Press Coverage

Willow Tree Goes to Washington

Staffers and Volunteers at White House Easter Egg Roll Treated to Willow Tree Chicken Salad 

What started out like any other Willow Tree tasting event at a Virginia Costco turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime. Customers were enjoying their free samples, when one in particular explained that she was an event organizer for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. She was very interested in serving Willow Tree chicken salad to event staffers and volunteers. 

Fast forward through a few logistics, such as security checks and chicken salad sandwich preparation, and Willow Tree president Wally Cekala and his family found themselves on the White House lawn on Easter Monday. We asked Wally to expand on some of the details about this great day in Willow Tree history.


What were your thoughts leading up the event itself? 

Well, to be honest, I took it with a grain of salt at first until I received the email confirming that it was really going to happen! My son Chris was on the road show in Virginia. Due to security requirements, and a little time pressure, he was immediately put through a security check and approved to be an on-site vendor. Then the order was placed for both our regular chicken salad as well as our new cranberry walnut variety. I like getting feedback on our latest chicken salad, but I sure didn’t expect it to happen on the White House grounds! 

While Chris was going to be the only person from the company working the event, my family and I were invited as guests. They thought it was just surreal. 


What did Chris do to prepare? 

Chris had to get through security at six in the morning. He worked with two chefs to make chicken salad sandwiches with bread from a local bakery. After almost four hours of preparation, the gates opened. 

You can imagine how many staffers and volunteers it takes to manage an outdoor event for over thirty thousand people, never mind the White House security requirements. That’s why event organizers look for really good food to serve the crew that works at the event all day. We were happy to be one of the vendors chosen. 


What was it like to be one of the thousands of families invited to the White House as guests? 

The White House Easter Egg Roll tradition goes back over 130 years. Everyone was so excited to be there. There are lots of musical artists, and it really is an awesome event. I think that everyone on that lawn felt like “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.” I can’t say enough about the people who run it and the Secret Service. They are very nice to the public. 

Between all of the families, the music, and the entertainment, it almost felt like Disney! There were so many people that guests enter in groups, staggered over time. It really was just amazing. We really felt lucky to be there, and we’d do it again if we could. 

For my family, one of the best parts couldn’t have been planned. As we were leaving, one of the staffers asked us if we tried the chicken salad! He said he loved it!

If you’d like to learn more about the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, click here

The cranberry walnut chicken salad mentioned in this article is now available at the Willow Tree Retail Store in Attleboro, MA. For directions and hours, click here.

New England’s favorite chicken pie now available in NY, NJ and CT


‘Pie A Day Giveaway’ helps launch product in Tri-State Area

MARCH 2, 2012— In the mid 1900’s, a small poultry farm was founded in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Taking its name from the trees that dotted its landscape, Willow Tree Farm rapidly became a mainstay of the local economy, producing fresh poultry and eggs for those who farmed it as well as for local merchants.

Over time, the business grew. Willow Tree became a thriving egg and broiler-producing farm, complete with a neighborhood retail outlet and door-to-door egg business. Then, one day, owner Chet Cekala uttered the words that would change the company’s history…“Chicken Pie.”

Customers knew a good thing when they tasted it. Practically overnight, Willow Tree’s chicken-pie business grew to all of Massachusetts and then to the entire New England area.

Today, Chet’s son, Walter “Wally” Cekala, is running the family business with his sons Alex and Chris and Willow Tree is expanding its reach beyond New England for the first time. Starting this month, New England’s top-selling premium chicken pies are now available in 233 supermarket locations in the Tri-state area.

Shoppers can now find Willow Tree premium chicken pies in the frozen foods section of nearly 200 Stop & Shop stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, 20 Grand Union Family Markets in New York and Connecticut, and 13 Best Yet Markets in the Metro New York and Long Island areas.

“We’ve come a long way since the days when my Dad was delivering eggs door to door,” said Wally Cekala, President, Willow Tree. “The company is growing into new markets and expanding its product lines but we’re still very much a family business. Our chicken pies are prepared fresh and packed with wholesome white meat chicken, home-style gravy, and topped by a delicious flaky crust made from scratch. We make them by hand with only the highest quality ingredients, like you would at home only in a much bigger kitchen.”

A New England original since 1954, Willow Tree Premium Chicken Pies are available in three varieties: the Original Premium Chicken Pie, Premium Chicken Pie with Classic Vegetables and Premium Chicken Pie with Red Bliss Potatoes, Supermarkets in the Tri-state area will stock the three serving, 26 ounce size. In addition, Best Yet Markets will also carry the single serving, 8 ounce size.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Willow Tree Premium Chicken Pies to consumers in the Tri-state area through Stop & Shop, Grand Union and Best Yet Markets, said Walter Cekala, President, Willow Tree. “For more than 40 years, Willow Tree has come to symbolize comfort, quality and value for tens of thousands of families throughout New England. Now, we hope to gain the same loyal following in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”

To help introduce its pies to new consumers in the Tri-state area, Willow Tree is giving away a “Pie-A-Day” on its Facebook page. Consumers can also download product coupons and qualify for additional giveaways by answering quick survey questions such as “Who Do You Love to Cook For?” and “What’s Your Pie-Q?”.

For additional company and product information, visit


About Willow Tree

Willow Tree is New England’s leading provider of prepared fresh/sold frozen poultry pies and fresh deli and sandwich salads. For nearly 60 years, Willow Tree has provided the finest premium poultry products for families, offering delicious, wholesome comfort foods that have satisfied appetites for generations. The company’s growing line of products are still prepared by hand and sold in supermarkets, delis, sports and entertainment venues and restaurants throughout New England, online and at the Willow Tree retail store in Attleboro, Massachusetts.