As the CEO of Ag Link Food Hub, Jana Nairn has always wanted to connect people directly to fresh, local products.
“Ag Link is still a fairly young start up business that has been blessed with rapid growth,” said Nairn. “My husband and I are thankful for the opportunity to run a business that not only offers something of value to the community, but also encompasses things that we are passionate about.”
After about a decade hiatus from the food and farm products industry in 2010, Nairn and her husband Rob Nairn, who is the CFO and general manager of Ag Link, partnered with a registered dietitian and veteran of school food regulations to begin consulting with school food services.
“My husband and I were looking for an opportunity to get back to our ag roots where our passion remained,” explained Nairn.
Two years later, they launched Ag Link’s Farm to School webstore in order to connect school food services directly to growers and producers. In 2015, Nairn said the success of the tool prompted her and her husband to build a warehouse in Ballico with cold storage, as well as purchase a fleet of trucks.
“This fall we began our fifth year servicing school food service throughout the Central Valley and Bay Area with farm fresh produce,” said Nairn.
The success of Ag Link certainly didn’t end with the business’ school component as the husband-and-wife duo also recently opened a “quick serve eatery” in Ballico, the Tri-Tipery. The restaurant boasts a tri-tip based menu featuring local products, such as tri-tip burgers, tri-tip tacos, “tri-ritos,” rice bowls, chicken sandwiches, salads and more.
“Our customers love that the Tri-Tipery meals always include a piece of fresh, in-season fruit — this is our effort to promote healthy food choices and local, in-season produce,” said Nairn. “We are committed to using and featuring local products in our meals and feel this is the best venue to support local producers through providing the community with not only access to the raw products themselves, but also good tasting finished plates that they can enjoy conveniently prepared for them.”
With the opening of the restaurant in September under her belt, Nairn said she is now looking forward to Ag Link’s next project.
“We will continue to develop unique ways to connect consumers everywhere to California’s farm fresh products,” said Nairn. “We are exploring a Crop Share concept whereby consumers can buy a producing tree and get the harvested products from that tree every year.
“We feel like this is the way of the future, something that generations like the Millennials will get excited about — having a vested interest in where their food comes from,” continued Nairn.
The Tri-Tipery is located at 11359 Newport Rd. in Ballico. For more information on Ag Link, visitaglink.com