Do you enjoy the Applegate products we carry in the Doylestown Food Market? Do you know the history of the company and the level of commitment that is maintained in providing consumers with the highest quality of organic and natural meats? I learned a lot from my conversation with Gina Asoudegan, Senior Director of Mission at Applegate.
The founder of Applegate is Stephen McDonnell, a Bucks County resident. Twenty-eight years ago he bought a small smokehouse in Flemington to produce nitrate-free meats. When the smokehouse burned down after only a few years, Stephen sought out others to make his products while he continued to grow the business. Jugtown Mountain Smokehouse became Applegate Natural and Organic Meats. Stephen’s intention was to change the food system on a larger scale and that is what he has done.
Applegate Founder Stephen McDonnell
As Senior Director of Mission, it’s Gina Asouden’s role to keep Applegate’s mission of “changing the way we eat meat” alive and well. Applegate has remained a pioneer in sustainable meat, and propelling change on important issues such as nitrates, organics, GMOs, and antibiotics.
Prior to her employment with Applegate, Gina worked as a Philadelphia restaurateur and caterer and also served on the Board of the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance as the co-founder and president. Listening to her story of how she came to be employed is delightful. It involves the founder’s daughter, and her son, both of whom met in sixth grade while attending the same school. “The first day of class Stephen’s daughter came over to my son and said, ‘Wow, you have the same weird organic lunch that I do.’ He responded, ‘Oh, my mom is into all organic food,’ to which Stephen’s daughter replied, ‘Oh, so is my dad.’ The conversation continued to its conclusion, ‘Your dad so needs to meet my mom.’”
“So Stephen called me one day and said, ‘Based on this high recommendation from your son, I would like to meet you. Come to my house for lunch.’ We met for lunch and talked for only about 10-15 minutes when he said, ‘You need to work for me.’ He wanted someone in the company with an activist background; someone that could keep the company’s feet to the fire on animal welfare, and other issues. So from day one, I have been developing my role as the company developed.”
Founder Stephen McDonnell said, "It was my mission from the start to change the way we think about meat – how it's raised and produced – and this agreement is definitely a continuation of that mission."
To learn more about Applegate, visit their website: http://applegate.com.