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Jaindl Farms

This blog post previously contained an outdated video about a supplier. We have removed the video to prevent confusion. We have always believed in and fought for the improvement of welfare for farm animals industry-wide, and all the pork, beef, chicken and turkey in our fresh meat cases comes from producers who have achieved certification to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating system.


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 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.

Editor’s Note: This blog was modified on 9/22/15 to update how we refer to our standards.

 

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49 comments

Comments

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

jojo says …

I don't know...those turkeys look pretty crowed to me. What's state-of-the-art about that?

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?

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!!

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.

Jen Davis says …

Gee, looks kind of crowded in there...

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.

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.

Mocha says …

I am new to the organic and free range market. I love the idea of a turkey not living in cramped conditions. Where is the "free range" you are promoting? Looks like it just means they can migrate 5 feet outside their cages, still crowded. It does not seem humane. Thanks, Mocha

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

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...

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?

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!!!

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.

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

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.

frizzle says …

Stephen Collins. I completely agree with everything you said.

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!

Jen says …

ALSO - my grandfather wore suits to present himself nicely if someone was coming to take his picture. Corn and Soybeans are part of a healthy diet as long as it IS NOT GENETICALLY MODIFIED SOYBEANS. Some of you people full of negative comments should do your homework before posting a comment. Vegetables are a natural way of giving these birds a diet that is well rounded. Soybeans are a natural vegetarian source of protein. As for corn, who doesn't like the sweetness of corn?

Veda Stram says …

Healthy, clean, dry conditions do not matter when what you do is KILL them at a few months of age. There is no such thing as "clean and healthy" dead baby turkey flesh. GO VEGAN!

gayle says …

Free range? hahahahahhahaHA! Why can't they wander all over that beautiful property?

says …

As per USDA guidelines, fresh turkeys should be stored in a refrigerator for up to 1-2 days and in the freezer for up to 12 months. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/turkey_from_farm_to_table/index.asp

Stephen Collins says …

Jerr, I also would be disappointed if Whole Foods used a staged photo. Part of me thinks that they actually did. I don't have a problem with the idea that my food needs to be killed for me to eat it, so I don't need to become a vegetarian. What bothers me is how hard it is to find food that hasn't been abused for it's entire (albeit short) life. So, I had to do what I thought Whole Foods would have done. I found a local farm and bought a turkey from them. Taken from the pasture and slaughtered on Friday, and in my refrigerator on Saturday. Like real food should be. Yeah, I had to pay 3.99/lb. but it was worth it to me. I'm surprised Whole Foods doesn't feel there are enough customers to offer this themselves. And there is nothing healthy about corn and soybeans for near any animal in this country. You can't even eat most of the corn in this country because its completely inedible. I wonder how many dead turkeys they pulled out of that cage before they took the photo at the top of the page?

nancy says …

i bought a fresh free range turkey last week at whole foods with an expiration date of 12/6. Are you positive that this will be OK for Thanksgiving? I have heard that you are not supose to get fresh turkeys but 1 or 2 DAYS before. I am afraid when i open it up, it will be bad!!! HELP nancy

Claudia says …

I think people tend to do their homework as far as posting goes. Corn and soybeans are among the most genetically modified cereals around; and it is known that too much of these are not good. Corn is in almost everything we eat. Watch King Corn and Food, Inc. Yes, people not too long ago did dress up to present themselves well; and I cannot disagree with this practice. It is much nicer socially than what people do today. My husband's father was a farmer; and I have seen this in his family. My family felt the same way about this custom. If the turkeys have free access to come and go as they please, then it is ideal. But the picture does give the impression that they are, in fact, packed in there; despite the fact that poultry tends to gather together a lot!

Donna says …

I am a consumer that prefers natural old fashioned farm food. In this day and age, we the people need to educate and apply common sense to what we expect with animals. Remember, they are animals and not people and placing human "feelings & expections" on animals is not to the animals benefit. Humaine & natural living conditions does not mean that they live in a condo with their 10 sq. ft. of space taht this their's and have friends over for dinner & cards. It means that they live in a standard that is natural and appropriate to them with some human intervention at times. What turkeys need in life, as explained by Ed Cifur, Whole Foods Team Member, is exactly correct. It works the same way with chickens, pigs, cows, etc. They all have their own needs and natural way of living and socializing. What's good for the goose (us) is not necessarily good for the gander (the critter). I am fortunate enough to have a working farm within 3 miles of my home even though I live in suburbia. The livestock and poultry they raise is for local and their own use. They are not 100% organic but everthing is free range and raised in the animals natural environment. I am able to ask questions and talk with the farmer to educate myself and then apply common sense. I also remember as a child going to my Aunt and Uncle's farm. They raised turkeys for a while and the turkey's liked to crowd themsleves into the huge barn, even on hot days where the human intervention would come in because the turkeys would stay there and suffocate. Get one or so to go outside and the others would follow. I believe that before we start questioning "humaine" and "natural", perhaps dig a little deeper into the vast resourses we have to truly understand the needs and requirements of the critter.

Jen says …

Mr. Collins, If they are feed NATURALLY grown corn and soybeans it is healthy for them. Soybeans and corn are the most common of genetically modified foods. I am not referring to these foods. Soybeans and corn (when grown naturally) provide a host of nutrients. A cow cannot eat corn, a chicken or turkey should. It is very frustrating to hear some of these comments, when I grew up on a farm and know what our animals were fed and how they are characteristically. I am glad some of you can afford $3.99/lb for your turkey. It is wonderful that you went tog a local farm. For those of us who cannot afford to pay that much, it is a relief to know that I do not have to sacrifice quality - I can buy one of these turkeys.

Stephen Collins says …

Jen... You might not be able to convince me that 'naturally' grown corn and soybeans even exist anymore. I would also argue, unfortunately, that while your experiences on your family farm are true, that the farms where we get are food today, are nothing like the farms most of us grew up on and around.

Brunty Farms says …

You see Whole Foods, people want truly free range, pasture raised products from farmers.... not men in business suits. From the other post it said that "only the tips of beaks are trimmed". If you notice in these turkeys more than half of the upper beak is trimmed. Sad, that this is considered humane even by Whole Foods standards. I welcome you to visit our farm and truly I will show you what free range turkeys should look like. Like I said in the previous post, you guys have a long way to go. You have captured a market that is taking the food industry by storm. People that care about their food have a lot of pull in how it's raised and treated. Any farm that I have seen on your blog so far would not meet my standards, if I was buying a turkey. I get it though, it's tough to find poultry readily available that meets consumers needs. The question is, how do you find a farm to supply Whole Foods that meets these high expectations of your consumers. A turkey with a full beak, that has lived the majority of it's life on grass/pasture, not in a barn nor a dirt yard. Yes, turkeys do flock together, but nice cover up. Those pics show endless bodies of turkeys, I'm dumbfounded that in your routine checks that this hasn't been an issue. See a company of this stature (Whole Foods) can demand to these turkey farms whatever you want. If you say that you don't want any of the birds beaks trimmed and that you want them raised on pasture... guess what.... that's what they are going to do. Do yourself a favor and trail blaze your own standards that poultry companies should abide by... not the other way around. For all you consumers out there that want to know the truth, visit a family farm and ask the farmers the questions yourself.... not Whole Foods. Brunty Farms

eva says …

I'm not sure if I am getting what I want when I buy this turkey. Whole foods claims that Jaindl turkeys are free range, and humanely raised and slaughtered, and some are fed organic feed; however the Jaindl website does not make any claims to being a free-range or humane. They do not seem to have any certification for these claims. I ordered the bird today, choosing the organic/free range bird; but now I'm not sure if this product is all that it claims. Can anyone at Whole Foods clarify for me?

BRU says …

..R.I.P...YUM,YUM...LMAO...

Kim says …

I would love to buy a locally raised natural or organic turkey. I checked on prices at several farms in this area and the rates were all $7 to $8 per pound. I understand that the local farmers need to charge these prices to make their profits; but unfortunately, this puts it out of reach for many families, considering the expenses for the rest of an organic Thanksgiving meal.

Bepkom says …

We encourage our customers to get to know the farmers and ranchers who provide the meat they purchase. Here’s a link to Jaindl's website for information: http://www.jaindl.com/Jaindl-Farms/ If you have more questions beyond this, please contact them directly to ensure you get the most accurate information available.

Donna says …

Hi I would like to know if your turkeys are corn fed? I am allergic to corn. Thank you

Susan says …

How many days can you hold the fresh turkey in the refrigerator before cooking?

says …

@Susan All of our fresh turkeys should be dated. The turkeys should be cooked or frozen prior to that date.

Mary Ann Dimuzio says …

Are your turkeys fed non-GMO grains? If so, why are the turkeys not labeled organic?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARY ANN - The Jaindl Farm does offer an organic option of turkey which cannot contain any GMOs since it is certified organic. it does not appear that all of their turkey options are organic, however. You can find more product info at http://www.jaindl.com/store/Turkeys/Jaindl-Organic-Turkey-Orgainic-O4I_14.aspx.

Diane Rodabaugh says …

Where can I buy my Jaindl this year....called Will's Poultry where I usually get my large bird; are there any other places where I can get them?

Diane Rodabaugh says …

Where can I buy my turkey....in Buffalo New York area.....get one every year; they are the best.......usually get a 30 pounder......only Jaindl will do....

Angélica - Community Moderator says …

@DIANE We do not currently have a store in Buffalo so the best suggestion I have would be to contact the store directly. The phone number listed for them on their website is (610) 395-333. Thank you!