From Launching the Venture to a CSE Consulting project and continuing through BASE, Farmhand Foods has ‘grown up’ through the offerings of Kenan-Flagler Business Schools Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
“We started Farmhand Foods to dramatically increase local market access for North Carolina’s pasture-based livestock farmers,” says Jennifer Curtis, Co-Founder. “Farmhand Foods is the kind of business our state needs—entrepreneurs who can tap into the excitement about local food in metropolitan areas like Durham to support farmers and other businesses in rural communities,” says Henry McKoy, NC Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Community Development.
Farmhand Foods’ network of pasture-based farm suppliers initially includes Parker Farm (Orange County), Triple B Farm (Granville County), Leigh Farm (Martin County), and the NC Natural Hog Growers Association based in Duplin County. The company purchases whole animals and handles all logistics, processing, distribution, marketing, and sales necessary to provide local wholesale buyers with a consistent, high-quality supply of local beef and pork.
“We are passionate about supporting family farms and building a sustainable food system in North Carolina. Farmhand Foods pays farmers fairly and conducts business with transparency so that our customers know exactly where their food comes from and how it was raised,” says Tina Prevatte, Co-Founder.
Farmhand Foods will celebrate its opening and the Sausage Wagon’s first night in business with a special event on Thursday October 28th from 5:30-8:30pm at Fullsteam Brewery in Downtown Durham. The public is invited to enjoy free live music with sausages and beer available for purchase.
“The Sausage Wagon is a fun and interactive way for us to introduce our brand, our products and our farmers to area food lovers,” says Curtis. The wagon plans to roam Durham and the Triangle with regular weekly stops at the Farmers’ Market, Fullsteam and other high traffic locations. The mobile eatery will serve an assortment of sausage sandwiches and other items created by local chef Drew Brown, co-founder of Durham’s Piedmont restaurant. Area diners can find the whereabouts of the wagon at www.farmhandfoods.com.
While the Sausage Wagon may be the public’s first taste of Farmhand Foods, the company will soon offer fresh cuts of local, pasture-raised pork, beef and other specialty items to area retailers and restaurants. The company expects these operations to begin in early 2011.
“Farmhand Foods is helping to build our state’s local food economy by opening up market opportunities for small-scale meat producers. We’re excited to be a part of launching this important new business,” says Dr. Nancy Creamer, Director, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS).
In addition to support from CEFS to incubate Farmhand Foods, funding for the launch is being provided by the North Carolina Rural Center’s Economic Innovation Program, the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.