Firsthand Foods is a Durham-based business that connects North Carolina’s pasture-based livestock producers with local retail and restaurant customers. Founded by Jennifer Curtis and Tina Prevatte, Firsthand Foods has developed a network of farmers who raise animals humanely, on pasture, without feeding antibiotics or using added hormones.
Firsthand Foods is an outgrowth of NC Choices (http://ncchoices.com/), a Center for Environmental Farming Systems project focused on expanding the niche meat industry throughout the state. Jennifer and Tina recognized the challenge local, small-scale farmers have trying to supply the volume and consistency of product that retailers (such as us) need. They started Firsthand Foods to help bridge that gap and at the same time support the development of a vibrant regional food economy.
Firsthand Foods’ beef suppliers include Geof and Jane Gledhill of Cedar Grove Windy Hill Farm in northern Orange County, who appreciate being able to have a small farming operation but sell into local markets. (You can visit them on the Piedmont Farm Tour!) Another supplier, Johnny and Sharon Rogers of Rogers Cattle Company in Roxboro (www.rogerscattleco.com) have been full-time farmers and developed a diversified operation that includes beef, pork, poultry and lamb; you can meet them on Saturdays at the Eno River Farmers’ Market. All suppliers are paid fairly and follow a set of pasture-raised criteria published on Firsthand’s website. (You can download the five-page “Firsthand Foods Beef Production Standards” here.) All meat is traced back to the farm of origin so customers can know exactly where and how it was raised. All of their pork producers follow Animal Welfare Approved standards (www.animalwelfareapproved.org). Firsthand Foods partners with small-scale processors Acre Station Meat Farm in Pinetown, Piedmont Custom Meats in Gibsonville, and Chaudhry’s Halal Meats in Siler City for humane slaughtering of the animals. Firsthand Foods is part of the Eastern Carolina Organic Food Hub in Durham. Simply Fresh, a Durham-based distributor, delivers their meat in the Triangle.
Learn more about Firsthand Foods on their website, http://www.firsthandfoods.com/.