After four decades of ownership, Wegmans has sold its egg farm east of Rochester to a Clarence-based egg producer.
Kreher's Poultry Farms acquired the farm, in the Town of Wolcott in Wayne County, from the Rochester-based supermarket chain for an undisclosed amount.
Kreher's will keep the Wayne County location as well as the employees who are working there, said Kurt Kreher, a partner in the business. Several members of the Wadsworth family, which has operated the site since it opened in 1967, will remain with the egg farm, he said.
The Wolcott farm's 750,000 chickens lay eggs that are sold under Wegmans' brand name. Wegmans says the farm processes an average of 600,000 eggs per day, supplying a network of Wegmans supermarkets that has grown to 71 locations.
The supermarket chain will continue to receive its store-brand eggs from the Wolcott site, Kreher said.
The business already supplies Wegmans with eggs under the Eggland's Best brand, and that will continue, he said.
Jo Natale, a Wegmans spokeswoman, said Wegmans' decision to sell the egg farm was driven by consolidation in the egg industry in recent years. Wegmans was faced with having to increase egg production beyond its own needs, she said.
"That was not a direction we wanted to go," Natale said.
Kreher's Poultry Farms traces its roots to 1924 and is now run by the family's third generation. In the Town of Newstead, it operates an egg farm of similar size to the Wolcott operation.
In addition, the company operates what it believes is the state's largest organic farm, with about 3,000 acres in Alden, Clarence and Newstead, most of which is rented land, Kreher said.
The Wolcott farm is considered the largest egg farm in New York State. It has been the target of a Rochester-based animal rights group, Compassionate Consumers, over the birds' living conditions. The group's members have called for Wegmans to stop using "battery cages" to contain the birds.
Wegmans has fought the allegations.