Farmer Girl Meats' Leslie Moore was looking over the agenda for her weekly staff meeting when something caught her off guard. "Dave Matthews Band?" She asked her coworkers incredulously. "Why does it say we are supposed to have a meeting with Dave Matthews Band on Thursday?"
A fan of DMB since college, Moore was shocked -- if not a bit starstruck -- that the band's tour chef, Fiona Bohane, wanted to talk to her. Bohane explained that Matthews, a sustainable farmer in addition to being a world-renowned musician, is staunchly committed to local eating. "He reaches out to small farmers and producers from every city he visits so he can eat as locally as possible while he's on tour," Moore explains. "They did a Google search for meat for their St. Louis stop and called people. That's how they found us."
That Moore has become a go-to source for humanely raised meats is both an unlikely story and one that makes perfect sense. The Missouri native grew up on her parents' grass-fed cattle farm near the Kansas border but left for college at the University of Kansas with no plans of working in the family business.
"It was a big deal to leave the farm," she recalls. She continued with her education, obtaining a degree from Washington University's Olin Business School, and got a corporate job as a brand manager with Nestle following graduation. "I have to be clear -- I loved my job, but I started having kids and my priorities changed," Moore explains.
At that point, Moore found herself continually struck by the sad state of conventional meat at grocery stores. "It's just gross," she says. "I would look at it and think something was wrong with it." Fortunately, she rarely had to eat it because her parents kept her in constant supply with fresh meat from their farm. "Pretty soon all of my neighbors were asking me if they could get some too," Moore explains. "I was kind of the meat dealer for my street."
Moore saw an opportunity to start a business connecting consumers to small-scale producers of humanely-raised meat. She began selling her parents' beef online under the name Farmer Girl Meats, then expanded to include heritage pork and small-scale chicken producers. Her robust online presence, coupled with Farmer Girl's emphasis on local and sustainable products, led Dave Matthews Band to ask for her services.
"They ended up going with us, I think because I suggested pork steaks," Moore explains. "It's very St. Louis."
In addition to the pork steaks, Moore's employees will be packing up some bone-in chicken to deliver to Bohane at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in advance of Wednesday's concert.
"This was my college anthem," Moore says. "I wish I could go myself, but I've had a trip planned and will be out of town. Go figure."
Still, she's happy her employees can deliver the goods in her absence. "No one who works for us makes any money," she laughs. "I love that they get a perk."
Editor's note: A previous version of this story indicated that Dave Matthews Band will play St. Louis on Tuesday. The concert is actually Wednesday, July 15. We regret the error.
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