GERBER POULTRY- 60 YEARS AND STILL THRIVING
The only commercial all natural, antibiotic free chicken raised in Ohio, Gerber's Amish Farm Chicken comes from 125 family farms to your table. Processed in Kidron, the chickens are raised in the Amish farmland within a 45 mile radius of the processing facility. Mike Gerber, president, says, "In order to compete with the poultry giants Gerber's Poultry has successfully carved a niche as a supplier of premium quality chicken that is antibiotic free, gluten free and contains no artificial ingredients."
Gerber Poultry has maintained its niche, and its business continues to grow, due in large part to the integrity of its product and its claims. Every claim on the Gerber's Amish Farm Chicken package is supported by internal checks, records and third party audits. When customers buy Gerber's Amish Farm Chicken they are not only buying a product that tastes absolutely wonderful, but a product that can be trusted.
Gerber Poultry, Inc. had its beginnings sixty years ago when Dwight and Melva Gerber started a small produce and fresh dressed chicken delivery business. "Dad's slogan was 'Quality worth crowing about'", said Mike Gerber, "and it was a goal he strived to reach in every one of the 75 chickens our family hand processed each day." From that simple enterprise Gerber Poultry has grown into a company producing premium chicken products that are distributed throughout a fifteen state area. Gerber Poultry is still family owned and now run by Dwight & Melva's two sons, Mike, Tim, and daughter, Susan.
Approximately 380,000 chicks are hatched each week for delivery to area farms. "Not only do Gerber chickens grow on small family farms, they are also raised naturally in spacious barns with seasonal natural light, fresh air, fresh water and nutritious feed year round", Mike said. "Our Gerber's Amish Farm Chickens are never fed antibiotics, animal by-products or artificial ingredients."
For the last year and a half Gerber Poultry has been working with a nationally recognized humane animal care group to achieve third party humane certification. Gerber has always been committed to caring for its chickens. Though Gerber's farm care already met most of the humane standards, achieving humane certification has required the development of documentation and traceability programs that meet a humane audit's requirements. Gerber has been operating following humane standards and expects to be officially certified humane sometime in 2012.
The Gerber Poultry processing facility is a modern, ever changing and improving operation designed to produce safe, premium quality chicken products from the chickens raised on the farms under Gerber's care. Meeting and exceeding all USDA food safety standards, Gerber's Amish Farm Chicken quality standards surpass USDA Grade 'A' criteria and is demonstrably as safe and good as any organic brand.
What is seen in and on the package, in grocery displays and on the menus of choice restaurants is the final result of the efforts of hundreds of individuals, both employees of Gerber Poultry and companies with whom Gerber regularly does business. What is not seen is humane handling, good stewardship to clean and conserve water, a move to recyclable shipping cases, scientific research and application to produce absolutely safe chicken products and strong employee relationships. Also not seen on the package is Gerber's support of the local Amish farming community. "The Amish family works together to care for the chickens, holding to their traditional standards of family life," Mike explained. Even though Gerber Poultry is all about chicken, it is the chicken that gives the company the means to support the local community and to be a good neighbor.
Gerber Poultry has had a remarkable history and, after 60 years, is making plans for what the company will look like in its' 70th, 75th and even 100th years. How is it that what began as a simple means for a husband and wife to support a small family has grown into a business that supports the families of over 350 employees, 125 family farms and dozens of local businesses? "What has given Gerber Poultry its staying power? Consistency is important and we have excellent managers and now the third generation of family members actively involved in various areas of the company. Working together and supporting each other, we are all committed to the quality and integrity of our products. This earns and secures customer satisfaction," Mike shared. "That commitment to integrity was present in my father and it is present today."
In the past 60 years Gerber Poultry has seen good economic times and bad. The company has survived two absolutely devastating fires, one in 1987 and one in 1997. Those were times that the Gerbers wondered whether they should even try to continue. But they did continue, partly out of a sense of not wanting to quit, partly out of a sense of responsibility to the many families and customers dependent on the company, but mostly because of a certainty that they were following God's direction to pursue this endeavor. The Gerbers continue today with a sense of God's pleasure and blessing in what they are doing; not because they are good but because God is merciful.
Gerber Poultry is much larger than the home business Dwight and Melva started in 1952. But, with production numbers nearly 1,000 times greater that the original
seventy-five head a day, Gerber Poultry customers, according to Mike, "...can still expect to receive the same quality of chicken as that grown on Grandma and Grandpa's
farm and chicken that will taste like chicken should."