Hickory Nut Gap Meats
Hickory Nut Gap Meats, A Holistic Farming Mindset with Historical Origins
Being mindful of the environmental impact one makes on the world epitomizes the mindset and daily operations of those working at Hickory Nut Gap Meats. Located in the mountains of Fairview, North Carolina, this farm is a coalition of ninety farmers committed to raising, selling, and distributing grass-fed beef, pork, and poultry in a sustainable way.
Hickory Nut Gap Meats has a century-long history attributed to the start-up efforts of two ambitious individuals, James and Elizabeth McClure. These young dreamers envisioned the prosperity of what this North Carolina land could offer and began a family farm. As time went on, the farm was under the leadership of generations of family members who contributed to the expansion of the business.
Jamie Ager, current co-owner of Hickory Nut Gap Meats, is well-versed in what it takes to manage a farm. He grew up surrounded by all things farming, so when he and his wife finished their schooling from Warren Wilson College in 2001, joining the Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s team was the perfect next step for his future.
During his collegiate studies, Jamie was introduced to the sustainable farming teachings of Joel Salatine. This agricultural expert inspired Jamie to focus on the conscious understanding of how animal farming and land affect one another. This led to the regenerative farming practices, such as farm grazing, utilized by this farm for the past twenty years.
In addition to sustainable efforts being the backbone of this company, Hickory Nut Gap Farm focuses on sharing their farm’s products with other businesses in the area. The meat they produce helps stock the shelves and inventories of Whole Foods stores as well as local restaurants.
The support this organization provides to the community does not stop there. In a time when busy schedules lend themselves to a need for convenience, Hickory Nut Gap Meats participates in a Community Supported Agriculture effort to provide meal subscription boxes to those who do not have time to plan out meals. These weekly boxes include a meat product and a recipe to help the customer know how to prepare the meat.
Customers are encouraged to visit the farm as well. Upon walking onto the Hickory Nut Gap Meats property, guests have the opportunity to visit the Farm Store and browse the meats on site. Maintaining a space of this capacity can be quite an expensive process. Therefore, the
USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant, given to this farm in 2021, greatly enhanced the store. The company was able to hire experienced butchers and make creative products for the store with the $250,000 they earned, thus, increasing the quantity of meat available for guests to purchase.
“Changing the food system is super challenging and the grant has helped Hickory Nut Gap mitigate the bumps and bruises along the way,” Jamie expressed.
For those looking to celebrate life’s special moments in a scenic location, Hickory Nut Gap Meats also offers a barn event venue for weddings, retreats, and other reception events. To tie in the farm’s offerings into the reception hall, every catered event on site utilizes the meat from the company. That way, customers can receive the full Hickory Nut Gap Farm experience whether they visit the store or host an event at the facility.
A prime advantage of the farm’s location is its ability to attract new customers, especially those who are not from the area. Asheville, a fifteen minute distance from the farm, is a North Carolina town known for its high rates of tourism. By providing a store and event space for tourists to see, Jamie hopes to provide a worthwhile experience for those visiting the area. The grant money the business received last year is allowing Jamie to consider what ways they can tailor their services to appeal to tourists.
Delivering agricultural products and services to those within and visiting the community is a tough task Hickory Nut Gap Meats has excelled at. By utilizing their grant money to push toward the improvement of their business while continuing to uphold their holistic values, this farm illustrates what it means to be a dynamic and devoted business in the industry.