Lehman's Egg Service becomes NestFresh in Antrim Township

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
The facility on Kauffman Road is still in the egg business. NestFresh, under the umbrella of Luberski Properties, doing business as Hidden Villa Ranch, purchased the Lehman's Egg Service site. The national company has plants and offices in approximately 15 states.

NestFresh, a Denver-based national egg producer, opened a facility in Greencastle in May. It occupies the former Lehman’s Egg Services building at 1226 Kauffman Road.

The site was purchased by Luberski Properties LLC for $740,000, from G. Buckwalter Family Limited Partnership, Gladys L. Buckwalter, Wendy H. Buckwalter, Gregg A. Buckwalter and Lehmans Egg Services, Inc. Luberski headquarters are in Fullerton, Calif. It lists NestFresh as one of its holdings.

The company focuses on sustainable, local, humane and natural eggs, according to a press release. The Greencastle facility is nearly 36,000 square feet and will process and package over 12,500,000 dozen eggs per year. NestFresh foresees the possiblity of adding a second shift. It currently employs approximately 20 people.

Brandy Gamoning, marketing manager for NestFresh, wrote in the press release, “With this increased expansion, we are able to broaden our reach into new households, providing fresh, local eggs to more regions of the country. But perhaps more importantly, we are also able to help more families understand and appreciate the purpose, quality and enhanced flavor behind cage free, pasture raised, and non-GMO free range eggs.

“This is an important step in becoming a successful nationally-recognized egg producer, providing communities like those in the northeast with our sustainably and humanely produced eggs from a local facility.”

NestFresh was taking steps to procure more locally-based family farms as suppliers, she continued.

Gamoning replied to a request for more information on the local enterprise via email.

Gregg Buckwalter is the general manager, and Kathleen Myers is the production manager. Myers began working at the plant in 1971, Gamoning wrote.

“She will be instrumental in implementing the quality, food safety and certification programs that are part of NestFresh’s standards,” she said.

Gamoning continued that company practices would bring the former Lehman plant in line with their standards by reformulating items and ensuring that the plant was certified to produce specialty products.

Two in town

NestFresh becomes the second egg processor in Greencastle. Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs opened at 105 Commerce Ave. last September. Its headquarters are in New Hampshire.

Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corporation, was pleased with the presence of the newest business, though FCADC had no involvement in bringing the company to town.

“We had a good relationship with Lehman’s Eggs,” he said. “A loan to them was paid off with this project.”

He saw the new start as good for agriculturally-based Franklin County, which also had many distribution centers.

“This is reflective of a growing trend for organic eggs and food,” he said. “We’re a natural location for the industry. Now two companies here speaks to that.”

Lehman’s Egg Service was founded in the late 1950s and moved into the organic and cage free aspect in 1999, according to its website. It also expanded its specialty egg category. Lehman’s partnered with a Wisconsin company in 2004 to form Farmer’s Organic Food International LLC (FOFI). In 2012 FOFI merged into Lehman’s as a wholly owned subsidiary.

NestFresh was started in 1991 by a Colorado family. The eggs are available at ShopRite stores in Pennsylvania, with plans to expand into other outlets.