Farm 2 Fork - Jonnel
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started?
I am 44 years old, married with two boys. I was conceived in a hippy commune in Mendocino, California during the 70's. My dad was in a 7 piece band, complete with a full horns section called, "The Mendocino Allstars". I grew up in various places, Washington, California and Arizona. We moved around a lot. I met my wife Susan, a Canadian in California and immigrated to Canada shortly after.
Before Farm 2 Fork I worked as a national sales trainer for various door-to-door meat companies in the USA and have sold meat in over 35 states. I started my business here in Canada in late 2013.
As I started going door to door in Ottawa and other cities I was getting a lot of feedback from people looking for naturally raised, local and organic meats and sensed quite a disconnect between farms, retailers and consumers.
I rebranded our company in late 2014 and it became Farm 2 Fork with the idea that "Better Food is Better Living'" We believe that people are becoming increasingly passionate about the food they eat and where it comes from, bridging the gap between farms and consumers, hence FARM 2 FORK.
Why is the “Farm to Fork” concept important to you?
I feel we are bridging the gap between farms, producers and the consumer. We offer products that are somewhat niche markets. We bring these products under one umbrella and provide different product collections for different customers and these collections also cross over. The same customer might order organic chicken breasts and a Japanese A5 wagyu tenderloin steak
Do you think people are becoming more aware of some of the common processing techniques used at larger corporations? Does that factor into your mission at all?
Yes, when we drop off orders to customers we often highlight the value system associated with the products they are purchasing. This not only sets us apart and highlights our mission but provides transparency and gives the customers empowerment. I feel there is a complete disconnect when buying meat at the grocery store because companies are not really listening to consumers and it is often always about the bottom line.
Many don't know the difference between an air-chilled and a water-chilled chicken breast, or realize that the majority of the beef on the market is mechanically tenderized. Canadian chicken producers can only produce for about the third of the demand and a lot of the chicken Canadians are eating is from countries such as Brazil and the USA.
What can people expect with they order their meats from you?
They can expect great friendly, professional, reliable customer service from the time they order to delivery and beyond. We are easy to do business with, respond quickly to our customers needs and do it with a personal touch. We add value, offer a wide selection of quality products at a great value. We want our customers to keep coming back!
How do you choose which companies or farms to affiliate with?
We look for farms and producers offering products that go above and beyond the industry standards. We want our customers to experience the WOW factor with their first bite. We want products that have a story behind them, and where customers can go online and access that story. We look for companies that can package their products in a consumer friendly easy to use way. We do not package, cut or flash freeze our products so we work with producers and packers that have integrity and can offer guaranteed consistent quality, products that are cut right, frozen and packaged properly every time.
Tell me a bit about the work you do with Samaritan’s Purse Canada; Ottawa Mission; Los Angeles Dream Center; and Compassion Canada. Why is it important to you to give back?
I believe in social responsibility. We currently give 10% percent of our profits to various groups and organizations we are aligned with. One quote that sums it up for me is, "As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way. " This thinking of giving to others and gratitude has always brought me through hard times in my life.
Did you always know you wanted to start your own business someday?
I have always had a entrepreneurial mind since I was very young and have been involved in some sort of different venture or business.
Do you consider yourself a foodie?
I have always gravitated towards and admired products from companies that go above beyond the norm in craftsmanship. Be it clothing, cars or food. The food we eat in our own house, meat, veggies, grains and even supplements are certified organic. This is very important to me and my family.
What’s something you like to do in your free time, to get a break from running a business?
Free time...ha! I struggle with Work-Life balance. It feels like I am running a race all the time. I do love spending time with my son watching him play video games, watching a great movie together. I love House music and Techno, it soothes my soul and I plan to finally set up a studio with DJ equipment in my basement this year and will spend time just losing myself in the music.
So steak dinner. Restaurant or home grilled?
I hate to say it if but, I can grill a great steak at home. I know where it came from and how long it was aged.