History

  • In December 1955 Emerson Produce Company,

    later to become Dudley Poultry Company, Inc., opened for

    business under the ownership of Sandy Emerson of

    Middlesex, NY. He built the modern chicken processing

    facility using state-of-the-art assembly lines

    for killing, processing and packing poultry.

    The chilled poultry was sold to Rochester, NY

    restaurants, grocery stores and meat markets.

    At the opening ceremonies, NYS Commissioner

    of Agriculture, Daniel Carey, talked about the expansion

    of poultry processing in New York State and said,

    “a plant such as this one can do much toward this expansion.”

  • Unfortunately, that expansion never materialized.

    Just about the time the plant was gearing up for full

    production, the price of fuel increased in the area

    so that the cost to heat poultry grow houses in

    upstate New York became too great. Emerson

    Produce could not secure a steady local supply

    of chickens to meet their demand.

     

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    Live chickens were trucked in from the southern United States

    but eventually, that, too, became cost prohibitive.

    The 220 employee plant only operated as a

    slaughterhouse processing plant for 8 years.

     

  • 1963 was the last year live poultry was processed at the plant.

    That same year, 1963, Sandy Emerson sold the Emerson

    Produce Company to two long time employees, Donald Dudley

    and Lloyd Button. Donald Dudley’s name recognition with

    customers as a salesman led to their decision to change

    the name of the business and “Dudley Poultry

    Company, Inc.”was incorporated in March, 1963.

    The two men ran the business together for many years, selling

    wholesale poultry to customers in the upstate New York area.

  • By 1985 the company had fallen onto hard times.

    Years earlier, Donald Dudley had passed on leaving

    Lloyd Button as the sole owner. Local grape growers

    and business people Peter and Linda Jackson

    bought Dudley Poultry. They didn’t know anything

    about chickens but they did understand how to run

    successful businesses and they turned the company around.

  • The Jackson’s improved the fleet of trucks, computerized

    payroll, order entry and accounting. They made structural

    improvements to the building by expanding the cooler

    and enclosing the loading dock. Dudley Poultry increased

    product offerings and began carrying beef, pork,

    sauces and French fries…and the company grew.

  • Because Dudley Poultry ‘sized’ all of their whole chickens

    before cutting them,  customers could count on getting just

    the size chicken they wanted so that when they cooked their

    BBQ chickens, all chickens would be done at the same time.

    The ‘sizer’ is still used today. Each chicken is hung on a hook

    moved by a rotating conveyor that passes by a series of scales

    set in 1/4 lb increments. The chickens drop into tubs

    placed under the scales when they pass by the scale

    that matches their weight. From there, the chickens

    are moved to the saw room where they are

    cut, boxed, weighed, labeled and then put in

    the cooler awaiting delivery to the customer.

     

  • A generator was installed in 1997. Running on diesel fuel,

    it produced enough electricity to run the entire plant.

    A vacuum packing machine was purchased soon after

    which allowed Dudley to begin packaging marinated

    boneless skinless chicken breast under its own name

    in sealed vacuum packed 2.5 lb. bags.

  • Peter and Linda sold the business to their daughter,

    Teresa Jackson on September 1, 2001. Under Teresa’s

    ownership, Dudley continued to add products and

    update equipment and the plant.

     

  • The Finger Lakes Gourmet brand was added in 2004.

    Retail bags of marinated chicken began being packaged

    under this brand. Other products have been added

    since like marinated drums and thighs and marinated Spiedies.

  • While the core business remained chicken, Dudley

    continued to expand their line, adding over 200

    products in 2008. These products included eggs, salads,

    canned goods, charcoal, cups, plates, pizza supplies

    and a more extensive line of beef and pork.

  •  

    In 2013 we celebrated 50 years in business. 50 years

    employing local people in our rural community.

    50 years of being family owned and locally operated.

    We are successful in part because of our motto:

    “Dudley Poultry…where it’s not the chicken or

    the egg. The customer always comes first!”

  • We began construction on our uniquely renovated

    country store space…a small space full of

    big service and big bargains! All the same great

    products we’d been offering the public for years

    only on Saturday mornings on the shipping dock,

    now open 6 days a week and located at the front

    of the plant in a fresh, clean, updated space.

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    Golbon is a food-service buying group that provides independent food service distributor members, like Dudley Poultry, with innovative products, services and support to help them build their businesses in this fast-paced, volatile industry of razor-thin margins. Dudley is excited to be a member of Golbon buying group!