During the 1970s, Pearl Valley Eggs founder Dave Thompson was a first grade school teacher in Joliet, Ill. As part of an experiment with his students, he began hatching eggs for a class project. Chick by chick the classroom's flock grew, and so did Dave's fondness for the birds. With the support of his wife, Terry, Dave began raising the hens at their family farmhouse. He would sell the eggs they laid to other teachers at his school. This was the Thompson family's first step into the egg business.
Something about raising the chickens appealed to Dave. In 1977, he took a job with a food store chain, which owned an egg farm in Loda, Ill. Dave learned everything he could about the egg business and decided to open up his own operation when the food chain sold its interest in the egg farm.
A unique agreement between the Thompsons and Mallquist Butter & Egg Company had Dave and Terry on the hunt for the perfect farm to set up shop, which they found between Pearl City and Kent, Ill. In 1987, Dave and Terry began building Pearl Valley Farms, which included 200,000 birds in two bird barns, an egg packing/cooler building and a manure composting building. Business continued to grow throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and so did the farm.
Stronger relationships were developing with other local farmers who would purchase the composted chicken manure to fertilize their fields. Local farmers produced, and still produce today, the million plus bushels of feed our farm uses to feed our birds.
The demand for Pearl Valley Eggs also grew among local, regional and national retailers who wanted to carry our eggs in their stores. This meant adding more employees. Every day these dedicated workers ensure our hens receive proper care to keep them safe and comfortable.
This growth also provided the opportunity for Dave and Terry to bring their son Ben into the family business. Today, Ben oversees most of the farm's operations, including Pearl Valley Organix, the compost division that makes Healthy Grow® fertilizer products.