“We are all about freshness and quality,” said Tracy Ramsdell, spokesperson for Dakota Layers this past week, in between tours of the company’s new specialty processing building on the western edge of Flandreau.
On Friday, many interested parties filed in for a look at the new retrofitted building. The space previously belonged to Dakota Transformers. Over the past year, Dakota Layers has gutted and remodeled the large open space to fit its evolving needs for an expanding network of farms. The new processing facility sits just east of Loiseau Construction and Flandreau City Offices.
“We completely stripped it, it’s like a brand new facility,” said Ramsdell. “We’re super excited about it.”
The offline egg processing facility will take in free-range eggs from the company’s northern farm, which is around the Elkton area. The eggs will be washed, candled, packaged and shipped from the Flandreau location almost immediately to other grocery markets across the U.S.
How these eggs are different from Dakota Layers other egg-laying barns, “With free range, there are no cages,” said Ali Klose, Quality Manager for Dakota Layers. “They are inside but there are windows that open where they have access to outside, sunlight, a scratch area, that’s the definition of free-range.” Klose was among those giving tours of the new processing facility on Friday.
“Freshness is key for us so once that egg is laid, it will be transferred that same day here, washed, candled and out the door,” Ramsdell added.
Eggs produced in Flandreau are on trucks several days a week to California and distributed within 48 hours. The company owns two distribution centers in the Golden State; one is located in Rancho Cucamonga, the other is located in Santa Maria. Eggs, sold under the Rosemary Farm brand, are distributed to stores from as far south as San Diego and as far north as the Bay Area. “Most people don’t know that,” said Klose.
The new facility will likely employ 8-10 people once it’s fully up and operating.