Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Bell & Evans

By Kate Medley, April 17, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Kate Medley
BELL & EVANS – Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania Bell & Evans is a leading producer of chickens raised without antibiotics.  For four generations, beginning in the 1890s, Bell & Evans has been raising and processing the highest quality chickens in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, in a modern facility equipped with the latest technology. The birds are raised on an all-vegetarian diet in a low stress environment, and delivered to Whole Foods Market within 24 hours of processing to ensure a fresh product with premium flavor.
Category: Farm to Market




jerri says ...
my husband loves these. he is a carnivore and i am a vegetarian (www.cooking4carnivores.com), but i get the frozen breast for him and heat them up with my quorn "chicken". he can't get enough of them and it makes cooking meat for him simple and quick.
04/17/2009 12:06:15 PM CDT
Kay says ...
I love the Bell & Evans Chicken Tenders. After baking, I slice them and place them on top of my organic salad. Easy and Delicious
04/23/2009 9:11:26 PM CDT
Alex says ...
Seeing that beautiful, harmless, little fellow really makes me want to be a vegetarian.
04/24/2009 3:50:02 PM CDT
Mario says ...
I have to agree with Alex, I feel pretty bad about the fact that me and that lil chick will probably be meeting each other some day.
04/28/2009 8:44:53 PM CDT
cass says ...
Id really like to hear less about their modernity and more about how these critters are raised. Is this another huge processing plant chicken farm where they only give the chickens free range for 2 weeks before they are slaughtered or is this the kind of farm where these chickens are raised without pens? What exactly does a low stress environment mean? Sounds like a corporate euphemism but I want to believe. I think I know the answer sadly. there are so few good options
05/05/2009 4:57:03 PM CDT
Tom S says ...
Cass - I'd like to take a few minutes to answer your questions: All of our Free Range Organic birds are given access to the outdoors for their entire life, we never cut any corners when it comes to the welfare of our birds. Pens are never used, whether it be for our Organic program or our Antibiotic Free program. Low stress environment means exactly that, we take great care in the cleanliness of our barns, the wholesomeness of our feed, the purity of our water and the quality of the air in the barns. A long time ago we realized that if we wanted to raise the best chicken in the country, we need to start with the best living conditions in the country. All of our birds are placed on a fresh bed of wood shavings shortly after hatch. A young chicks feet are very tender and the clean, soft wood shavings helps start the chicks out right. This philosophy continues all the way to your table. Tom S. - Bell & Evans
05/11/2009 12:23:35 PM CDT
Tonya says ...
Thank you so much for that information. I have struggled for a long time with the treatment of food animals and try as much as possible to stick to cage free/humanely raised, although you never really know what that means. I still really don't like to think about it too much, but I am so glad to know that there is a company that cares about and for their animals. I will definitely be looking for your products!!
05/21/2009 10:18:01 AM CDT
Tony says ...
Hey, That was nice of Tom S. to answer cass's concerns. I wonder if he would do the same for me. I want to believe but since they mentioned feeding corn and soy without mentioning the type I think it is non organic or GMO (genetically modified organism) feed. Please Tom, say it ain't so.
05/21/2009 11:17:31 PM CDT
Tom S says ...
Tony: Yes you will be able to sleep soundly tonight :-) All Bell & Evans Organic chickens are fed a diet of Organic, GMO free, and to top it off USA Grown Grains. Recently a study came out by the Cornucopia Institute about soy imported from abroad. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. The link is here --> http://www.cornucopia.org/2009/05/soy-report-and-scorecard/
05/22/2009 7:24:12 AM CDT
The Activist Motivator says ...
WOW! That link to the soy report and scorecard is great Tom! I have featured it on our site. Thanks for the great food and Keep fighting the good fight! :)
05/22/2009 12:03:52 PM CDT
Tim says ...
"Access" to the outdoors means nothing. What percentage of their lives do they actually SPEND outdoors? Let's not mince words. Chickens like to take dust baths, like to eat grass, enjoy sunshine and fresh air. If they're raised on pasture, then say so. Otherwise, it sounds like confinement farming and while it may be better than other confinement operations, I'm not sure the chicken would agree. It is difficult for consumers to know the truth about where their food comes from and how it's raised because of the confusion around labeling and terms, such as free-range, organic, etc. As producers, we need to clearly tell the truth about how we raise our food so consumers can decide for themselves what they want to eat. Tim Young <a href="http://www.naturesharmonyfarm.com" rel="nofollow">Nature's Harmony Farm</a> Pasture Raised Chicken, Grassfed Beef, Woodlot Pork, Heritage Turkeys
06/13/2009 8:59:04 PM CDT
Shari L. says ...
Bell &amp; Evans: are they feeding GMO to the birds?
07/27/2009 12:08:42 PM CDT
Heather says ...
I would like to thank Tom for all his answers to the many questions posted. I would however also note that while containment farming might not be "best" there are usually many reasons for doing so including being able to monitor the bird's health, as well as to protect them from predators.Even though I believe "free range", and "pasture raised" are best for some smaller/mid-size farms and I commend the farmers who do so, but for a Whole Foods farmer who supplies many animals I am surprised Tom is able to do all of the things he does for his birds. Yes. Good, better, best. But then there's all the rest. I'm for one happy he's giving competition to the commercial farms that could careless if their birds are happy let alone alive. Tom gets my vote :).
09/12/2009 8:44:09 PM CDT
tom says ...
What standards and enforcement does Bell &amp; Evans have for its growers in terms of manure? As most of us know it's not the processing plant that causes so much water pollution, it's the growers and their practices for using or disposing of litter. Do all growers use certified nutrient management practices? Who and how are these practices monitored and enforced? Do these practices apply just to storage, or also to use on crops and fields?
09/29/2009 1:51:10 PM CDT
Sivashankar Iyer says ...
I am used to have fresh poultry, right from the farm. After tasting Bell &amp; Evan's chicken I started loving chicken again in USA. They are fresh, take more time to cook which means they are natural. Not like other amish chicken (tastes like biscuit) after cooking and cooks in 5 minutes.
12/16/2009 4:59:41 PM CST
Jim M says ...
I found this blog: Bell &amp; Evans: A tiny report Once, before we were renegade local food activists, we were newspaper reporters (who fell in love and ran away together). So it brings our newspaperin’ hearts much joy to call people up out of the blue and ask them questions. We now bring you this shallowly-reported piece on Bell &amp; Evans chickens: Bell &amp; Evans is one of those producers who confuse otherwise-ethical shoppers. They say “free range,” and they now sell “organic free range” chickens and chicken parts. And when you’re in the store, and you’re looking at those versus completely unidentifiable chicken, of course you think you’ve made the best choice. But it’s like those misleading surveys where the question is something like, “Do you support the war in Iraq” and your options are A). YES B). Yes and C) 110%. You’re not really being given good options. Or options at all. The life of a Bell &amp; Evans chicken is one of luxury for an industrial chicken. But it’s still very much an industrial chicken and their marketing is still a gross misuse of the term “free range.” They live indoors, in gigantic climate controlled chicken houses (so not even wind and fresh air from windows), where the lights turn on an off at certain times and where water and food is mechanically distributed. Their “organic” chickens are legally required to have access to the out of doors, but, of course, it’s really not much of a yard. The woman who took our call assured that “It’s not like they have to go out,” as though the idea of a chicken wandering around outside is digusting or undesirable somehow and revealed that they don’t, in fact, go out much at all. That’s a terrifying glimpse into the brainwashing that goes on in this world. One of the big selling points of these birds is that they are “air chilled.” For those of you who don’t know what this means, it’s the alternative to water chilling slaughtered poultry. Some say it’s more sanitary to air chill them because these water baths chill so many birds. But the Bell &amp; Evans people want you to know that water chilling is less ideal for consumers because the birds take on water weight, which we then pay for at the register. Instead, their birds are hung from hooks and cruise around a factory for TWO MILES in cold air. How bizarre is it that humans build two mile long indoor conveyor systems? What this person was unable to answer off the top of her head was how many chickens live and die per day, or month, or every year. “It’s a lot.” She knew it was quite a number of them. But she took down our phone number and email address and promised to get back with that information. And never did. We struggle sometimes with whether or not we should come down so hard on those who are “trying” or doing some stuff right. But the bottom line is that this just isn’t good enough. Psuedo humane factory farming is just factory farming. If you’re going to eat meat, spend the money, take the time and find the real stuff.
02/18/2010 5:46:46 AM CST
Lorretta says ...
Dang, there's no pleasing some folks. I support my local ranchers and farmers as much as I can afford, but the options are not out there for everyone. Farming and ranching are tough businesses and anyone making an honest effort to raise and slaughter animals humanely, while delivering a quality product, should be applauded. While I agree that corporate agriculture can be evil, I also realize that we gotta eat and food is big business. Even vegetarians take a toll on the environment and the animal world, according to Barbara Kingsolver's book. The more each of us do to support local agriculture, hound our politicians for better regulations, and try to limit our own consumption, the better our communities and our planet will be.
03/03/2010 10:02:01 AM CST
karen says ...
The chickens are fed a vegetarian diet. What does the feed contain and is it all non GMO? Thanks.
04/03/2010 5:01:29 PM CDT
vaughnm says ...
@Karen, The feed is all vegetarian and may contain corn and soy. The producers we work with who do not raise organic animals sometimes attempt to source feed that does not contain GMOs, but in general, that is a very difficult thing to do because the available supply of non-GM feed is limited and generally already contracted by organic producers. Even if they manage to secure non-GM feed at one time of year, they may be unable to find it at other times. Also at issue is the price of non-GM animal feeds. Organic meat prices reflect the difference in feed cost, but it is difficult for our other producers to bear the extra costs without raising their prices. If customers prefer to consume only products that contain no GMOs, the best bet is to buy organically produced meat as GM feed components are not permitted under the National Organic Program standards. Thanks!
04/03/2010 5:15:46 PM CDT
Tim says ...
For those that are wondering more about Air Chill check http://scottschickenblog.com/ the owner of the company explains and shows pictures about the process.
04/20/2010 2:46:10 PM CDT
Elena Eccellente says ...
Do ALL WHole Foods markets get their chickens from Bell &amp; Evans? I usually shope at teh Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado.
07/21/2010 11:26:43 PM CDT
Amandase are AWESOME! says ...
Wow - tenders and nuggets made with real, whole chicken breast! I don't bother with any other brands. These are AWESOME. (Even the gluten-free taste great!)
10/20/2010 2:33:19 PM CDT
Mike Gillean says ...
Tried to find out if your stores sell the Bell &amp; Evans chicken wings, but nothing on your site, except blurbs like this one, but enter bell&amp; Evans in the search box, nothing. Bell &amp; Evans Chiken wings, Nothing! This is not the first difficulty I have had w/ WFM. You talk customer service, but fail to deliver in many cases. I am not driving there (Sonoma,CA) to find out you don't have it. In the past, I have attempted to adress some concerns with Corporate, but the emails get diverted to the individual store, which is where the problem is, and the response is less than expected.
02/13/2011 9:30:50 AM CST
Matt Abdali says ...
Thank you TOM for giving us all that wonderfull information!!! I'm 28 years old and I have been in the wholesale poultry business for 10 years along with my 3 brothers ( we are located in south jersey). I was wondering what information if any can you provide me with, in order for us to grow our business in the sense that we would like to grow our own poultry and slaughter it as well. We are looking for a small operation to start with or are looking to maybe purchase or buy into an already existing slaughterhouse because we have the volume in sales. any information would be usefull. once again THANK YOU TOM!!!!!!
05/02/2011 4:55:52 AM CDT
Brian says ...
Hi Tom, I am a team member in the meat department at Whole Foods Market in NJ and customers ask me frequently about G.M.O and if It's in your Bell and Evan's chicken. I always tell them to go organic to be safe but it's just too expensive for most people so they settle for the All natural regular chicken which I usually buy also. I try to avoid G.M.O as much at possibly and so do most of my customers, so we would all like to know if your all natural non organic chicken is fed G.M.O. products. Thank you
06/04/2011 11:23:17 AM CDT