Last week, Firsthand Foods hosted our annual Customer Appreciation Party. Many of our farmers, processors, transporters, retail customers, and friends and family came out to celebrate the community we’ve grown together. There was a delicious spread catered by our friends at Boxcarr Farms, with food and beverages provided by Eastern Carolina Organics, Woodfruit, Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop, Piedmont Wine Imports, and Bull City Burger & Brewery. Though there was much conversation, good food, and beautiful weather, the event was about celebrating something much bigger. All together, the group represented our working local meat supply chain.
Once festivities started, it was clear how excited everyone was to be together and speaking in person with others often mentioned or worked with virtually (especially given the distance between farms and retailers). Farmers were excitedly talking to processors and retailers about the meats their animals produced, and chefs were eagerly listening to the stories of the farmers.
One especially striking conversation occurred with our processors at Chaudry’s Halal Meats and Acre Station Meat Farm. Before the party began, both processors had the chance to visit the Durham CO+OP to see the Firsthand Foods meat case. At the party, they discussed what it was like to see the spread of Firsthand Foods beef and pork products surrounded by photos of some of the local farmers who were at the event. The processors, who deal with the day-to-day operations surrounding slaughters and processing of cuts, were able to talk to the CO+OP’s meat manager about packaging and customer feedback. Jennifer, our co-CEO, engaged them all by discussing the cuts of meat and linking them to the different possibilities of packaging and pricing for retailers. All the while, customers walked by grabbing packs of sausages and ground beef that our supply chain had produced. Though each plays their own role in the supply chain, the whole system operates as a community. It’s was a beautiful thing to have everyone come together to celebrate and talk about the work of the whole.
Oftentimes, it’s easy to forget all the players in our food supply chain producing the meaty goodness on our plates, but those players are quite diverse and each one is integral to our system getting local sustainable meats on our shelves.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the celebration. Thanks for being a part of it all, and thanks for (m)eating local!