A North Carolina Family Farm Will Supply 30,000 Eggs For Annual White House Easter Egg Roll

Trey Braswell of Braswell Family Farms says providing the eggs for this tradition is “an honor and it’s an opportunity to serve in a civic capacity to provide this for the kids."

White House Easter Egg Roll

The Washington Post / Contributor/Getty Images

In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes began the tradition that we now know as the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Per the National Park Service, President Rutherford “issued an order that if any children should come to the White House to roll their Easter eggs, they would be allowed to do so.”

For the second consecutive year in a row, and as they have for many Easters since 1997, Nashville, North Carolina’s Braswell Family Farms will provide the eggs for this beloved holiday event that will take place on April 10. In fact, this year, they are providing 30,000 hard boiled, dyed eggs. Braswell Family Farms is a fourth generation, family owned business, now run by Trey Braswell who recently spoke to Southern Living ahead of this year’s big endeavor. 

Braswell remembers attending the White House Easter Egg Roll when he was a young child when George H.W. Bush was president. “The White House itself was beautiful. The lawn was beautiful. It was like a perfect spring day. So the grass was immaculate and it was just a lot of families and children running around on the lawn of the White House,” he recalled. 

“I remember at some point during that day, they were like the president is going to come out. And he didn’t come out and mingle but he came out that door there I guess facing the South Lawn and it was very close to us. So that was really neat. You got to be fairly close. It was really cool and then as a child knowing, at that point we weren’t supplying the eggs, but just knowing an egg farmer that we knew was, that was really neat to think about that.”

Now, Braswell is overseeing the operation of the donation of 30,000 eggs for this year’s event. 

“It is an honor. We treat it with great respect. There’s a nation full of really good egg farmers in the United States. I’m really close with a lot of them. So it is an honor. And it’s cool to think, in a couple of years, I’ll be able to take my three young children out there and they’ll get the experience, how surreal it is. But it is neat to think that other egg farmers are going and their children and they’ll have that same thought, like ‘wow, somebody we know, could be us one year.’ It's a real honor to supply these eggs so all these American families and children can come and enjoy celebrating Easter there at the White House.”

Braswell Truck

Andrew McMillan

He told us that unlike previous years, they are now responsible for hard boiling and dying the eggs before the delivery to the White House. But they have partnered with The Stocked Pot, another family-owned North Carolina business to help them in this monumental task. The Braswell team gather, wash, dry, and grade the eggs before they package them up to be transported from their farm in Nashville, North Carolina, to The Stocked Pot in Winston Salem. Then the process to hard boil and dye the eggs takes seven days. The eggs are hard boiled in large batches, which the folks at The Stocked Pot have gotten down to an exact science. Then they begin the very specific dying process.

Dying of Eggs

Braswell Family Farms

Pink Easter Eggs

Andrew McMillan

“What they’re doing to be most effective and efficient is one color each day of the five colors that are going and then putting them back on a refrigerated truck,” Braswell said. Adding that the White House picks the colors and sends the specific Pantone color code that must be matched exactly. To do this successfully, takes a lot of steps, patience, and expert-level knowledge. To match exactly, they must have the perfect ratio of vinegar to dye and the water has to be a very specific temperature. Approximately 16-20 gallons of dye are used to create the vibrant Easter eggs for this American tradition. Once the boiling and dying is done, the eggs are then transported and stored at a Braswell warehouse facility in Virginia until they are delivered to D.C. three days before the event. In total, the eggs will travel 493 miles. 

Easter Eggs in Box

Braswell Family Farms

All in all, it’s a very involved process and one done as a donation and voluntarily by the Braswell family, but as Trey Braswell told us, it’s not just an honor to serve in this capacity but also to represent the agricultural community as a whole. “On Easter Sunday, a lot of us do worship Christ and celebrate the holiday but for people in farming and livestock, it doesn’t stop. There are people working every day on our farms and obviously it's planting season for the row crop farmers. So America’s farmers of all types work really hard day and night every day of the year to make sure we supply affordable and quality food and protein to our citizens.”

Trey Holding Eggs

Braswell Family Farms

Just as important as how the eggs get to the White House, is what happens after all of the festivities are over. “We are giving these eggs to this because we really feel like it’s an honor and it’s an opportunity to serve in a civic capacity to provide this for the kids and the families but we would hate 30,000 eggs just go to waste. But they don’t. What is going to happen afterwards is a company that composts food waste is going to take those eggs and work them into their compost and then that compost is gonna get used for fertilizer and soil enhancement to grow more crops. Oftentimes corn, which our chickens eat and it’s a really good sustainable cycle. So it’s just another opportunity to talk about how sustainable animal agriculture is.” 

Although the Braswell family has participated in this tradition for years, Braswell says it is never something they take for granted. “It is surreal still. We have great respect for The White House regardless of who is there on either side of the aisle. So we’re just thankful to be a part of it.”

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