VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Veterans Day is right around the corner.
Matthew Brassart, actively serving in the U.S. Navy, is the owner of Pungo Pantry in Virginia Beach.
Pungo Pantry believes that simple, local ingredients are key for the best foods and eating well should be accessible to everyone.
To boost his business, on Armed Forces Day in May, Brassart was named one of 50 veterans nationwide to receive a $1,000 Tractor Supply donation in partnership with Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). The donation was made with the help of FVC’s Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, which offers assistance to active duty and veteran members of the Armed Forces in the early stages of their farming operations.
Brassart stated that the award allowed him to double the size of his garden, bring pigs onto his farm, triple his number of laying hens, and grow and process broiler chickens for the first time. Without this award, Brassart would have had to purchase the right supplies to support the growth much slower, over the next few years.
Brassart’s goal is to move his value-added products from farmers’ markets into retail stores in the next 12 months. One local coffee shop is already selling his frittatas, baked goods and quiche.
Additionally, Brassart and his wife, Megan, are working on a mobile cafe to bring their products to those in the community who are busy but health- and community-conscious.
Brassart and Pungo Pantry are looking for other local shops who want to share his vision of sourcing locally.