Home Wholesome Foods to expand in Shenandoah County, adding in-house slaughter capabilities

Wholesome Foods to expand in Shenandoah County, adding in-house slaughter capabilities

Crystal Graham
dairy farms
(© Savo Ilic – stock.adobe.com)

Family-owned and operated Wholesome Foods, Inc. will expand its meat processing operation by adding a new, USDA-inspected slaughter facility to its Shenandoah County location.

This project will create 12 new jobs and represent nearly $1.2 million of new investment at the long-standing food distribution company.

The company plans to source nearly all of the livestock for the new facility from Virginia farms, creating an important new market for local cattle and hogs.

“As Virginia’s largest private industry, our agricultural sector draws its strength from the diversity of production and the entrepreneurial spirit of families like the Pences, whose company has served the Shenandoah community for more than 50 years,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr said he is pleased to see Virginia partner with Shenandoah County to support this expansion.

“Virginia’s livestock producers benefit when family-owned companies with a strong commitment to local sourcing, like Wholesome Foods, make meaningful investments into the processing infrastructure,” said Lohr.

Wholesome Foods President Wes Pence said he is excited to grow the business through the AFID program.

“This expansion will increase our capacity, add jobs to our work force and provide a much needed service to the community and local farmers for years to come,” said Pence.

Wholesome Foods was established in 1964 by Dean and Syvilla Pence as a home delivery service of poultry, meat and eggs to the Washington, D.C. market. The company has grown into a full-scale food distributor as it supplies wholesale accounts in the mid-Atlantic and provides local home consumers with a variety of meats and cheeses.

The coronavirus pandemic caused backlogs at local meat processors that the company had relied on for beef and pork products. This spurred the company to add in-house slaughter capacity to complement their existing operation and expand their meat processing capabilities. By becoming vertically integrated, the company will be able to better control its meat processing schedule, reduce operating costs, increase production efficiencies, and reduce customer lead times.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Shenandoah County and the Shenandoah County Industrial Development Authority to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Youngkin approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which the county will match with local funds.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.