Ha! Reading back over my initial post I realized I forgot to include some very crucial information: my name, for starters, what I’m doing taking over the blog, and how exactly I fit into the picture of Hickory Nut Gap Farm. I’m sure for anyone reading this, the last post was an interesting and completely baffling piece of writing which held very little in the way of context clues about its meaning. I hope that didn’t deter you from reading on. Mark Clarke. That’s my name. As to my connection to the farm, that explanation is a bit more involved.
In 1916 my great grandparents, James and Elizabeth McClure, came to Asheville from Chicago on their honeymoon and were smitten with the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. They were so taken with the area that they decided to purchase an old house (the former Sherrill’s Inn) and a sizeable tract of land for farming. The couple had very little knowledge of the rigors of raising pigs, growing apples, or even maintaining the garden, but with the help of some local farmers and a fiery Presbyterian determination, they began to bring life back into the dilapidated old homestead. Over the years the farm has known many different visions under drastically distinctive leadership, but the McClure descendants have not lost the love of this land that the young couple felt when they first looked out over the hazy peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jamie Ager, with his wife Amy, is part of the fourth generation on the farm and, together, they are the present day managers and owners of the business. I am also a part of that fourth generation. I’m fortunate that the Agers are not only family, they are great employers. My English degree may not seem to connect very effectively with farming, but Jamie and Amy thought I might be able to add something to the business through writing. Part of the vision of Hickory Nut Gap Farm is to educate customers about the farm and what we do here. That’s where the blog comes in. I hope this lends a bit of clarity to my first post and I’m sure all the things I have still forgotten to explain will fall into place as I continue to write about the history and activity of the farm.