Modern Amenities, Southern Charm

Joyce Farms. What is a Naked Chicken?

This family-owned company is located on Kinnamon Road adjacent to where it crosses I40. Its origin goes back to 1962 when Alvin Joyce started his business career delivering chickens, by bicycle, to local Lewisville area grocery stores e.g. Food Town (now Food Lion) and Hefner’s Land of Food. His enterprise flourished, especially when Kentucky Fried Chicken arrived on the scene (the stories of these first KFC franchisees merit their own narrative). The bicycle became a truck, two trucks, three trucks and more.

In 1971 Alvin’s son Ron, an accountant, joined the company. As demand expanded it became obvious that chicken was rapidly becoming a commodity. Competition increased, bringing with it mass production and a corresponding decline in quality. Where had the flavor gone?

Photo of Joyces on Farm (from left – Stuart Joyce, Ron Joyce, Ryan Joyce)

Father and son made the decision to change the company’s direction. Joyce Farms set its sights on the production and sale of poultry, followed by livestock that was raised the ‘old-fashioned way’. Fast forward to today. Ron Joyce, now president, is almost fanatical in his belief that major meat producers have “Manipulated Mother Nature” in their desire for the cheapest and most profitable possible way to raise animals from birth to slaughter. He describes all Joyce Farms’ products as “naked” which means “nothing added ever”. This includes the company’s grass-fed ‘Heritage Beef’ which is prized by top chefs and restaurants around the country for its texture and flavor. The company works with small family-owned farms in the southeast and at an in-depth level with Dr. Allen Williams, a nationally respected expert in soil health and grazing practices.

The business moved from Lewisville to the Clemmons facility in 1991 and currently occupies about 40,000 square feet. Here its main function is processing chickens which can be done at up to 5,000/day (compared to up to 300,000/day for a large commercial mass producer). Cleanliness and environmental quality are paramount. Production goes from a special temperature-controlled hatchery to packaged, vacuum sealed, ‘naked’ chickens ready for shipment to restaurants and distributors. There are about 100 full-time employees. Benefits include health insurance, 401K’s, and bonus opportunities.

Ron Joyce currently heads up the whole operation and his succession is assured by two sons, Ryan and Stuart who are very actively involved in the company.

Out for dinner at a great restaurant or shopping at a high-end grocery store and find the Joyce Farms’ name, you will be assured of a great ‘naked’ eating experience 😊 😊.

Go to www.joyce-farms.com for a complete list of products that can be bought locally…………………….bon Appetit.

David Cross

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