WelCome To Helmos Foods

Today, Holmes Foods produces and slaughters 700,000 broilers per week averaging 4.00 to 4.10lb (1.8 to 1.9kg) each. These products are sold through distributor channels to specialty markets and food-service customers, with about 40 per cent marinated to customer specifications. An eight-piece cut is also a large portion of the processing in the plant, which employs 310 of the company's 400+ employees.The business is growing, but this is always geared to customer needs – with no desire to grow just for growth's sake. Upgrading and modernizing is going on all the time, with the emphasis always on producing the best quality product at every level. Texas hill country is the town of Nixon, population 2,188, where Holmes Foods has its main office and processing plant. Pete Sbanotto visited Nixon to find what makes the business so special.

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info@holmes-foods.com

101 S Libert Ave, Nixon, TX 78140, United States

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Holmes Foods began in 1925 as ice plant and began doing 'backyard processing', according to Ricky Lester, with the slaughter done across the street in what is now the parking lot. The business grew into a processor of turkeys, heavy hens, broilers and even ducks. This developed into a co-op with the Holmes Foods 'Fresh Texas Chicken' doing the processing, feed supplied by S.R. Lester and Sons, and the hatchery owned and run by Ricky Lester. These three operations were combined in 2000 into the Holmes Foods Company, with the Holmes name retained because it was known for the processed products.

Ranked by the Watt Poultry USA survey in 2009 as 30th in size out of 37 poultry integrators, the family-owned Holmes Foods company certainly would not pretend to be among the giants of the industry. But that is not a concern of the Lester family – S.R. (Pal) and brother Tom, and Pal's son, Ricky. The focus of these owners, with president and CEO Phillip Morris, is performance and quality.

Currently Holmes Foods buys breeding stock from Cobb, placing over 250,000 Cobb 500 fast feathering females per year. "It is not just a meat producer, but we get eggs, too!" says Morris. The last flock of Cobb females produced just over 166 hatching eggs per hen. Eggs are produced for the hatchery from 12 pullet houses and 24 production houses. Recent remodels and new construction have upgraded all the breeder houses to tunnel ventilated, evaporative cooled, computer-controlled ventilation systems with mechanical egg gathering nest systems.