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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Eggs By the Million

Each day of production, the Prime Foods plant just outside of Boonville, Ind., rolls out about 1,000,000 hard-cooked eggs. Most go to bulk customers, who then use them for egg salad or other products.

But soon, you’ll be able to buy the eggs at your local supermarket, convenience store, or big box store. The ready-to-eat eggs will be available in packages of six for home use or in a two-egg snack pack. They’ll be sold under the label of Kramer Farms.

“Hopefully within the next six months to a year, people are going to see our name out there in the retail sector,” says President/CEO Jay Kramer. “They can be for breakfast, a snack, cut up on salads, deviled eggs, egg salad, or whatnot. It has taken about two and a half years to design this and get comfortable with it. And now we are ready to run.”

Kramer emphasizes that hard-cooked eggs provide not only a convenient snack, but also a healthy one. He says the eggs can be a much better on-the-go alternative than candy or chips.

Kramer, a runner who is trying to run marathons in all 50 states, is the third generation of his family to head the company. He’s a 1997 graduate of Boonville High School and says he’s committed to being a part of the community.

The business started as Kramer and Sons in 1936 on the corner of Walnut and Third streets, just south of the Boonville courthouse square. Freeman Kramer and his wife Ruth began processing eggs as well as live chickens and dairy cream. The family business eventually fell to Freeman’s son, Glenn Kramer, who began distribution of meat and eggs to locally owned restaurants and grocery stores.

The name was changed to Prime Foods around 1990, when the company focused on selling liquid eggs and frozen eggs. In 1996, Glenn bought Dutch Valley Foods, which produced hard-cooked eggs, peeled by hand. In 1997, the operation moved to Boonville.

When Jay entered the business in 2001 after college graduation, he wanted to focus most of Prime Foods’ efforts on the hard-cooked eggs. He helped grow and automate that business, and in 2009 oversaw the construction of a new facility just west of Boonville. In 2011, the facility expanded to 90,000 square feet and can process 100,000 eggs per hour.

Inside the facility, eggs are scrubbed, checked for impurities, slowly boiled to make sure the yolk is in the proper location, boiled again, chilled twice, peeled, checked by hand for imperfections, loaded into buckets, placed on pallets, and shipped out. The facility employs about 100 people.

Prime Foods is now entering its busiest season. That’s because hard-cooked eggs are used to produce cold foods like egg salad, potato salad, and macaroni salad — foods popular in the warm months of the year.

“We sell to a lot of restaurant chains,” says Kramer. “We sell nationwide. We sell from east to west coast. Our own fleet of trucks will travel in a 1,000-mile radius.”

Prime Foods owns a little more than 1,000,000 chickens in Ohio and Northern Indiana. Those chickens produce about 95 percent of the company’s eggs. In the future, Kramer would like to add another chicken farm within 35 miles of the Boonville processing center.

“It is tough to find eggs on the open market,” says Kramer. “When you have everything internally, you have a better product, and that’s what you want.”

For more information about Prime Foods, call 812-897-3783 or visit primefoodsinc.com.

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