Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2023
Burnbrae Farms is one of our area’s largest employer and one of our oldest companies that are still in operation. They are regular supporters of community initiatives and events including donating eggs for the annual Island Breakfast on Refugee Island in Brockville and are a great example of how our local companies take pride in our city and contribute to its quality of life.
We had 13 questions for Burnbrae Farms to get to know more about what goes on behind the scenes:
Can you provide a brief overview of the company and how it operates:
Burnbrae Farms is a fifth generation Canadian family–owned and operated company that continues to be one of Canada’s leading egg farmers, with farms, grading stations and processing operations across the country.
The company is passionate about their commitment and involvement in their local communities. The Hudson family and the employees of Burnbrae Farms are proud to take an active role and contribute to the communities in which it operates.
Tell us a bit about how Burnbrae Farms came to be and the path it took to get where it is today:
In 1874, the Hudson family emigrated from Scotland and then later in 1891 Joseph Hudson purchased a farm in the village of Lyn, in eastern Ontario. He named it Burnbrae, “burn” being the Scottish name for a stream and “brae” the name for a hillside. Back then the farm consisted of just 100 acres, and over 120 years later Burnbrae Farms remains in the Hudson family with businesses far and wide across Canada.
From its early beginnings as a dairy farm, Burnbrae Farms evolved into egg production in the ’40s under the guidance of Grant and Joe Hudson. Over the following decades, Burnbrae Farms became an established and integral part of both local and national agribusiness, offering premium innovative shell, liquid, hard cooked, pre-cooked and frozen egg products ensuring quality through extensive grading operations, and expanding its operations across Canada.
Today, Burnbrae Farms eggs and egg products can be found in your local grocery store, restaurants, food-service operations and homes across Canada. All the descendants of Joseph Hudson, who bravely immigrated from Stranraer, Scotland, are very proud of the thriving legacy that began on his original 100 acres.
How long have you been operating?
In 1891, Great Grandfather Joseph Hudson, a Scottish immigrant, purchased 100 acres of land in Eastern Ontario. While the farm originally focused on dairy and cash crops, Joseph Hudson’s son Arthur and his two sons, Joe and Grant Hudson, started producing eggs in the 1940s.
Burnbrae evolved into an egg production farm through the efforts of Joe and Grant Hudson. In 1943, while still in high school, Joe became involved in an agriculture project at Brockville Collegiate Institute. He raised 50 leghorn chicks to laying hens. From 1943 to 1948, the egg layers were a side line managed by Joe and Grant, while Joe was in school. By the time Joe completed high school in 1948, the number of laying hens had increased to a respectable 3,000 layers, and the family worked together to care for the hens, dairy cattle and cash crops.
Today, Burnbrae Farms is a fifth generation Canadian family–owned and operated company that continues to be one of Canada’s leading egg farmers, with farms, grading stations and processing operations across the country.
How many people work for your company?
Burnbrae Farms operates in five Canadian provinces; including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec employing over 1,000 people in a variety of sectors.
How would you describe the Burnbrae team?
Burnbrae Farms is owned and operated by the Hudson family. The company culture is cooperative and collaborative and has a strong history of mentoring and cultivating talent from within. The company provides employees with opportunities for growth by encouraging further learning and specialized training.
What types of positions are employed at Burnbrae?
- Farming: pullet and layer farms, animal welfare, producer and industry relations
- Egg Grading: clerical, production, production support, distribution, sales
- Egg Processing: clerical, production, quality assurance, distribution, sales
- Clerical and Accounting: CA’s, CPA’s, office management, accounts payable and receivable, IT and systems management
- Sales and Marketing
What services do you offer that are unique to Brockville?
Burnbrae Farms has both a farm and grading station in Lyn and a Further Processing facility in Brockville. We are proud to make products for retail, foodservice and industrial customers here in Brockville which are sold across the country.
What made Brockville a good fit as a location to build the company?
The expansion of the farm to the grading station, offices and further processing station was based on the location of the original family farm where Joseph Hudson originally settled in 1891.
It is also located just off Highway 401 and in close proximity to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
What is something most people don’t know about your industry?
Eggs are one of nature’s most nutritious foods; one large egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. That’s an incredible amount of nutrition!
Over the past 50 years, Canadian egg production has increased by 50%, but the environmental footprint of Canadian Egg Farmers has decreased by 50%. Canadian egg farmers strive to continuously improve, seeking new ways to make egg production even more environmentally sound.
Egg Trivia! What’s the difference between white eggs and brown eggs?
There is no difference in nutrition content between a brown shell and a white shell. Flavour or cooking functionality is also not affected by the shell colour. The egg shell colour is determined by the breed of chicken. At Burnbrae, brown eggs are laid by the brown Rhode Island Red hen and white eggs are laid by the White Leghorn. The colour of the hen’s ear area is the indicator, with a white or light spot meaning white eggs. The brown chickens are larger and require more food to make an egg, which is why brown eggs may cost more than white eggs.
Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?
Burnbrae Farms has proven itself as a leader in Canadian agribusiness through its award winning product innovation. The Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards™ is a prestigious program operated by the Retail Council of Canada, which encourages new product development and innovation. New products go through rigorous testing and screening before being considered for a Grand Prix New Product Award. To date, Burnbrae Farms has won 13 Grand Prix awards, which put the company in an elite class of Canadian food companies.
Burnbrae Farms has also achieved the distinction of receiving Platinum Level of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.
Canada’s Best Managed Companies is Canada’s leading business awards program, recognizing excellence in private Canadian-owned companies. Each year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies undergo a rigorous application process, but only the best are awarded with this prestigious designation.
What is next for your company?
Burnbrae Farms is proud to lead and innovate within the egg industry and the agribusiness sector. The company continues to grow nation-wide and has recently seen expansion in the Brockville area, in both the plant in Brockville and the Farm and Grading Station in Lyn.
What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?
A little bit of history and a great attraction in the heart of Brockville!
1860 marked the completion of the Brockville Railway Tunnel, the first Canadian underground railway tunnel, a truly impressive innovation at the time. The tunnel connected the Brockville and Ottawa Railway to the city’s shipping port. It was fully operational for over 110 years until 1970, when the port ceased operations and shipping was consolidated to major hubs. In 1983, the city purchased the tunnel from the railway company.
In 2016, renovations began to restore the tunnel and transform the attraction to a public walking trail, featuring new paved concrete floors and modern lighting. It would also become the new central hub of the city’s Brock Trail recreational pathway. The project was completed in 2017.
The restoration of the tunnel was made possible by generous donations by individuals and organizations like Burnbrae Farms. It is important to both the Hudson family and Burnbrae Farms to preserve the history of the town where the Hudson family first began farming in 1891. Burnbrae Farms and its leadership are deeply rooted in this community and share the belief that preserving landmarks such as this tunnel is vital.
Burnbrae Farms is also a proud supporter of the Aquatarium, a 33,000+ square foot climate-controlled aquarium and discovery centre on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.
Burnbrae is proud to support organizations which promote tourism of Brockville and patronage of local attractions and businesses.
What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?
Brockville is a diverse community with a thriving population. Located in the heart of the beautiful Thousand Island on the St-Lawrence River, it is ideally situated close to highway 401 in proximity to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. It is an ideal location to build a business, raise a family and get involved in a vibrant community.
Contact Burnbrae Farms Limited:
Location: 3356 County Road 27, Lyn, Ontario