MEET THE BRAND: Rosie Organic Chicken
The First Certified Organic Chicken Label in the U.S.
Sonoma County, California is best known for its gentle rolling hills, pastoral little towns, and charming vineyards. But it also happens to be home to one of the best-run chicken farms in the world: Petaluma Poultry, located about 17 miles inland from the Point Reyes National Seashore, and not far from the mudflat solitude of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The fact that Petaluma Poultry is situated in such a sensitive ecological zone helps to define the way the company does business. Their core value is to utilize farming methods that "...create harmonious relationships in nature sustaining the health of all creatures and the natural world." That translates into a comprehensive program that balances the needs of the animals, environment, natural resources, employees and the surrounding community.
Organic certification is not easy to come by. In order for a chicken to attain that vaunted status, it must meet numerous stringent requirements regarding feed, housing conditions, independent monitoring and more.
To start with, Rosie the Organic Chicken is well fed – using certified organic vegetarian corn and soybean meal diets, and no drugs or antibiotics. Rosie is raised under ideal, stress-free conditions, with access to the outdoors in order to live a normal life, running around and developing more muscle and less fat. At Sprouts, our meat buyers swear that this makes for a much more tender and delicious bird.
Rosie was the first certified organic chicken label in the U.S., and that commitment continues to this day. The company raises its chickens in accordance with the organic protocols independently verified by Oregon Tilth, a third-party certifier. Oregon Tilth visits all of the facilities to confirm that organic practices are being followed, and Petaluma maintains a strict audit trail documenting the hatching, growing, processing and distribution of each bird. That's the sort of care that makes us at Sprouts supremely confident about the quality of every package of Rosie Organic Chicken that we sell.
In the name of sustainability, Petaluma also does some very unusual things.
- At their Willowbrook Feed Mill, they voluntarily avoid using electricity during peak hours, from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- In order to cut down on waste, they trade chicken manure to rice farmers, who in turn send hulls back to Petaluma that are spread over the earthen floors of their poultry houses.
- The hatchery donates cardboard egg flats to a rancher who raises crickets.
The company is also fully committed to the well being of its employees, offering full health benefits and 401K plan to its employees, many of whom have now been with the company for decades. And they are big supporters of charitable organizations in Sonoma County.
So the next time you stop by the Meat Department at Sprouts, be sure to check out Rosie Organic Chicken. You'll love the product, and the company that stands behind it.
From a previous issue of Sprouts Farmers Market’s monthly e-newsletter. Hungry? Click here to sign up.