Beginning May 1, Durham-based Farmhand Foods will officially change its name to Firsthand Foods. Farmhand Foods launched its business in 2010 with a food truck, known around town as the Sausage Wagon. Since then, the company has grown into a sizable wholesale distributor of high-quality, local, pasture-raised meats.
In late 2011, Farmhand Foods received a “cease and desist” letter from S.F. Investments, Inc., owner of “Farmland Foods,” a branded line of Smithfield Foods’ pork products worth $3 billion in sales annually. While Farmhand Foods received federal trademark protection for the right to use its award-winning mark, indicating that the US Patent and Trademark Office had no concern for consumer confusion, SF Investments was not satisfied.
“After a year of trying to protect the rights to use our name, we decided to embrace Firsthand Foods as our new name and focus on growing our markets, supporting the farmers in our network, and continuing to help build a robust local food system here in North Carolina,” says Tina Prevatte, Co-CEO.
Firsthand Foods now has well over 60 customers, including fine dining establishments, specialty retailers, natural foods grocery stores, mobile markets, food trucks, and institutional food service providers such as Carolina Dining Services at UNC-Chapel Hill. The company sources its meats from a network of close to 40 small-scale beef and pork producers from over 15 counties in the state. These remarkable farmers, most of whom are in rural areas and do not otherwise have access to larger-scale markets, raise their animals humanely, on pasture, without using added hormones or growth-promoting antibiotics.
Notes Jennifer Curtis, Co-CEO, “We’re excited to re-brand as Firsthand Foods, a name we believe speaks to our core mission to create a direct and transparent connection between our customers and the farmers in our network.” Firsthand Foods traces every piece of meat it sells back to the farm of origin so its customers know exactly where and how it was raised.