Vital Farms, an egg company based in Austin, Texas, is considering adding a new egg grading facility near Joplin, Missouri. In an interview, Matthew O’Hayer, the company’s CEO, said the Vital Farms is finalizing its site selection and hopes to begin construction on an egg grading and packaging facility near the southwestern Missouri city within the coming months.
The Austin American-Statesman reports the facility would cost $11.5 million. O’Hayer declined to say how the new facility would improve Vital Farms’ production capacity.
Vital Farms, founded in 2007 by O’Hayer, sells its eggs throughout the country thanks to its partnership with Austin-based Whole Foods Market Inc. O’Hayer said Vital Farms has worked with Whole Foods since 2008 and the partnership allows his products to be sold in every one of the national specialty grocer’s locations in the contiguous U.S.
Along with the support of the well-heeled grocer, Vital Farms has attracted significant private investment within the past three years. According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the company has sold $21.6 million worth of securities since June 2013.
In December, the company reported it sold $8 million worth of securities – its largest funding round to date. O’Hayer said the money will continue the capitalization of the company and go toward construction of the new facility.
The company produces three lines of eggs produced from hens fed conventional, genetically modified organism-free and organic feed. Along with its egg business, the company produces pasture-raised butter as well.
Vital Farms is partnered with about 90 different, family-run farms located in California, the southern Midwest and Georgia. Birds are raised with access to the outdoors and each given 108 square feet of pasture. O’Hayer did not provide further information about the company’s relationship with those farms.
Vital Farms, which ranks among Egg Industry’s 2016 list of top U.S. egg producers, plans on maintaining its independence, and expects to continue to grow along with demand for its specialty product. Egg Industry will release its full 2016 list in February.