Photo by Flicker user F Delventhal
Despite her distaste for antibiotics and chemical-ridden meat, Alayna Davenport said she’s unable to resist it completely.
“I really can’t imagine going through life never wanting to eat a burger again, or a rib…” Davenport said. “I know that a lot of diseases and things that we suffer from anatomically and biologically are from the foods that we eat and I would feel more comfortable knowing that I don’t have to become a vegan or a vegetarian to prevent disease or eat healthier.”
Her love for a good burger inspired her to launch Hand and Hook on June 12. The online farmers market ships boxes of grass-fed, antibiotic-free meat right to a customer’s door, frozen and vacuum-sealed in order to stay fresh during shipment.
Davenport chose to cut out the middleman and work directly with farmers in order to reduce the cost of grass-fed meat, which typically run more expensive than traditionally farmed cuts. Her company is currently looking to work with 10 farms from Wisconsin, Texas and Maryland, all certified by the American Grass Fed Association.
“I would just personally like to have access to grass-fed meat without breaking my pocket,” Davenport said.
Customers can choose to purchase a single product or a custom subscription box with their preferred amount, cut and type of meat. In addition to the monthly box, subscribers receive a discounted rate on their purchase, a new kitchen utensil in their box every month and a newsletter with updates and recipes for the cuts.
Davenport also hopes to provide the cheaper, antibiotic-free meats to low-income and food desert areas by partnering with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program.
The initial spark for her company came from Davenport’s time as a nursing student, when she was asked to write a paper about a subject she was particularly passionate about. She chose to research the immunity humans are developing to antibiotics from constant ingestion of antibiotic-filled meat.
“It was just kind of an anomaly to me that, one, the public isn’t outraged about it and two, there are already so many sicknesses that exist already,” Davenport said. “So, to know that if I go in for something that would require an antibiotic and it doesn’t work, and that could potentially be a life or death situation because of the foods that I’m eating…that stuck with me.”
She thought her solution would be the local butcher shop she noticed after she first moved to Baltimore. But when she was finally able to stop by, the shop had closed. When she started looking into grass-fed farms, she found that many shipped to local farmers markets but not to residences. She was inspired to create a company where customers could personalize their meat purchases and have convenient access to “healthier” meats.
“If there was a way that I could purchase what I wanted, and have it when I wanted it, versus having to drive far and be inconvenienced in terms of time, I would much rather do that,” Davenport said.
In addition to Hand and Hook, Davenport owns a spa in Baltimore, works as a consultant and previously owned a dance company. Though she started Hand and Hook with meat, she hopes to create a full-service digital farmers market complete with organic produce and kitchen products such as flour and sugar.
“I’d just like to be able to provide an option for the world, really, to be able to have access in those communities that don’t really have a lot of options,” Davenport said.-30-
Maryland to receive $5.7M in settlement over massive Equifax data breach
On the Market: Senior software engineer roles and more tech job openings in Baltimore
What Digital Harbor made for the Apollo moon landing anniversary
How law firm Nemphos Braue is guiding startups along the new business learning curve
Following Boston accelerator, Pinkaloo launches charitable giving pilot with Eastern Bank
This Annapolis fintech startup wants to make it easier for banks to work with cannabis businesses
From game devs to makers, here’s how technologists are involved in Artscape 2019
Building a data acquisition system? Don’t make this mistake
Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore