Friday, August 09, 2019

Rural California teen feathering his nest with egg business

Ayden Gartenlaub, 16, feeds his hens. (The Californian photo by Alex Horvath)
Many 16 year-olds have an after-school job, but Ayden Gartenlaub's is a little different. The teen, who lives on the outskirts of Bakersfield, California, has been running his own small business selling eggs for the past two years and is starting to see some big returns with Ayden's Eggs.

"The soon-to-be high school junior started his business two years ago as a freshman with 12 chickens and a few small coops on his school farm. Now he has 350 hens and is selling an average of 75 to 90 dozen eggs every Saturday at the East Hills Farmers Market in northeast Bakersfield," Steven Mayer reports for

Ayden says the secret to his success is hard work, love for his chickens, and a better product. Grocery store eggs can be a month old before you buy them, but Ayden's are generally less than a week old. "I can definitely tell the difference. They're really good," customer Lori Clemmons told Mayer. Clemmons also said she likes supporting a young entrepreneur like Ayden who works so hard.

How hard does Ayden work? Every day, Ayden spends two hours a day feeding and watering his hens, gathering eggs and doing other related chores, and on Friday he spends five or six hours washing and packaging eggs (with help from his family). "Saturday is farmers market day, when the young farmer transforms into the salesman, engaging with customers, telling the story of why these eggs are not only white and brown, but robin's egg blue, light green, copper-colored and occasionally, even a blush-rose shade," Mayer reports.

When he's not chicken-wrangling, the young entrepreneur is an A-student who plays sousaphone in the marching band. He was once a defensive lineman for the football team at Highland High School, but gave it up to focus on his business. Amber Carter, a Future Farmers of America advisor and ag teacher at Highland, said Ayden's project was inspirational to other students. "A lot of students don't think they have anything to offer in ag. Ayden's project shows them what can be done," Carter told Mayer.

No comments: