Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 64
Pride in Poultry
Harrison Poultry's facility upgrades ensure it provides quality products.
By Alan Dorich
2016 sales: $210 million
Headquarters: Bethlehem, Ga.
Specialty: Yellow chicken
David Bleth, president and CEO: "If
Georgia was a country by itself, we'd be
ranked seventh in the world in poultry
Continuing the Legacy
>> President and CEO David Bleth (back row, second from right) leads Harrison Poultry with his executive team.
t's a good time for Harrison Poul-
try to be in business. "All the analysts say that poultry demand
worldwide is going to increase
in the next 10 years," President and
CEO David Bleth says. "[When they]
give you the charts, you see a great
opportunity for poultry."
Bethlehem, Ga.-based Harrison
Poultry produces golden-yellow
chicken, which it sells to Hispanic
markets across the United States. Its
founder, Harold Harrison, started the
company in December of 1958.
Born in 1920, he grew up during
the Great Depression and graduated
from the University of Georgia before
joining the Army in 1941. "He served
in the European Theater until 1945,"
Bleth says, adding that Harrison left
as the captain of his platoon.
Harrison taught agricultural economics classes at the University of Georgia
before starting his own egg business in
1949. When business slowed, he expanded and sold both eggs and chicks,
and finally built a broiler processing
plant for Harrison Poultry.
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com
Harrison served as a state senator
and on the board of education of Barrow County, Ga., for 24 years. He also
funded the $3.9 million construction
of a church in Bethlehem that has
more than 1,000 members and a preschool today.
Harrison died in 2001, and Harrison Poultry continues his legacy in
Bethlehem. "Today, we are ranked
number 22 out of 35 total chicken
companies in size," Bleth reports. The
company's 180,000-square-foot facility processes up to 44 million chickens
"We're one of just a few remaining yellow bird companies left in the
United States," he says, explaining
that the chicken is popular in Mexico.
During its process, Harrison Poultry
adds marigold flower extract to turn
the poultry's skin yellow.
The company performs a soft scald
on the chicken, which is eight to 10
degrees cooler than a typical scalding
process. "That allows us to maintain
the yellow coloring," Bleth says. "It
also allows us to have a little more fat
between the skin and the meat, which
makes our chickens more flavorful."