History: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The Chicken

After being laid off from a Prince Albert box factory in the 1930’s, hobby chicken farmer Walter Harman decided to turn his passion into a full time job. He expanded his operation to approximately 2000 laying hens, and began producing eggs for local residents. In 1965, Walter’s son, Bert joined him and created Harman Poultry Farm Ltd. Another expansion ensued and 7000 birds were placed in a mechanized production unit. Grading expanded to include 5,000 boxes of eggs per year and distribution continued throughout Prince Albert and Northern Saskatchewan.

The seventies saw two more expansions resulting in a total of 35,000 laying hens and 15,000 replacement pullets being housed in Prince Albert. In 2000, a new state of the art layer housing unit was constructed, simplifying the management requirements. The 6 tier Hellman cage system was the first of its kind in Canada. In 2002 another expansion came when Bert purchased a production facility housing 42,000 laying hens in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Then in late 2003, an additional 55,000 laying hens were purchased in Steinbach, Manitoba and were transferred to a state of the art production facility in December of 2004.

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The Egg

In 1978, Bert saw an opportunity to expand into the wholesale industry marketing table eggs, and purchased Star Egg Co. Ltd. All grading functions were transferred from Prince Albert to Star Egg and approximately 4000 boxes per week were produced for distribution throughout Saskatoon and Northern Saskatchewan. In 1987, one of the few computer driven grading machines in Canada, the Diamond 8300, was installed at Star Egg. This allowed the company to increase daily throughput as well as significantly improve the quality of the product reaching retail customers.

Over the years, Star Egg Co. Ltd. has taken advantage of advances in egg grading technology by installing crack and blood detection equipment, improved storage temperature control equipment, as well as re-designed loading, washing and packing equipment. In the fall of 2008, the company improved and expanded its grading, and warehousing capabilities by relocating all activities to a beautifully renovated 41,000 square foot facility in Saskatoon. In the spring of 2009, the company’s commitment to excellence will continue with the installation of an automated dirt detection system.

Today, eggs from the Humboldt and Prince Albert locations as well as many other production sites across the province are trucked to Star Egg Company for grading. Over 1 million eggs are graded per day. These eggs are distributed throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northern B.C., and into the Northern West Territories while surplus eggs are shipped into Manitoba. Between Star Egg Company Ltd. and Harman Poultry Farms Ltd. there are currently 50 people employed, including Bert’s son Shawn and daughter Dana Haynes.

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