A Big Hand for Farmhand Foods

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


Producing meat sustainably is one thing, producing a sustainable meat business is quite another.

Farmhand Foods is trying their, er . . . hand at doing just that.

Following their own stringent guidelines to the letter, they are placing clean, sustainable local meats into many central North Carolina markets.

Based in Durham, North Carolina co-founders Tina Prevatte and Jennifer Curtis have taken on the mighty task of supplying their customers with meat from humanely treated, pastured animals raised without antibiotics or hormones. Respect, transparency and partnership are the organizing principles used by Farmhand Foods as they build their marketing and distribution business.

The partners source grass-fed pork and beef from local farmers. They prefer to do business with North Carolina farmers, but eligible producers within the neighboring states of Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina are also considered provided they are close to processors with which Farmhand Foods has relationships.

Farmhand Foods works with the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association and this network of family farms complies with Animal Welfare Approved protocols, assuring that the animals are being raised humanely.

The same strenuous guidelines apply to their beef producers. Believe it or not raising beef for market is pretty new to North Carolina. So, Farmhand Foods has worked with North Carolina State University Extension to develop pasture-raised protocols that are appropriate for their part of the country.

Deanna Krinn writes about Farmhand Foods in her article on seedstock.com:

The overarching mission of Farmhand Foods is to get more local meats into more local markets. In addition to all meat products being sourced locally, Farmhand Foods only takes on suppliers that uphold sustainable standards that include raising their livestock humanely on pasture without any added hormones or antibiotics.

In a state that is home to the world’s largest industrial hog processing facility, Farmhand Foods wants to be the real food alternative. Not only that – the company is bringing economic growth where little or none existed before.

More from Ms. Krinn’s article:

According to Prevatte, even in the midst of a nationwide economic downturn Farmhand Foods has been able to grow. The majority of the company’s regular customers are restaurants. The city of Durham, North Carolina in particular has been a bright spot for the company in terms of providing new customers and opportunities.

“People are so excited that someone is trying to make it easier for them to get the meat they want,” Prevatte said. “Folks want to eat out and eat sustainably.”

Everywhere we go, the subject of sustainable meat is inevitably broached. Raising animals humanely and sustainably and then moving the products through a viable distribution chain to eager customers is proving a difficult task to even the most capable producers.

We salute Farmhand Foods for having success in creating markets and working with local farmers to supply their customers with fresh, healthy, local meat.

We are glad to see how the real food movement is alive and well in the Tarheel state.

Click here to read the article in full.

Photo credit: Planning.UNC.edu