Monday, April 29, 2013

Farmhand Foods Announces Name Change to Firsthand Foods

That Durham was recently honored with the title of Tastiest Town in the South is no surprise to those who live there - and businesses like Farmhand Foods are partially responsible.  The company exemplifies much of what Durham food fans seek including local product: authenticity, integrity, and responsibility. The brand is undergoing a name change due to a legal battle, but while the name will be different, the product and commitment to quality will remain the same.

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.

The company has changed their name on Facebook, but have not updated their Twitter account to reflect the new name. For more information about great eating in Durham, visit online.


  1. it makes me sad that they felt forced to change their name. while i completely understand their desire to just move on from it, i kind of wish they'd been in a position to take farmland on. sigh. thanks to corporate america for its ceaseless efforts to squelch small business, creativity and entrepreneurship.

  2. It's unfortunate, for sure, but I can see why Smithfield would be concerned. It's not like one Farmhand was making corn products and the other was making meat - they were very much operating in a similar space where there'd be room for confusion. Tricky, and sad that a great truck like Firsthand got caught up in it. Still, good for ya'll for moving on and picking another kickass name instead. Your customers won't be confused. We know who you are.

  3. Smithfield is the largest pork producer in the world...literally. No one would confuse their poor grade, factory farm pork with the quality meats that firsthand foods is distributing. I've been to Smithfield owned farms as an osha inspector and saw how they treated their workers, not to mention the animals--not good. Kudos to firsthand for all their work!