Niche Meat Industry Thrives in New England

by firsthandfoods on March 25, 2013

Just back from an invigorating trip to Concord, NH to attend the New England Meat Conference where it snowed 10 inches the day before we arrived! What a great event — with many similarities to our very own Carolina Meat Conference. Jennifer was invited to speak on a panel entitled “Multi-Producer Meat Brands: Opportunities in Collaboration,” along with representatives from Pineland Farms Natural Meats and Northeast Family Farms, two businesses aggregating beef from multiple producers and selling into larger-scale markets. Throughout the two-day conference, we caught up with good friends from NC Choices, Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network, Lorentz Meats, and Range, Inc.. And we learned all about plans at Black River Produce (a veteran meat and produce food hub) to venture into the world of meat processing. Prior to the conference we were able to tour the Mad River Food Hub, a start-up company providing distribution, storage and meat processing services for small-scale farmers. And we visited North Country Smokehouse, a modest looking specialty meats enterprise that boasts $14M in sales annually. We’re grateful for funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the trip. Businesses like ours, in the early stages of development, benefit so much from interacting with our counterparts in other areas of the country. It helps to see our efforts in a larger context and to realize that, regardless of geography, we share many of the same challenges and opportunities.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi Quinn March 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I was very pleased to hear Jennifer speak at the conference. Understanding what Farmhand Foods does was very interesting to me as our group has considered a branded “label” of sorts for our RI Raised meats in the past. Understanding the scope of what Farmhand does, and the manner in which it is handled was incredibly helpful to me as the Coordinator (Executive Director) of our Association! I am happy to have so much valuable information to take back to my group after the conference, and I am so happy Farmhand Foods was there.

farmhandfoods March 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Heidi — Thanks for the thoughtful words. It was great to meet you too and I look forward to staying in touch as our efforts continue to evolve. See you at the next meat conference!

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