Firsthand Foods

Selling Pasture-Raised Meats

Firsthand Foods is a women-owned food hub that sells local meats from North Carolina farms. We are passionate about building a food community that values people and the Earth.

Our food hub 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.

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 food hub that feeds the growing demand for locally sourced and downright delicious beef, pork, and lamb.

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.

Our Values



We only sell humanely-raised meat, and that’s only part of it. Our farmers treat their animals with respect and raise them outdoors on pasture the way nature intended. Our processors are small-scale, family-run businesses. Throughout our supply chain, our team builds successful partnerships through honest dialogue and equitable, collaborative decision-making.




We source only the highest quality meats from local farmers to ensure every plate that features Firsthand Foods is a memorable experience. Working with the chefs in our community, we share meat quality feedback with our farmers so they can make adjustments to breed selection, feed rations and pasture management to ensure consistently great flavor, marbling and tenderness.



We trace every piece of humanely raised meat back to its farm of origin and the ethical farmers who raise it. Our farmers follow strict protocols to take care of the land, water, and air we breathe. We share information and communicate truthfully about how we do business.



We are inspired by the challenge of doing business differently in the meat industry and are dedicated to exploring new ideas, building new systems, and creating new products that sustain the success of our employees, supply chain partners, and community.

Our Products

Firsthand Foods sells pasture-raised local meats, including pork, beef, lamb, sausages, and specialty products. Chefs, grocery stores and consumers buy from us because they can taste the freshness in our products. Every week our team takes on the “whole animal utilization” challenge. Whether it’s the shoulder, the rib or the tail, we find a good home for each part. Our customers are dedicated to sustainable sourcing. They want to know where their food comes from and they count on us to track it. Working with local farmers and processors allows us to provide custom fabricated meats within a few days of processing.