It all began in chemistry class with Jamie who claimed needing help with his homework, uh hem, and Amy, the detail oriented student who understood the expectations of the professor. A study group thus formed and so did the relationship between the two owners of Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Hickory Nut Gap Meats, 15 years ago at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.
Jamie Ager is a 4th generation farmer at Hickory Nut Gap, growing up in a drafty old farm house, helping with the laying hens, sheep, cattle, and horses on the property along side his three brothers, and parents John & Annie Ager. Amy Frey Ager, is two generations removed from her farming roots in Louisville, KY. She grew up in the suburbs of the city with an understanding of hard work and responsibility from an early age, thanks to her parents Bob & Melanie Frey.
Jamie and Amy paired their visionary and detail oriented skills into a fresh start and new enterprises for HNG just out of college after assessing the farm’s current operations and creating a business plan in 2000 to try out after graduation. This plan was the beginning of what you see still happening today at the farm — raising and direct marketing pastured poultry, pastured pork, and grassfed beef. Joel Salatin, a farmer in VA , was an inspiration to Jamie, who was considering his options out of college in terms of what the future of his family farmland could become and what his role in the operation could be, which was run by his mother at the time.
Jamie and Amy have grown their operation on both the production and sales front over the past 15 years and appreciate the lifestyle that they have been able to offer as opportunity to raise their three children, Cyrus, Nolin, and Levi Ager. Jamie focuses on HNG production, as well as coordinating with the producers and all operations for the wholesale company HNG Meats. Amy manages retail sales operations and agritourism activities as well as marketing, human resources, and bookkeeping tasks.
Jamie and Amy have won the 2011 Achievement Award from Farm Bureau, 2011 North Carolina Company to Watch Award, the 2010 Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet. Jamie has served on Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Board and is a current member of the Buncombe County Farm Bureau Board. Amy has served on the Asheville City Market Oversight Committee, the Fairview Tailgate Market Board, and WWC Friends of the Library Board.