A little history…
Fourth generation farmer Jamie and his wife Amy began managing Hickory Nut Gap Farm in 2000 with a focus on pasture raised meats. Jamie’s family worked the land since 1916, farming a variety of endeavors such as dairy, beef, pork, vegetables and apples. With the growth of the Farm to Table movement, demand for pasture raised meats grew in the local market. During Jamie’s continued Ag Leadership education at NC State, he met Sam Dobson.
The two determined that there was a need for farmers to work together to supply Asheville and surrounding areas with 100% grassfed beef, free of antibiotics and added hormones. This was the first step in creating a farming model that could truly shift the paradigm of agriculture and bring humane production of animals back to the United States on a scale that allows for proper pasture management and regional production. HNG has grown to work with nearly 20 family farms, primarily in North Carolina, and a few in surrounding states.
Featured Farmer: Adam Grady
When did you start farming and why?
Well, I was raised on a farm and I’ve been on a farm my whole life. It’s all I ever done.
Why did you choose to be producer with HNG?
To be honest, Jamie and I were both doing the same thing. We were both raising hogs and trying to find a way to market them. We got to butting heads going after similar markets. So, we put our heads together and made it work. Jamie takes care of the marketing, and I take care of the production side of things. It works really well. Marketing just wasn’t my thing, but it is the part that Jamie really seems to enjoy. It was just a natural fit.
What do you like to do when you are not on the farm?
My answer to that question would have to be that I seek the need for an internship- It’s a seven day a week job. We don’t do much else. I love what I do, so every day is fun to me.
What is your favorite farm memory?
There really isn’t just one thing that stands out in my memory. But as far as my personal life, there are two things that stand out; my son and my daughter. Kaden, my son, is five years old and Anna Kaye, my daughter, will be one in February. Kaden comes out on the farm with me all the time. Whatever I’m doing, he wants to be with me. Seeing the pigs and the cows… He just loves it.
What is your favorite time of day on the farm and why?
I love first thing in the morning the most. I have the opinion that every day is a new day, and what we didn’t get finished yesterday, we can finish today… I also love the end of the day because work is over and I get to go home and spend time with my family.
Who or what was your inspiration to raise animals on a pasture based system and why?
I guess it was just more or less that it was circumstantial. My dad and grandad have been raising hogs for years. Dad built a commercial confinement farm and operated it up until early 2000’s. I was in high school at the time. My friends were at the beach or wherever they were, and I was taking care of the hogs. Then my dad got out of the hog business. Eventually, I got a few hogs of my own because I missed them. So, I bought a few as a hobby and it just continued to grow…
Grassfed Beef Family Farmers:
Dobson Farm, Statesville, NC
Gibson Farms, Olin, NC
J. Harkey, Cleveland, NC
Triple H Ranch: Taylorsville, NC
CA Farms: Lansing, NC
D. Boyer: Fries, VA
Hardrock Beef: Granite Falls, NC
Hyatt Farms: Brasstown, NC
L. Hash: Piney Creek, NC
Alan Souther: Piney Creek, NC
Foothills Angus: Union Grove, NC
D. Grant: Stateville, NC
L. Johnson: Mt. Airy, NC
R. Detweiler: Hamptonville, NC
J. Hostettler: Hamptonville, NC
B. Buzardt: Saluda, SC
Grazing & Herd Partners:
Clemson University: Blackville, SC
Biltmore Estate: Asheville, NC
Pastured Pork Family Farmers:
Adam Grady Farm: Kenansville, NC
Lee Farm: Four Oaks, NC
AJ Family Farm: Garland, NC
A. House: Clinton, NC
W. Starling: Autryville, NC
Kelly Tyndall: Trenton, NC
Hickory Nut Gap Meats is a family owned business based in North Carolina. Jamie and Amy Ager are the fourth generation to farm at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, NC. They have been selling local, pasture raised meats into local markets since they came back to the family farm in 2000. Over the years the demand for local food led the creation of a network of like minded farms to increase access to local, pasture raised meats for chefs in the Carolinas. The HNG producer protocol ensures that all hogs raised for Hickory Nut Gap are pasture raised, antibiotic free, given no added hormones, and vegetarian fed; all cattle are 100% grassfed, never given, grain or antibiotics or added hormones, and are raised on Pasture.