Perdue Farms’ recent foray into the organic market offers grocery store shoppers another choice in affordable, pesticide-free chicken. But in time, could it also lead to cleaner rivers, lakes and bays?
The company, based in Salisbury, Md., is still growing most of its organic chickens in Pennsylvania, which is home to Coleman Natural, the organic grower Perdue purchased in 2011. But with demand strong, Perdue is looking to expand its no-organic and no-antibiotics offerings.
If it does, it may well look to the 1,100 growers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where Arthur Perdue began selling eggs nearly 100 years ago. That move could prompt Big Chicken’s other large companies, Tyson’s and Pilgrim’s Pride, to offer more organic choices. And although organic growing standards have little to do with water quality, raising chickens differently could be good for the streams and rivers that often bisect poultry farms.