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Burnbrae Farms co-founder Joe Hudson passes away

Together with his brother, Joe transformed his family's dairy farm into the egg business it is today
Jillian Morgan, female, digital editor for Canadian Grocer
joe hudson
Joe Hudson

Burnbrae Farms co-founder Joe Hudson has passed away at 94 years old.

He died at home on the farm in Lyn, Ont. on March 14.

Born in Brockville, Ont. on July 12, 1929, Joe was raised on the family farm in Lyn. His grandparents purchased the farm in 1891 and named it Burnbrae Farms in honour of their Scottish heritage.

Together with his brother, Grant, Joe transformed the farm from a dairy farm to an egg business.

Through the 1960s and '70s, he built farms and grading stations in Lyn and St. Zotique, Que.

He expanded into Western Ontario with the purchase of grading stations in Strathroy and Mississauga, and the construction of a farm in Woodstock between the late '70s and mid '90s. In 1983, he increased his focus on value added egg products with the purchase of an egg breaking facility in Upton, Que. 

By the mid '90s, he started his western Canada expansion acquiring grading facilities in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver Island, and farms in Manitoba. 

He would again expand his interest in egg further processing with the purchase of an egg breaking facility in Winnipeg in the mid '90s and the construction of a plant in Brockville in the mid 2000s. 

At the age of 80, Joe transitioned the leadership of the company to his children and long tenured employees.

In addition to supplying eggs to families across Canada, Joe supported local causes like Operation Harvest Sharing (now the Brockville Foodbank), as well as the Brockville General Hospital and the Brockville YMCA.

He also co-founded the softball league in Lyn, and chaired the Hudson Burnbrae Foundation for decades.

In 2023, Joe received a Lifetime Business Achievement Award from the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Golden Pencil Award in 2001. 

Joe was predeceased by many family members and is the last of his generation in his family. Before him: his parents, Arthur and Evelyn Hudson and his siblings, Helen (Craig) Davidson, Jean (Eric) Hill, Grant (Beryl) Hudson and Frances Drew.

He was predeceased by his wife Mary Boyle Hudson (1931-2003), and Joan McFall Hudson (1939-2020). 

Joe is survived by children Helen Anne (Vincent Guyonnet), Mary Jean (Ian McFall), Ted (Sherri Fournier-Hudson), Susan Hudson and Margaret Hudson (2020 Golden Pencil winner).

Margaret currently serves as president and CEO of Burnbrae Farms. 

“Dad was someone of incredible strength, passion and commitment," Margaret tells Canadian Grocer. "He worked very hard and built an incredible business,  achieving his dream to grow Burnbrae Farms into a business of national scale. Today we ship eggs and egg products coast to coast to coast with eight grading stations, three further processing plants, two distribution centres, six wholly owned farms and 400 egg farming partners. Dad never stopped thinking about his business, family or community. The example that he set is one that we all strive to follow and we will be forever inspired by and grateful for all that he has done for us.” 

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