I was lucky enough to head west on I-40 two weeks ago to help staff the N.C. Mountain State Fair’s press office. This was especially exciting for me, as I grew up about 15 miles down the road from the WNC Ag Center fairgrounds and there’s nothing quite like having your mom pack your lunch for you before you head off to work. While I was there, I helped Casey Allen and Jim Knight with news releases, press conferences and media relations, as well as anything else that needed getting done.
I was also able to help jump start a new project our marketing team has been putting together for the last few months. Thanks to a N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund grant, they are promoting the NCFarmFresh.com Web site across the state through farmer spotlight commercials on WRAL in the Raleigh area and WLOS in Asheville. N.C. Farm Fresh is a database of N.C. farms that have direct marketing stores, roadside stands, tailgate and farmers market booths, and pick-your-own fields. If you’re looking for a farm or commodity in your area, visit the site to search by region, food item or type of farm. As you can see from the photos below, my part in the project was to tag along with two members of the WLOS production crew to film the first Western North Carolina commercial at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview.
We had a foggy morning shoot, but the farm’s mountain views were pretty spectacular. Jamie Ager, who is a third-generation farmer, operates the farm with his wife. They both graduated from Warren-Wilson College and returned to the family farm — which was recently featured in Bon Appetit magazine — with a new purpose for the land, which had hosted everything from a dairy to an apple orchard over the last 100 years. Currently, they produce hormone- and antibiotic-free grass-fed meats and sell them at their farm store and WNC tailgate markets. They also supply local restaurants. I think Jamie’s passion for his work is pretty obvious in the shoot, and it was great to meet a young farmer who is taking such a savvy approach to marketing his business.
Check out the final product of the shoot below. If you live in the western part of the state, stay on the lookout for more interviews with WNC farmers over the next few months.
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