Our History

More than 75 years in the turkey industry

In 1986, Jennie-O Foods, Inc. was purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation. In 2001, The Turkey Store Company is purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation and merged with Jennie-O Foods to become the brand you know today—Jennie-O Turkey Store. What began as the visions of two entrepreneurs has turned into one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of turkey products.

The vision for today’s brand can be traced back to our founding fathers—Earl B. Olson and Wallace Jerome.

Earl B. Olson, Founder of Jennie-O Foods
Earl B. Olson is considered an icon in the turkey business. His tireless efforts and forward thinking helped propel Jennie-O Turkey Store and the turkey industry to what it is today.

1940: Earl starts raising turkeys while managing a small creamery.
1949: Earl purchased his first turkey processing plant, Farmer's Produce Company, in Willmar, Minnesota.
1950: Dairy and other poultry products are phased out to focus solely on turkey.
1953: Earl converts Farmer's Produce Company to a USDA-inspected turkey plant and names the brand JENNIE-O®—after his daughter, Jennifer.
1954: Farmer's Produce Company purchases a second plant and seeks international distribution. A third plant is purchased in 1966.
1963: Earl's son, Charles, joins the sales staff and becomes president in 1974.
1971: Farmer's Produce Company changes name to Jennie-O Foods, Inc.
1973: The Willmar Avenue plant and corporate office are built to accommodate expanding processing capabilities.
1984: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is among the first to develop the turkey hot dog, using a top-secret seasoning recipe and a custom-built, continuous oven stretching 100-feet long.
1986: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation.

Wallace Jerome, Founder of The Turkey Store Company

Wallace Jerome is remembered as a visionary who made countless contributions to the innovation of the turkey industry.

1922: At age 13, Wallace begins raising turkeys.
1936: Wallace markets 1,500 turkeys off “Home Farm” operation
1937: Wallace moves his hatchery business and becomes Jerome Hatchery.
1941: Wallace founds The Turkey Store Company, an early leader in the industry.
1946: Wallace forms Jerome Farms, Inc.
1950: Wallace purchases a second plant and names it Badger Turkey Industries. In 1957 this facility is the first federally inspected, cooked-turkey processing plant in Wisconsin.
1964: Badger Turkey Industries becomes Jerome Foods.
1974: Wallace’s son, Jerry, joins the company as executive vice president, and becomes president in 1980.
1984: THE TURKEY STORE® brand is introduced.
1998: Jerome Foods, Inc. changes name to The Turkey Store Company.
2001: The Turkey Store Company is purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation and merged with Jennie-O Foods creating Jennie-O Turkey Store.