Mary Pitman of Mary’s Free-Range Chickens

Mary’s Free-Range Chicken is now a third-generation family owned business that has operated since 1954. They are proudly working on their fourth generation as Mary Pitman’s grandsons have begun coming to help out at their facilities. From 1998-2003, Mary’s son started five chicken farms during his time attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. From that point on, Mary’s chicken took off. Mary’s role in the company today surrounds customer service, as well as nurturing the company’s relationships with stores and buyers from all around the west coast. Mary’s vision for Mary’s Chicken sprouted from her search for the purest foods in order to ensure her own well-being, an option she now provides to her customers. For many years, Mary has cooked and provided her chickens to Whole Foods statewide as well as many stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through their involvement in California Food for California Children, Mary’s partnered with the Conscious Kitchen in providing their organic chicken in schools. Mary was a schoolteacher before her role in Mary’s Chicken so it brings her a lot of joy to see kids eat every bite of food on their plate because of it’s quality and gives them the nourishment they need to thrive. 

Ensuring quality is Mary’s priority. Earlier in her life, Mary would often get sick from the food she was eating which prompted her to become a “meter for bad foods” she said. Mirroring methods used in Europe, Mary’s chickens are air-chilled- allowing them to retain their natural flavor- instead of soaked in boatloads of chlorine which has been a widely used method in the United States. “It’s just chicken”, she says. A strong philosophy of hers is treating her customers as if they were herself. Since Mary spent so much time committed to making sure she wasn’t eating something that was going to make her sick, she raises her chicken to give her customers that same amount of attention and care. Mary’s Chicken commits to being socially, economically and environmentally conscious. Mary’s was the first vendor to come out with a Non-GMO verified non-organic chicken making non-gmo more accessible to customers who can’t afford organic chicken. She says, “The consumer really wants to know where their food comes from. They want to know that it was ethically raised. My chicken is the kind of chicken that I would buy so I can really relate to the consumer because that’s who I am”. The practices of Mary’s Chickens also helps other vendors prosper by not attempting to monopolize the chicken industry. Mary takes pride in that her company helps keep other farms in business because they don’t raise them for quantity like the larger companies: instead, they raise them for quality.

Mary and Dawn Pitman with their grandchildren.

Mary is proud to have fostered such quality relationships with her customers. She shared that she receives thank you letters everyday for how humane Mary’s Chickens practices are. The Conscious Kitchen is proud to be partnered with Mary’s Free-Range Chicken!

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