Our (Un)Common Purpose
Our story began with a little bit of luck, a lot of determination, and a generous dose of community support. We met in 2008 when Jennifer was the Director of NC Choices, a Center for Environmental Farming Systems project devoted to helping North Carolina’s pasture-based livestock producers and Tina was pursuing her MBA at UNC-Chapel Hill. We discovered a shared interest in the well-being of family farmers and in preserving our state’s natural beauty and agricultural heritage. We saw in each other kindred spirits who are energized by solving problems and believe that business can and should be a tool for creating social and environmental good.
Changing the Model
In a world of commerce dominated by global supply chain arrangements, small-scale farmers are often denied access to market opportunities. We set out to change that by building a robust market for local, pasture-raised meats that consumers can trust were raised humanely in a spirit of fairness and stewardship. From our humble beginnings as Durham’s first mobile Sausage Wagon, Firsthand Foods has grown into a wholesale meat business that feeds the growing demand for locally sourced and downright delicious beef, pork and lamb.
“Firsthand’s transparency and unwavering commitment to the longterm struggle that underscores the reality of sourcing things locally is no small thing. There is a great deal of courage required to be at the forefront of the movement.”
Kevin Callaghan, Chef/Owner
Acme (Carrboro, NC)
The bedrock of our business is a network of remarkable small-scale pasture-based livestock producers who share our values and meet our standards. They sell us their animals and we aggregate and schedule across our networks to ensure a consistent supply of fresh meats. In turn, we provide our farmers with meat quality and pasture management information, enabling them to make adjustments as needed to meet our customers’ exacting standards.
“Firsthand provides us with the best, easiest access to the product we want to work with.”
Andrea Reusing, Chef/Owner
Lantern (Chapel Hill) and The Durham Hotel & Restaurant
Every week, our team takes on the “whole animal utilization” challenge. Whether it’s the shoulder, the rib or the tail, we’re making sure to find a good home for each part. Working with our local processing partners, we customize our products to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
Bringing the Honest Goodness To You
At the end of the day, we’re in the relationship business and treating folks with respect and transparency is central to our model. We’re excited to build a new way to bring meat to your table and inspired to be a part of a dynamic and equitable food community that allows every person, animal and place to thrive.
Look for Firsthand Foods at restaurants and retailers throughout the region and be sure to learn about our (m)eat local box, where we bring our honest goodness directly to consumers.