Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Jaindl Farms

By Kate Medley, November 13, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Kate Medley
Jaindl Farms, located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley, has been family owned and operated for more than 60 years.  David Jaindl bought the farm from his father in 2005, and manages the day-to-day operations with the help of his brother and sisters.  Their turkeys are hatched from eggs produced by the Jaindl family’s exclusive breed.  From here they are fed farm-fresh grain feed, allowed free range access, and processed in a state-of-the-art humane facility.   The great taste of Jaindl’s broad-breasted turkeys have helped land it on the Thanksgiving table at the White House for 40 years and counting. Note: Our Farm to Market slide shows currently feature farmers and producers from our South and MidAtlantic Regions. We hope to expand to others in the future.
Category: Farm to Market, Turkeys

 

44 Comments

Comments

Marjorie Foster says ...
The advertisement says "processed in a state-of-the-art humane facility". Where is the humanity? Isn't it finally time we made Thanksgiving a celebration of life and the true giving of thanks and leave turkey off the menu.
11/14/2008 12:46:41 PM CST
Jamie says ...
I was just wondering what makes a farm "free range"? How much space and time do the turkeys get outside the pins to be considered "free range"? I've read that a few farms and/or companies that sell the meat/poultry state that their animals are free range but in fact their animals are only allowed to freely range outside their cages for part of their life span... How does WFM ensure that isn't the case, or is it?
11/16/2008 5:56:40 PM CST
hsiaw says ...
@Jamie There is an excellent Wikipedia article on the USDA definition of 'free-range': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_range#United_States. As for our part in this, we are taking the USDA standards one step further with our 5 Step Animal Welfare System - designed to provide greater transparency for customers concerned with the origins and treatment of their meat. We plan to start the roll out of this rating system in mid-2009. We'll make announcements online when it's live, so keep an eye out! Thanks for your concerns.
11/17/2008 12:23:44 PM CST
Carol says ...
I echo Jamie's concerns and questions, and before ordering your Whole Foods Market Jaindl Farms turkey I would like to know just how much space and for how long during the day are their turkeys "free-range." The Wikidpedia definition doesn't help answer this question. And what does "humanely" mean at Jaindl Farms? How are they slaughtered, etc. etc. The Jaindl Farms and other turkey farms' websites use the terms "free-range" and "humane", etc. without being specific and this concerns me. I look forward to your new rating in 2009, but for this Thanksgiving, I would like more information before deciding to buy a turkey from Whole Foods. Thank you.
11/18/2008 1:13:27 PM CST
carolyn loubiere says ...
These Turkeys look just as crowded in as commercial growers to me.I will only be interested in Turkeys that are allowed to feed on grass and fed only organic feed with no soy products in it.Thanks Carolyn Loubiere
11/18/2008 2:27:09 PM CST
hsiaw says ...
@Carol We're talking with the vendor and trying to get some clearer answers for you about the breeding process of their birds so you can make a well-informed choice.
11/19/2008 6:20:51 PM CST
hammer says ...
you people should really check out the U.S. specs for (free range),time the turky is outside the cramed quarters that they spend 23hrs in. you might be surprised with the result you get. also check the specs for calling a product ORGANIC. good luck getting a straight reply.
11/20/2008 11:47:23 PM CST
Ed Cifu says ...
Hi Everyone, Thanks for reading and watching our blog. I’m the meat coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the South. I’ve actually been out to visit the farms and I’ve seen the turkeys and the farming practices first-hand. The term “free range” means that the birds have access to the outdoors. There are no cages, and they can come and go as they please; the farmers do tell us that this time of year, temperatures get pretty low, so the birds come inside in the cold evening hours! Turkeys are naturally gregarious, social creatures, so they flock together. Usually if one goes outside, they all go outside, and the reverse would also be true. Whole Foods Market conducts annual audits of all meat and poultry farms and facilities. In addition to our own audits, they are also audited by a third party to ensure that they are meeting or exceeding our strict quality standards . As for the “humane” question, these turkeys are born, raised and processed on the farm. They spend 10 days in a nursery before moving to the actual land. Typically, the most stressful part of an animal’s life is the transportation period from farm to processing facility, so we think that the fact that these turkeys remain in one place throughout their lives is a particularly compelling point of difference. animals. As far as the birds looking “just as crowded as a commercial farm” this again has to do with turkeys’ naturally social nature. Kate, our photographer said that as soon as she walked onto the farm, they were coming right up to her camera! Thus, all of the turkeys are crowded together in the photos, since that’s just what they do. And they are fed roasted soybeans and corn – the soybeans giving added protein, where many conventional farms would feed animal byproducts instead.
11/21/2008 10:22:49 AM CST
Carol says ...
Dear Ed and Winnie: This is helpful information, and I really appreciate your efforts. I would like to know more, though, such as how much space they do have outdoors to roam in; and how they are slaughtered. I have seen some nasty photos of turkey processing, such as slicing off their beaks (if that's the correct word) before slaughter, etc. thanks again, Carol
11/21/2008 2:33:33 PM CST
jojo says ...
I don't know...those turkeys look pretty crowed to me. What's state-of-the-art about that?
11/24/2008 7:57:21 AM CST
Craig says ...
Can public come for a tour of the farm and see first hand for themselves how the life and process of the turkey is?
01/17/2009 9:14:05 AM CST
Dawn says ...
Craig, there is a link to the Jaindl Farms website, and on their website is a contact section with a phone # and email addy. I imagine if you call them, they'll let you know if there are tours of the farm. If you do contact them, and do visit, let us know!!
02/05/2009 10:36:37 PM CST
Mandi says ...
Reading through, I am stunned that there is more mention of how the animal is treated and if it is free to roam. When actually the questions should come from an area of where are they roaming. If you read the USDA guidelines to be considered organinc. They are very shocking. And then think how much of our land in the US has not been exposed to some kind chemicals, trash or hazardous waste. I am all for eating better, and honestly have felt great since I have watched more of what is going in my mouth. But as a farmer I would rather suggest that nothing is truely "organic". Just a means of being pretty close.
02/18/2009 3:54:46 PM CST
Jen Davis says ...
Gee, looks kind of crowded in there...
03/09/2009 10:38:31 AM CDT
Kate says ...
Looking for Turkeys already this year. I just checked Jaindl's website and it says nothing about being free range. Whole Foods lists these turkeys as free range.
11/06/2009 1:54:05 PM CST
Barb Johnston says ...
Jaindl farms CAN YOU ORDER A LARGE TURKEY FOR THANKSGIVIING We always used JaINDL big birds when we lived in NY I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to get a 35 -40 # birds again it's a dream for hubby he loves turkey and well wants one so bad if you can I can call with a card number to hold it untill I get into Vegas
11/07/2009 3:28:53 PM CST
Stephen Collins says ...
It's funny that the photos that accompany this story are normally what scares people away from your average supermarket and into Whole Foods. I am willing to pay more for better and more humane food, but the photos on this page and the info from the Jaindl website has convinced me to place my order with a local farm. The term “free range” means that the birds have access to the outdoors. There are no cages, and they can come and go as they please... Really? Because legally, Free-Range means almost nothing. I could keep 10,000 birds in my basement and if I have a 2x2 sq. ft. area outside the door that they can see and get to, I could call them Free-Range. I can't understand why this market is being ignored. There are people willing to pay higher prices for real pasture raised food and it is so hard to find. And you put up a story with a guy in a suit (not looking like any farmer I have ever seen) standing in the middle of thousands of turkeys in a cage. And this is supposed to excite us?
11/10/2009 2:41:05 PM CST
Christa says ...
Lighten up folks. I think Whole Foods is doing a great job of ensuring animals are treated humanely. These articles prove it to me.
11/18/2009 9:06:21 PM CST
frizzle says ...
Stephen Collins. I completely agree with everything you said.
11/19/2009 12:31:17 AM CST
Dennis says ...
fed soy and corn!!!! blah! you might as well by a Butterball! A turkey is considered 'free-range' if it has access to outdoors by US standards, which means nothing nutritionally, it doesn't mean they are ever outside, let alone eating grass and bugs as they should be...they should be rotated over differing grass fields where they can eat grass/bugs naturally every day...soy and corn is the worse thing to be feeding an animal the was NEVER, EVER intended to eat soy or corn, besides the fact that it produces immensely deficient nutritional turkey meat...ugh!! to your research before buying a turkey, look for 'Pastured' turkeys...
11/19/2009 2:23:28 PM CST
Caralea Page says ...
Whole Foods in my area also carries Mary's Turkeys for Thanksgiving. It sounds like a good alternative: http://www.marysturkeys.com/mmov_on_the_farm.html
11/19/2009 4:44:57 PM CST
JW says ...
1st the only bird raised in a cage in the commercial industry is the laying hen. You will never in any operation see a meat bird of any kind raised in a cage, so to call these turkeys free range is extraneous, immaterial and simply a marketing play on words to make you think they are raised natural. Why call the turkeys free range when they are raised on dirt, which is really no different than the confinement house they are in most of the time. The only difference is the confinement house probably has a concrete floor under the bedding, so since the houses seem to have screens on them the turkeys fresh air just like being out side on dirt. So by telling you they are free range, it is suppose to cause you to think they are some how superior when they simply are net getting any extra nutritional value from this model.
11/19/2009 9:21:25 PM CST
Lisa Esposito says ...
I agree. My 8 year old just wrote a story about Thanksgiving. She said, "Thanksgiving is not about eating a dead stuffed turkey, it is about giving thanks!" I am glad we are raising a new generation that will be thankful for our choices. I would love to know where these turkies are processed "humanely." The photo shows them all packed in a cage. How many hours per day are they allowed "free range." Or is this photo showing their "free range." I appreciate whole foods looking for the best cared for turkies!!!
11/20/2009 1:35:42 AM CST
Claudia says ...
This picture illustrates crowded conditions for the birds. How humane is that? If one is going to eat meat and poultry; at least allow them to be happy for most of their lives.
11/21/2009 12:19:09 AM CST
Jen says ...
I grew up on a large poultry farm. My grandfather used to joke that he had "hundreds of shadows" Turkeys FLOCK together as do most birds. It is their way of not feeling stressed. At a commercial farm, they never see daylight, they are literally on top of one another, some get trampled, and they eat a diet full of antibiotics and left over by products. Some actually eat the carcasses of dead chickens, turkeys. On a humane turkey farm, they are allowed to live naturally, they are fed healthy diets full of corn, naturally grown soybeans, grains, they FLOCK together (even when roaming). As far as slaughtering, their necks are sliced. Then they are bathed/plucked. Slicing of their necks stops them from feeling pain (read a science book if you are unsure). If you still aren't comfortable, become a vegetarian. Happy Thanksgiving. Whole Foods - Thank you for the natural photo. If i would have seen turkeys alone and roaming, i would have been disappointed that Whole Foods "staged" a photo!
11/21/2009 7:47:02 PM CST

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