Nov. 14, 2016

Burnbrae Farms: The Vision of Two Local Eastern Ontario Farm Kids


In 2011, Burnbrae Farms celebrated 120 years of proud farming history. We salute our founders Joe and Grant Hudson who entered the egg business in the early 1940's. We would like to share their legacy and story with you.

What’s in a name?  Burnbrae Farms

In 1891 in Lyn, Ontario, our Great Grandfather Joseph Hudson buys 100 beautiful acres of land complete with a creek, a waterfall and several hillsides sloping down to a valley. He aptly names it “Burnbrae Farms” - “burn" being a Scottish name for a stream, and "brae," a hillside.

Courageous Immigrant from Stranraer, Scotland

Joseph Hudson, grandfather of Joe and Grant Hudson, came to Canada from Stranraer, Scotland in the late 1800s. He purchased and settled on a 100 acres of land outside the village of Lyn, near Brockville in Eastern Ontario.  Arthur Joseph Hudson, Grant and Joe's father, inherited the farm in 1922 and, together with his wife Evelyn and their 5 children, continued to expand the dairy herd of Ayrshire cattle. The milk was sold to one of the dairies in Brockville to be bottled and distributed.

Inspired from a High School Project

Burnbrae evolved into an egg production farm through the efforts of Joe and Grant Hudson. In 1943, while still in high school, Joe became involved in an agriculture project at Brockville Collegiate Institute. He raised 50 leghorn chicks to laying hens. From 1943 to 1948, the egg layers were a side line managed by Joe and Grant, while Joe was in school. By the time Joe completed high school in 1948, the number of laying hens had increased to a respectable 3,000 layers, and the family worked together to care for the hens, dairy cattle and cash crops.

From dairy to eggs

As the poultry business grew, Grant, Joe and their father all became more directly involved. Eventually, the farm's main enterprise became poultry. In 1952, the first laying barn was constructed. In 1956, Burnbrae began grading eggs to ship to Steinberg's in Montreal, the company's first large grocery chain store account.  Burnbrae continued to expand over the years adding more hen barns and a sophisticated grading facility as well as a “further processing” plant to break, pasteurize and package eggs that are sold to bakeries, hotels, and restaurants.

120 Years of proud farming history . . .

Today, the business founded by those two keen entrepreneurial young men has farms and grading stations across the country in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia servicing retail and food service chains across the country. Processing operations in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba ship egg products across Canada and parts of the United States. Celebrating 120 years of farming in 2011, Burnbrae Farms is a thriving participant in Canadian agribusiness and continues to be a privately held Canadian family business.  All the descendants of old Joseph Hudson, the immigrant from Stranraer, Scotland, are very proud of the thriving legacy that began on his original 100 acres.

Sue Hudson

Daughter of Joe Hudson