This week, we caught up with Mattison Bills – co-owner of Three Six General, Pitboss, and all around Entrepreneur. While Three Six General is a new vendor here at Farmhouse Delivery, our teams go way back! We’re so excited to welcome her, her business partner Denny Dinsmore, and the entire Three Six General team into the Farmhouse Family. Their creamy pimento cheese is currently available to order and in this interview, we’ll get a sneak peek at some of the next upcoming products that we certainly can’t wait for you to get your hands on!
Farmhouse: What’s your background and what led you to begin Three Six General?
Matti: I’ve been selling food at the farmers market since 2014. My main inspiration is supporting local farmers and ranchers and increasing access to high quality locally made foods.
Is there a story behind the name Three Six General? What was the inspiration?
We chose the name Three Six General because we produce in San Marcos, Texas, the 78666. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to any specific product and have plans to one day open a butcher shop and marketplace, with a general store feel. We practice whole animal butchery at 36G, and are currently sourcing our whole hogs and lamb from Peaceful Pork. We make a lot of bacon and jowl bacon for the markets, so we supplement with cuts from Augustus Ranch. Our favorite product we make from Peaceful whole hogs is our ham, that of which we butcher, dry cure, wet cure, smoke and slice. It’s a lengthy process, but it’s worth it. Although we wish we could wholesale these products, we can’t because we don’t have a USDA certified facility, which is required for wholesaling meat. This is why we plan to focus on wholesaling cheese products through FHD. We love supporting Bob and Darlene at Stryk Family Dairy, where we source our “Grade A” grass-fed raw milk cheese.
What brought you to Farmhouse Delivery? What made you want to partner with Farmhouse to provide Three Six General products to our community?
I have always admired FHD. Before they even had wholesale distribution accounts, I was one of their very first wholesale customers, begging them to sell me Texas-grown products I didn’t have access to otherwise. I love owner Stephanie from Rain Lily and am so grateful they started this business. I’ve been amazed watching them grow from the small original location to the empire that is now FHD. I appreciate their ability to adapt to the market’s needs while still supporting so many local vendors. They are a model local business in my eyes, and I am so excited to partner with them.
We hear you’re a pit master? How did your interest start and what do you love most about it?
My original pit was built by my dad in the 80s. His dad sold bbq out of a 7-11 kiosk in north Dallas in the 70s and eventually opened up his own meat market and deli. We cooked on the offset smoker as a family, and naturally I was drawn back into the trade. Being an 8th generation Texan, I think it’s in my blood. I love cooking with fire. Every day is different depending on the weather and the product. It takes such dedication and attention to detail, it never gets old. I originally went to school for Environmental Science and Policy. I wanted to become a farmer, but had the opportunity to start a food stand at the farmers’ markets while still in college. My dad’s smoker inspired the sale of smoked meats, and I never looked back.
Through the pandemic, we’ve noticed a lot of people looking at new ways to cook and researching sustainable grocery options. What do you think is something most important that people have learned in this pandemic that you hope they continue to take with them after this is over?
The increase in demand for local food because of COVID-19 has been a hot topic amongst local food vendors. Of course everyone hopes that consumers continue to support local outlets after the pandemic settles. Producing food close to home is so important for so many reasons, and finally a larger sample of consumers have become aware of its importance, as it directly relates to them. From distribution reliability to cleanliness, local has proven to be the safer option. Convenience is of such value to customers in our busy global economy, so shopping local can be easier said than done. That’s why organizations like Farmhouse are such an important part of the distribution chain. Delivery of these products will be key as people begin to transition back into their busy lives.
We’ve started by showcasing your pimento cheese and I know we’re hoping to bring on some more of your products in the future. Are there any things we should keep an eye out for or upcoming you want to talk about?
Yes! We plan on debuting a small line of cheese products at FHD, including classics like queso and macaroni and cheese, proudly supporting Stryk Family Dairy. We have other popular products that could be available for wholesale in the near future, but for now please come visit us at the farmers’ markets to try our extended product line. Some of our popular items are bacon, turmeric + sage breakfast sausage, sliced deli ham, chicken liver pate, jowl bacon, pulled pork and smoked chicken salad. We also sell hot sauces, mustard, pickles and ferments. We vend at both the Austin (Lakeline / Mueller) and San Antonio (Pearl) Farmers’ Markets on Saturday and Sunday every weekend. Hope to see you there!