Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers. V. Mac Baldwin, of Baldwin Beef, is one of those farmers. The #FarmFeatureFriday campaign will run for an entire year on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to tune in each Friday afternoon on social and help show your support for our local farmers!
Sometimes we choose a career path and other times it chooses us. V. Mac Baldwin, owner and operator of Baldwin Beef in Yanceyville, did not grow up on a farm but was involved in agriculture as a young boy. “When I was younger I did a lot in the FFA and always wanted a calf of my very own,” V. Mac said, “so I saved up my money, bought me one and fell completely in love.” Little did he know that his dream of owning a calf would turn into a lifelong career of farming.
When the farm was founded in 1969, the family, almost accidentally, discovered the breed that would drive their farm for years to come when one heifer gave birth to an Angus & Charolais crossbreed calf. “Finding the right breed of cattle to farm is a lot like finding the right life partner,” V. Mac said, “you keep trying until you find one that you fall in love with.” According to him, this cross-breed of cattle are known for their high quality, lean meat.
Now home to over 800 cows, V. Mac and his family are constantly busy caring for adult cattle as well as nursing and raising calves. “Not too many people get to live, see and touch their dream everyday like we do,” V. Mac says, “and we take immense pride in our cattle and calf raising process.” Calves are born in the spring around the same time that mother nature is fostering an atmosphere of beauty and new life. One of V. Mac’s favorite sights is seeing the calves frolic and play in the field on a crisp spring morning. After six months, around Christmas, the calves are weened from their mothers and join the adult herd.
Baldwin beef is unique because it is 100% grass-fed year-round, ensuring a high Omega-3 content. “All cows eat grass,” V. Mac said, “but we spend a lot of money to ensure our cows eat the absolute best grass and get all the nutrients they need.”
The Baldwin family is also highly committed to educating the public on eating local and understanding where their meat comes from. “It is important to buy local beef so that you know what you are eating and can physically see the love and pride that goes into it,” V. Mac says, “at our farm, we can tell you exactly which cow your beef is coming from or you can even choose your own.”
Normally, the Baldwins host an annual Farm Day event the first weekend in May to invite the public on their farm, teach them the process of cattle farming and give them the opportunity to choose their own meat. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the family is unable to host the event this year. “We were sad to have to cancel this event because it is one we really enjoy,” said V. Mac, “but we want the public to know that we are still farming and will continue to do so despite this pandemic.” The family looks forward to welcoming the public back on their farm once this virus is behind us.
Baldwin beef can be found online at their website or at Whole Foods Market or Publix. “It’s a very satisfying lifestyle but you have to love it and love the land,” V. Mac said, “it takes a lot of patience, hard work and smart spending from the get-go.” Despite the challenges, V. Mac loves his life of farming with his wife, Peggy, by his side.
V. Mac and Peggy share a love story straight out of a fairy-tale. “Falling in love is like flowing down a creek, you just have to trust it and go with the flow,” V. Mac said, “but the Lord had a big hand in our story.” Peggy was a nurse in the area when V. Mac’s dad was placed in the hospital. “I remember seeing her standing in the hall with two other girls and I heard a still, small voice whisper ‘she’s the one’,” V. Mac said. Peggy had always said she would never marry a farmer, but life has a funny way of bringing us to places we never thought we would go and to people who challenge us to be the best version of ourselves. Today, V. Mac and Peggy couldn’t imagine their lives without each other and are proud of the farming legacy they have left behind for future generations of their family.
The Baldwin family is currently looking toward the future with the expectant hope that the farm will continue to grow and expand under the care of future generations. In the words of V. Mac, “It’s grown more than we ever dreamed it could. We’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, love and pride into it and we hope it will continue in our family for years to come.”