Cooks Venture Founder Matthew Wadiak
Cooks Venture founder Matthew Wadiak

Cooks Venture Pasture-Raised Heirloom Chicken – Matthew Wadiak began his career in the food business as the founder of Blue Apron. While developing the country’s largest meal kit company, he partnered with many protein producers. Matthew saw an opportunity to produce proteins using better farming practices that were less impactful on the environment and more beneficial to the animals and end consumers. Enter Cooks Venture. Cooks Venture raises an heirloom-breed bird whose genetics are proprietary to Cooks Venture. These chickens are slower-growing and raised at nature’s pace with unlimited access to the outdoors. They are fed a non-GMO, vegetarian diet and are never given growth stimulants or antibiotics. They are also certified humane by Humane Farm Animal Care. It is truly a one-of-a-kind program that you’ll only find at Kowalski’s Markets in the Twin Cities.

Miller Poultry – Galen Miller and his father raised turkeys back in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s. In 1974, they switched over to raising broiler chickens, laying the groundwork for what would become Miller Poultry. Over the years, the Miller family have purchased their own feed mill, hatchery and processing plant, allowing them to carefully control every step of the process from egg to table. Miller Poultry raises their chicken with no antibiotics or growth stimulants.

Kadejan Family Photo
Kadejan Family

Kadejan Free-Range Chicken (from Glenwood, Minnesota) – Pete Thorfinnson entered the poultry business by butchering pheasants for hunters back in 1989. Local chefs began asking Pete to raise free-range hens for their restaurants, which began an adventure that has grown immensely over the years. Kadejan grows birds in small flocks and feeds them a strict vegetarian diet. They are raised without added growth stimulants or antibiotics and are air-chilled in the processing plant that Pete built from the ground up in 2007. This allowed them to transform their old plant into a hatchery for local growers.

Gerber’s Amish Farm – Dwight Gerber began raising chickens as a way to make a living back in the 1940s. By the 1950s his business had grown, and he was selling chicken to local grocery stores. Sixty-seven years later, now three generations into their family business, the Gerbers still maintain the standards developed by Dwight and his wife, Melva. The Gerber family feeds their chickens a high-quality vegetarian diet and raises them with no antibiotics. The birds are raised by Amish families in the Midwest Ohio region, all within a short distance from the Gerber plant to help reduce stress on the animals during transport. Gerber chickens are raised with strict humane handling practices and are Animal Welfare Humane Certified by the nonprofit group FACTA (www.factallc.com).