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What if you were not afraid to read the ingredients on a hot dog package? Or better yet, what if you were not afraid to know where the meat in your hot dog came from? In retrospect, these questions were the inspiration behind Applegate Farms. I grew up in the meat and potatoes era of the 1950s where a meal wasnt a meal without meat as its centerpiece. However, when I went away to college in the 70s, my ideas about food started to expand. There I was exposed to vegetarianism, macrobiotics, food gurus and co-ops. In the co-op I belonged to, they bought granola, yogurt, sprouts and grains in bulk, and ate them with locally grown fruits and vegetables. And while I appreciated the quality of these foods and the logic behind eating them, I still craved meat. After college, I moved to Boston and shopped at Bread and Circus, a local natural foods store. While shopping one day, I came across some nitrite-free bacon and had an epiphany right there in the meat aisle: I could feel good about eating meat if it didnt contain any of the ingredients I knew were bad for me. And at that point, meat and I were reunited. In my 20s I did the usual thing people do at that age and tried my hand at a number of different jobs, none of which satisfied my innate desire to build something from the ground up, so I started looking for a business I could grow. Like most good things in life, I stumbled upon Jugtown Smokehouse through a combination of intuition and serendipity. At the time, Jugtown was a family owned business specializing in nitrite-free bacon (deja-vu!) – and it was for sale. While it bore no resemblance to what Applegate Farms is today, I could see its potential. I also knew there had to be more people out there who would appreciate healthy meat products, so I decided to buy the business without much deliberation. As it turns out, there are countless people who have a love/hate relationship with meat, and are thrilled to finally find meat products they can feel good about eating. People like you have helped build Applegate Farms over the last 20 years. And with that support, you have had a hand in preserving the nearly 300 family farms that supply us with humanely raised meat, without antibiotics or hormones.