Grant Award: $6,000
Graham and Wendy have added 10 beef cattle to their current eight-cow herd. They also currently farm 100 hogs, 2,000 meat chickens, 90 lambs and a 700 laying hen flock on their Mars Hill property, and have just started leasing 60 additional acres in Weaverville to make room for new animals.
They are responding to the high demand in Asheville for locally grown pastured beef. They’ve experienced brisk sales at West Asheville, River Arts District, Asheville City Market, and Transylvania County farmer’s markets. They are also building strong relationships with a dozen Asheville restaurant chefs.
Graham and Wendy are transitioning away from higher maintenance sheep to make time for the cattle herd. They also plan to hire a full-time employee to manage the new herd, giving them time to pursue more markets.
They worked seven days a week for four years before hiring an employee in 2016 to feed the animals on weekends. “A decision that was life-changing, and helped us realize that the long-term economic viability of our farm is also dependent on our long-term quality of life!” Wendy said. “Increasing our income, allowing the farm to pay for others’ labor, will ensure that we don’t ‘burn out.'”