The Glaum Egg Ranch legacy stretches back to the early 1920s, when John H. Glaum built a chicken house — housing 400 white leghorns — in Alexandria, Nebraska.
The family went West in the 1940s, eventually opening up an egg ranch in Santa Cruz County under the guidance of John’s son, Marvin.
The family business is now in its fourth generation of egg farmers, with Mikayla Glaum-Godoy and her brothers Gunnar and Gavin Glaum running the daily operations at the barn store and processing room in Aptos and the actual farm in Watsonville.
Q: How does it feel to be the fourth generation of Glaum egg farmers?
Mikayla: It feels pretty good. We’re all in our 20s, and there is a huge legacy we are really trying to make proud. But times are changing with the environment (and) with consumer buying. There is a lot of room for us to diversify this business. So it’s really exciting to be a part of the movement going forward.
Gunnar: I think it’s unique and special. You don’t really come across a lot of farms that have that much history. It’s something we want to preserve and continue the legacy.
Q: What are some of the best aspects of working with family members?
Mikayla: There’s nobody that you will trust more with the things that you hold near and dear.
Q: What happens in the processing area in Aptos?
Gavin: We receive the eggs from our Watsonville ranch. They get put on a conveyor belt, go through our washing machine, get weighed and sized, put in the flats or cartons in the cold room and then get distributed to customers or distributors.
Q: How do you care for the 120,000 chickens on the Watsonville ranch?
Gunnar: It’s really just making sure they have everything they need — food, water — and making sure the equipment is running right. Just checking in every day.
Q: Why should consumers care that eggs are produced in a cage-free environment?
MIikayla: It’s the humane treatment of the bird. The bird is able to exhibit all of its natural behaviors, right? It’s able to flap its wings. They are not inside cages. They are able to roam around the barn as they please and eat and drink whenever they want.
Q: Can you tell us about the famous vending machine?
Mikayla: My grandfather wanted to be able to offer eggs after hours, so he created this egg vending machine. It has changed its structure over the years. At first, it was a little door that would pull down and a help-yourself honor system: You would take your flat (of eggs) and put your money in a little can.
This edition that we have right now is basically a shelf full of eggs. Customers put $4 into the vending machine — either during regular hours or after hours — and the flat of freshly laid eggs will come right out (as) this little animatronic dancing chicken show goes on.
Q: And that’s the best part!
Mikayla: That’s what brings customers in. That’s what brings all the kids in. College kids come back into town to show their friends what they grew up on — the weird part of Santa Cruz (where you) get your eggs with a dancing chicken show.
Q: I hear the show has seasonal themes, too.
Mikayla: Our aunt Sherrie actually dresses the birds up every season — Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and summertime on a Hawaiian vacation. She changes the costumes. It gives customers a reason to keep coming back to see what the costumes are.
Q: So, if I come back in December, I might see Santa Chicken?
If you go
The Glaum Egg Ranch Barn Store is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and until 2 p.m. on Saturdays at 3100 Valencia Road in Aptos. That’s also where you’ll find the famous egg vending machine, which costs $4 (in crisp dollar bills) to operate. Find details at glaumeggranch.com.