It’s an ongoing debate on which came first, the chicken or the egg. This week we head to Ohio to learn more about the Gerber Amish Poultry Farm. Starting with the management of hatching over 125,000 chicks four days a week, their round the clock farms settle for nothing but the best when it comes to providing poultry for millions of consumers. At their operation, philosophical questions aside, the egg came first.
The Story Behind Gerber
Dwight Gerber lived in a small town in Kidron, Ohio that was a little over an hour from Akron in a large Amish and Mennonite farming community. Surprisingly, he didn’t start his career working with poultry, instead he began purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from the Amish neighbors and selling them door to door in Akron neighborhoods. His frequent visits to Akron eventually turned into customers requesting more than just produce, they wanted poultry. As more customers inquired, Dwight saw this as an opportunity to develop a sustainable business providing food to his communities while supporting his family financially. This revelation led him to begin raising his own chickens. The operation was truly a family venture supported by his wife and children. From feeding the chickens to delivering product to neighborhoods, his family enjoyed being involved. Home deliveries became so popular that Dwight was able to expand his business to local grocery stores. The expansion was a direct result of Dwight’s focus to provide clean processed poultry, something not available in many meat markets at the time. His continued focus on quality translated to a booming business that allowed him to not only support the Amish community, but also to expand and support over 500 team members and the stores carrying Gerber’s Amish Farm Chicken® products. Today, Mike and Sue Gerber oversee operations with a very active third generation involved in multiple aspects of the company. What started out as a simple produce delivery job quickly lead to a successful career path producing great tasting chicken for generations of the Gerber family.
The Audit Services
Today, Gerber is source verified through Where Food Comes From, which means that Where Food Comes From is able to identify the source of origin for Gerber products. Gerber’s policy requires that chickens never consume feed with antibiotics or unnatural additives. Gerber also requires that all the family farmers, as well as anyone who handles live chickens, receive annual humane handling training. Care is monitored daily by members of the Gerber Farm team.
Today’s consumers want products that meet high standards for quality and taste. Gerber Poultry’s goal has been to produce a chicken that meet or exceed those expectations. They begin with a selected breed of chicks that are hatched at their own hatchery. The processing plant then follows specific guidelines in accordance to all USDA food safety standards. Through the assistance of Where Food Comes From, Gerber is able to provide you reassurance about your food and the claims behind it. The partnership of Where Food Comes From has opened other doors for Gerber including a partnership with Heinen’s Grocery Store, a retailer of Where Food Comes From Source Verified products. They also share the same philosophy as Gerber to provide fresh, high quality foods to consumers. You can learn more about Heinen’s or find your local store at www.heinens.com.
Learn more about the Gerber Poultry story here as well as an in-depth Q&A with their farm team!