.
While there are many liquid egg white products targeted to the fitness community, almost all of them contain sweeteners, stabilizers or flavorings. The liquid egg whites from Chino Valley Ranchers do not. “We wanted a pure, natural protein product made from top quality eggs—plain and simple,” says Chris Nichols, grandson of founder Charles and son of Steve.
“Our egg whites come only from cage-free eggs or organic eggs—that’s unusual—and we don’t formulate with additives of any kind,” says Chris, who is Vice President at the company’s Colton, California headquarters. How impressive are Chino Valley’s nutritional stats? Just a half cup serving of their liquid egg whites contain 15g of protein with 0 grams of fat, cholesterol, sugars or carbs.
“In today’s world, quality and nutrition matter. People demand it. That’s why we took the time and expertise to develop these products,” adds Chris. Chino Valley Ranchers produces more than 25 liquid egg items & formats.
To learn more about Chino Valley Ranchers’ unique approach to producing specialty eggs and liquid egg products, visit: www.chinovalleyranchers.com