By Kerry Pipes
When Krista Grant was pregnant with her first child she and her husband Micah became much more aware of the kinds of food they were putting into their bodies. Coincidentally, about that time they saw the documentary “Food, Inc.” which details surprising facts about the food we eat and how it’s produced.
The Grant’s subsequent quest for more natural, healthy meats has grown into an opportunity to provide all kinds of natural meats to those in the Arlington and Mansfield communities. The Arlington natives founded Farm To Fork Foods about a year ago by working with local farmers and ranchers who could provide grass-fed, grass-finished, beef, chicken, pork and more. The demand for natural foods is growing and the Grants are trying to keep up with demand at their fledgling company. We had a chance to visit with Krista and find out more about these all-natural pioneers.
Tell us a little about you, your family and your background? Married to Micah and mother to Ruthie Grayce (22 months) and Noah (3.5 years old). My husband and I both grew up right here in Arlington.
What do you do for a living? I am a "stay at home mom" who runs two businesses. Ha! I am the founder and owner (along with my husband) of Farm to Fork, and have another natural wellness business.
How did you get interested in natural foods? When I was pregnant with my son, we began to think a little more about what we were eating. We were both fairly healthy eaters, but stumbled upon Food, Inc. (a documentary) and were floored when we realized the state of our current food system. That began our journey of searching out local, "real" food.
What are some of the benefits to natural foods? I do not have enough words on this page to tell you this! There are benefits on so many levels. We focus on natural meats (grass-fed beef/bison, pastured chicken/pork/eggs, wild caught fish), so I will just speak to that. Natural meats come from humanely raised animals, have much higher levels of healthy fats (rather than the unhealthy kinds) and key nutrients, and are raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. We live in a time where girls are prematurely hitting puberty and children and adults are coming down with antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, which is turning into a public health crisis. Many believe this is directly linked to the abundant and unnecessary use of antibiotics in our food. It is also so important to know where your food comes from. We have been lucky to form business relationships and subsequent friendships with local ranchers. We work directly with the men and women who raise these animals and catch these fish.
How did you come up with the idea behind creating Farm To Fork Foods? It was totally on accident! I found a local ranch that would deliver meat to my home if I had a fairly small minimum order. I gathered a few friends, and we were excited about not having to hunt down good beef. Then we wanted chicken, which required a larger order, and then fish, which required a <really> large order. From there it snowballed. We realized there was a huge need for good quality, healthy meats and almost felt like it was our responsibility to carry on with our new adventure.
How long did it take to get everything up and operating? Well, the way we started was much different than a typical business. We started ordering as a group last May. We were so busy by December that we realized we needed to really put some thought into how we were going to move forward. In January we switched from Arlington Meat Co-Op to Farm to Fork. We are constantly working on ways to make things run more efficiently. I am almost embarrassed to think about how we operated about 8 months ago.
Describe the facilities and how things work? Our pick up location is very modest, but exactly what we need. We have a small lobby area where people enter into the building, then come to the window where we get their name and pull their order. Everything has been pre-ordered, that is one of the things that makes us unique. (You can read a little more about that on our website www.farmtoforkfoods.com under "Ordering") We have alternate pick up locations at members' homes throughout the Metroplex. One is right in Mansfield.
Exactly what kinds of foods do you sell? Our focus is grass-fed, grass-finished, local beef and bison, pastured chicken, pork and eggs, and wild caught Alaskan seafood. We also have a few other items like locally roasted coffee, local and raw/unfiltered honey, and several other specialty grocery items. We are always looking for unique items, preferably things that are made and grown here locally.
How do sellers and buyers get involved with Farm To Fork Foods? We have no membership fees or buying requirements. Simply join our email list (on our website) and you will get information the next time we open an order. Sellers can contact me or Micah directly.
What kinds of challenges have you faced? Rapid growth! We never dreamed this would take off the way it has. We have had to really be creative trying to figure out how to meet the needs of all of our customers while also learning the ropes ourselves.
What’s a typical day like for you? Wake up early and CrossFit, be mom all morning, put the kids down for nap and pray for good naps so I can get some work done. Then it’s some more playing with the kids while wrapping up work, preparing dinner and doing the nighttime routine. Finally, I answer more emails and wrap up any type of work. On pickup and delivery days things are <much> more chaotic!
What do you hope to see happen to Farm To Fork Foods in the future? Our ultimate goal is to make real food and healthy meat accessible to everyone in our community. I would love for every community in the DFW area to have a pick up location near by so eating healthy meats at an affordable price is actually an option for them.
Describe how your family has supported your venture? Our families have been so supportive. We are often the “weirdos” stepping out to try new things, but they always embrace us. It is fun to get to cook for our families and share with them how good and tasty real food can be.
Do you have other interests/hobbies? I love to run, I have recently gotten into CrossFit (after much encouragement from my husband), and am active in our church family. I also love all things babies and birth.
What do you do in your spare time? We love going to the lake as a family. I also have a few guilty pleasures on my DVR that I like to catch up on now and then.
How would you describe your personality? I tend to travel a little more on the unbeaten path. I like venturing out of the norm and am not afraid to take risks. I love sharing with people and knowing that I am making some sort of a difference in my community and in the lives of the people around me.
What do you like about living in the Mansfield/Arlington area? I love that we are so close to so many different things. We are surrounded by culture, nature, and such an array of opportunities.
Who have been some inspirations in your life? In regards to Farm to Fork, I have to say my husband. If it were not for him and his father, I am not sure Farm to Fork would be alive and growing. He has encouraged me so much, never doubting that this is what we are meant to do with this gift we have been given.