The third installment in our Meet our Makers interview series features the purveyors of fine beef and turkey jerky, FIELD TRIP!
From the company’s humble beginnings (on a chairlift in Vermont) to flying high with JetBlue, the founders of FIELD TRIP have succeeded in creating an irresistible, 100% natural snack that’s included in our new Tailgate Snack Box. And with Father’s Day on June 17th, it’s the perfect time to discuss all things beef jerky with FIELD TRIP co-founder Matthew Levy.
Three guys, a ski trip to Vermont and a passion for jerky – how did FIELD TRIP go from dream to reality?
We (Tom Donigan, Scott Fiesinger and myself) originally met while attending Syracuse University and came up with the idea for FIELD TRIP on a ski weekend to Vermont about five years prior to the company’s launch. During the trip we found a country store that sold groceries, jerky, and guns – an authentic Vermont country store! The jerky in this store was homemade, and we could immediately taste the difference. This store inspired us to develop our own product.
In August 2011, FIELD TRIP jerky began selling artisan crafted all natural beef jerky to stores and since has expanded to over 5,000 premium retail locations – including specialty stores, health stores, natural stores, outdoor retailers, every flight of JetBlue Airways, etc. FIELD TRIP is a revolutionary product that is changing the oldest $3 billion dollar snack industry — bringing an end to “gas station-like” beef jerky and replacing it with high-quality beef jerky that can be eaten as a daily snack.
What makes FIELD TRIP jerky so amazing?
Its authentic taste and clean ingredients. Our jerky is a traditional slice of Top Round USDA approved beef and simply a healthy meal snack with no preservatives, no added MSG, no corn syrup, and no nitrates.
How did you make your first sale?
Our first sale took place after I rode my bicycle to the Westside Market Grocery Store on 14th street and 7th avenue in NYC and pitched our beef jerky product to the store manager. The store manager looked at the jerky and said, “I will test it out.” I handed him the bags and then soon realized that the store manager wasn’t planning on paying for the test run. The product sold very well and within a week we had a re-order from the store – they have remained a great customer ever since.
My partners and I celebrated and developed a plan to approach more stores in the NYC area. Since that first success, we have expanded to add stores in all 50 states.
Jerky fans can now enjoy FIELD TRIP on JetBlue flights over two hours, what makes jerky the perfect in-flight snack option?
Our jerky is packed with protein, making it a great healthy meal-snack when traveling long distances. JetBlue is not like other airlines as they carefully select great products to sell aboard their flights. We are proud to be tied-in with the JetBlue brand.
What’s your favorite spot in Manhattan to sit back, relax and enjoy some jerky?
Clearly I eat jerky everywhere I go. But nothing is better than a sunny day in Central Park with a bag of FIELD TRIP jerky.
Do you make an annual “field trip” to Vermont to brainstorm? Any new flavors in the works?
We do tons of brainstorming. We just launched a Gluten Free & All Natural turkey jerky line in two flavors: Cracked Pepper No. 7 and Crushed Chilies No. 19. We are also launching an additional beef jerky flavor in roughly six months.
In one or two words, what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘jerky’?
A “misinterpreted concept” – mainly because it is always thought to be filled with chemicals and unhealthy, but our jerky is the contrary.
What are your go-to foods to pair with jerky? Do you have a recipe you can share?
We’ve got some great recipes on our website including mac and cheese and salads.
Here, we’re sharing our Original No. 3 Beef Jerky and Brussel Sprout Salad:
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 large shallot, minced
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Half of a 2.15 oz bag of Original No. 3 Beef Jerky, Shredded
- 4½ dozen brussel sprouts
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- Shred the Original No. 3 Beef Jerky.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemon and orange into a large bowl with the shallots. Pour the oil into the bowl in a steady stream, whisking to form an emulsion (it should appear more creamy and less transparent). Season generously with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Using a mandoline, shave the brussel sprouts (not including the stems) into thin slices to make a shredded/slaw texture.
- Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until chopped coarsely. Add 1 cup of the almonds, cheese, and Original No. 3 beef jerky to the shredded brussel sprouts; toss to combine. When ready to serve, toss with the dressing and sprinkle remaining almonds, cheese, and Original No. 3 beef jerky over the top. If needed, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil and toss.