HometownMcLennan County


Local farmer benefiting from pandemic as demand for organic grows

Posted at 8:33 AM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 10:39:16-05

While the pandemic has been nothing but trouble for just about everyone, there's one type of business in Central Texas that's thriving.

It's all thanks to the demand for organic.

A rooster crows, signaling the start of a new day at Long Branch Farm in Valley Mills.

This rooster means business.

He's on patrol.

Inside the hen house, his lovebirds are hard at work.

"Unlike other chickens these ones lay 300 plus eggs a year which is a large amount," said Richard Seitz, owner of Long Branch Farms.

Seitz started out with just a few chickens to supply his own family with eggs.

"We knew where it came from and how the animals were raised and that's kind of snowballing into something bigger," Seitz said.

When the pandemic hit, it drove up the demand for eggs.

"Grocery stores were sold out. People came to us for that and you know we kind of got sold out too," Seitz shared.

So he scrambled, increasing his flock to 500 chickens over time.

They lay about 300 eggs a day in winter and 450 a day by summer.

His main customers are local restaurants like Harvest on 25th in downtown Waco.

"Right away when you crack this open you can see in the pan that its got a little more height and more color so you can see the quality before your eyes," Juanita Barrientos, owner of Harvest on 25th explained.

Back on the ranch, Seitz serves up a diet of non-soy and non-GMO feed to his chickens, along with all the green grass they can eat.

"That kind of practice just leads to a better quality egg," Seitz explained.

The future of his side hustle looks bright.

You might even call it sunny side up.

According to the Texas Farm Bureau, the sale of organic eggs increased by 9% from 2016 to 2019, adding nearly $900,000,000 to the U.S. economy in 2019 alone.

Those are the latest numbers.

For a complete list of all Long Branch Farm products, visit them online HERE.

They're also at the Waco Downtown Farmer's Market every weekend at 5th and Washington.