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Richard Peddicord raises Certified AWA laying hens at North Fork Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Orginially from Iowa, Peddicord spent many days on his cousins’ farms—something that instilled in him a lifelong interest in farming. Wanting to provide fresh eggs for his family, Richard started raising laying hens three years ago on North Fork Farm’s 22 acres. Since then, local interest in his pasture-raised eggs has increased so much that he is barely able to meet demand.
As a child, Rhonda Dortch longed for the open space of the outdoors and the chance to explore her budding interest in farming. “Farming might not be in my history,” she says, “but it’s definitely in my genes!” Carried by her trailblazing spirit, Rhonda has successfully made farming part of her history at Bluestone Mountain Farm in Hinton, West Virginia: The picturesque 15-acre farm has been home for two years and she is running a thriving farming business.
Growing up in southern California, Jean Andersen never set foot on a farm—even as the child of farmers. Jean’s father, an aerospace engineer, was raised on a dairy farm in Missouri and instilled a love for farming in Jean so strong that when Jean and her husband moved to North Carolina in 1995, Jean’s mother said, “You know, I always knew you’d end up on a farm one day.” That farm is Meadowview Farm—16 acres nestled in the hills of Stanly County.
Brothers on Farms is a family operation named after brothers Andrei and Dmitry Ward, who came to the U.S. at the age of 2 and 3 from Moscow, Russia. Their mother, Susan Ward, was dedicated to raising her sons in a farming environment with good food and surrounded by animals. At the ages of 11 and 12, the boys decided they wanted to give back to the farm, initially cultivating oyster and shiitake mushrooms for sale at local markets. The family has now expanded into producing AWA lamb, and is planning to expand this operation even further.
Edward Taylor raises AWA laying hens on a diversified farm located between Mount Yonah and the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. Indian Ridge farmland rests on ground that has historical and cultural importance for the Cherokee nation, and each year the Taylors host a celebration of this land for the Cherokee community.
Charles and Barbara Kissling raise AWA beef cattle in the mountains of western North Carolina. Charles originally hails from New Jersey, with a background in the restaurant business, while Barbara comes from a more agricultural heritage. Realizing their skills were complementary, the couple began raising beef cattle on 160 acres on Carter Cove in 2001, and have been expanding and improving the herd ever since.
Riverstone Organic Farm raises AWA sheep in the rolling hills of Virginia. Owners Woody and Jackie Crenshaw started the farm as a way to foster sustainable land stewardship, promote the local economy, and provide young farmers with learning opportunities. With the help of farm managers, Clem Swift and Kat Johnson, they currently have about 40 breeding ewes and 40 lambs each spring.
Whistlin’ Hollow Farm is nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, with picturesque high pastures, a creek, and fertile bottomlands. Owners Kate Mahanes and Jim Fleming raise AWA sheep that thrive on the grassy hillsides. They also maintain local fields for grazing and hay.
Lindsey Cobb and Rachel Lilly raise AWA dairy cattle, dairy goats, and laying hens at In Theory Farm in Angier, North Carolina. Their 10-acre farm is rich with history and the house was built in 1890. However, the property was in such a rough state when they purchased it in 2010 that, “We found ourselves constantly pondering if one thing or another would work out the way we planned,” explains Rachel. “Our answer was always ‘in theory, it will.’” And thus the farm earned its name. As Rachel and Lindsey continue to add new aspects to the farm and face new challenges, they feel the farm name is as applicable now as it was when they first began.
In 1985, Jan and Rinske de Jong came to America (“the land of opportunity”) from Holland, with a dream to establish their own dairy. With the $5,000 they had saved in Holland, Jan and Rinske started working as relief milkers on several farms in Florida, before renting land and slowly building up their own herd.