Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Pork Newsflash!

By Rebecca Joerres, March 4, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Rebecca Joerres


This blog post previously contained an outdated video about a supplier.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.

We’ve got some exciting news!

We now have our first 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating System Step 5+ producer — Thompson Farms!

To achieve a Step 5+ rating, a farm’s animals must be born and live their entire lives on one farm, pigs and cattle must be slaughtered on the farm, and chickens can only be transported short distances. Thompson Farms is an all-natural pork producer that raises free-range pigs on 1,000 acres in southern Brooks County, Georgia.

The farm has been in operation since the 1930s, when Raymond Thompson and his father started growing produce for the surrounding community.

Raymond then continued the tradition with his own son, Andrew, when they opened Thompson Farms Smokehouse.

The farm was able to achieve its Step 5+ rating because they built an on-farm processing facility thanks to a loan from the Local Producer Loan Program at Whole Foods Market.

Have you tried Thompson Farms pork? Let us know what you think!

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

Category: Local, Meat, Animal Welfare




Janice Gervais says ...
What an excellent example of how farming should be done.
03/05/2012 7:44:28 AM CST
Vladimir says ...
This is amazing I for one will now only buy pork products at Whole Foods from this farm
03/05/2012 10:40:43 AM CST
Chris says ...
Wonderful news, congratulations! This is an exciting step, I hope their success proves to motivate other farms as well.
03/05/2012 4:53:11 PM CST
Karly Topkis says ...
I want to thank Whole Foods for its commitment to making sure they are supplying pork to its customers that has come from an all natural farm. The pigs are treated well and not transported anywhere before being slaughtered. The process can be so grueling but to hear the sanitary precautions that Thompson Farms uses on their pigs is unbelievable. It seems to be a lot more work but well worth it to keep the pigs happy throughout their short lifespan. Thank you Whole Foods for considering the lives on the animals before selling the meet to all of your customers.
03/05/2012 5:25:44 PM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Karly Thank you for your support and loyalty!
03/07/2012 12:26:53 PM CST
debbie boucher says ...
What a blessing ! One can only hope for the standards to be set and met for all animal producing farms ! Thank you Whole Foods !
03/08/2012 4:58:01 AM CST
Elizabeth says ...
Thank you so much Whole Foods for standards that you set.This is truly how farming should be. I will only buy this product from Thompson Farms.
03/10/2012 10:28:38 AM CST
Katie says ...
I'm wondering if they are fed any gmo's. Thank you.
10/16/2012 1:28:42 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KATIE - Thanks for your question. Due to the prevalence of the GMOs in the commodity grain market, and the limited availability of verified non-GMO feed, we cannot require the use of only non- GMO feed for animal products (including meat, dairy and farmed fish) sold in our stores. We encourage shoppers who are looking to avoid products from animals fed GMOs to choose organic meat and dairy products (since organic standards prohibit the intentional use of GMOs).
10/16/2012 3:14:40 PM CDT
Edgar says ...
I lived in the Santa Barbara area and would like to know if the Pork sold at this particular Whole Foods Market sells the Pork that was raised in Georgia; and if so, how were the pigs transported to California? I recently purchased Organic Pork....thanks
12/09/2012 3:54:34 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@EDGAR - Thanks for your question. Since our products and vendors vary between store locations, I would suggest reaching out to the store in Santa Barbara. They will typically try their best to find vendors that meet our Quality Standards and are more local. They'll be happy to let you know where their organic pork comes from.
12/11/2012 4:57:51 PM CST
Sharon Cunningham says ...
I give products from Thompson Farms for Christmas gifts - always a hit! Great product, great managers, great neighbors.
04/16/2013 5:41:27 PM CDT
tombop says ...
Thompson Farms pork is the Best! It has the same flavor and tenderness as the pork I remember from childhood fifty years ago....so much better than all that "other white meat" stringy pork with no flavor! Thanks for carrying it in your store!
07/02/2014 1:17:55 PM CDT
Suzanne says ...
I'm sorry it took this long to find this news, and comment, but I LOVED their pork. I want them back in my Whole Foods! Not just the picnic roast, but the bacon was amazing, the ground pork was perfect, no hint of taint, ever. Same with the sausage, which I really miss. We started using the picnic roasts for our Thanksgiving dinner, instead of anything else, it's that good. Making recipes with beef, that called for pork sausage, just isn't the same. I want the good pork back!
07/07/2014 7:50:26 AM CDT
Paula Bowen says ...
Which store are the Thomson Farms supplying I couldn't find it at Los Gatos or Campbell.
10/12/2014 10:09:44 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@PAULA - Since we are decentralized, our buying is done at the store/regional level so we do not have a list of every vendor at each store.
10/13/2014 2:30:04 PM CDT
Debra Green says ...
Are you supplying Whole Foods in Southern California?
01/07/2015 4:02:56 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DEBRA - This is the Whole Foods blog so I'm not sure how I can help. Are you looking for a particular vendor that supplies our stores? If so, it will differ between stores so just call your local store to find out. They will be happy to help!
01/08/2015 2:12:50 PM CST
James says ...
how come the roast or picnic cut or ham does not have the skin on the cut. Kepts the meat mosit. Palm beach lakes boca raton coral springs pompano beach and fortlauderdale dont have that pork or the pork with the skin on it
03/05/2015 4:56:59 PM CST
peggy gordon says ...
Thank you so much for this farm ( Thompson) I am sick about the treatment of animals that we eat. Especially pigs. They are smart animals that should be raised in a humane way. Thanks for supporting the Thompson products.
05/07/2015 10:50:58 AM CDT
peggy says ...
Thank you for supporting a pork producer who raises his pigs in a humane way. The Gov. should outlaw the pig crates...just horrible treatment of animals. Keep the Thompson Farm in business, they sound great.
05/07/2015 10:54:48 AM CDT
Dale Kelly says ...
Your pork sausage is the best I have tasted. I only wish Whole Foods in Orlando could keep it in stock.
05/20/2015 5:19:11 PM CDT
Mila Garzon says ...
Do you sell small organic pigs? If so, how much are they already cleaned with the heads attached? Thanks,
06/23/2015 2:04:17 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MILA - Most of our stores will not sell the entire pig but I would suggest checking with your local store if they can special order this and if not, they can hopefully refer you to a local butcher.
06/26/2015 3:09:59 PM CDT
Dyan Sublett says ...
We want pork like this in California! I grew up in the Midwest, and knew how pigs were supposed to be raised. I knew how smart they were, and what they gave us in flavor and sustenance. Now I live in Los Angeles. We sure do wish Thompson Farms had an outpost in southern California!
06/27/2015 10:11:34 PM CDT