Oak Ridge Farms

Farm in Zebulon, NC

Farm Facts

Type: Pastured poultry, Egg, and Pork.

Years in operation: 3

Annual revenue: 10k-50k
(Average over last three years)

Overview

Welcome to Oak Ridge Farms! We are a 34 acre farm passionate about making a big change in local foods. We are located in Zebulon, NC and our products include pastured based chicken, turkey, duck, pork, eggs, and soon local raw honey.

Inside the Farm

How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
The majority of chickens raised in the US are raised in one of the big commercial houses and are confined to an area the size of a coffee table for its life. These birds may never see the light of day, never see grass, never taste a bug or a worm, and never roam in a pasture. What separates us from other producers is that we are licensed by the State of NC to do on farm processing of poultry. This helps on an animal welfare standpoint of minimizing stress. Minimizing stress means that it will the bird will have less lactic acid build up and less production of Cortisol hormone. Which in returns better meat quality. As for our pork, it must be processed at a USDA processing facility for the resale of product. We have chosen a well respected processor that is only 20 mins down the road. This too limits the stress on the animal with a short transportation period and makes a great product.

How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
Teaching the consumers about methods that we use in raising our livestock has so far been the best way to make a sale. However, we plan on expanding our customer bases by attending more farmers markets and increasing wholesale customers, whether they are other local small farm vendors and/or even farm to fork type of restaurants.

How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
In December of 2015 we started building a covered processing facility to meet FDA requirement. Unfortunately the project is at somewhat of a stand still for the budget allocated for the processing building was not enough. We would like to finish that project. Once complete, we can increase the capacity of processed poultry and increase sales. Also since it is being fitted to FDA guidelines we hope to add gamebirds and rabbits to the list of products we offer. There are many other projects that will eventually come to light such as a mobile hen house for our back pasture and building a market garden that in hopes to generate more traffic. We are also interested in growing our own feed. With the lift it can help aid in purchasing the equipment for planting, harvesting and storing of grains.

Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
David grew up in the "country" of the Tidewater region of VA, but he didn't grow up in an agricultural family. Ever since David was young he grew up around many different types of livestock, horses, ponies, goats...ect. However, he took a special interest in poultry. His family would allow him to care for the birds, but with the knowledge that when it was time, the birds would be used for eggs, or meat. David doesn't call himself a first generation farmer but he simply says it just skipped a couple generation. At the age of 13, David bought one of Joel Salatin's books "Pastured Poultry for Profit" and read it from front to back several time. Since then, David said that he wanted to become a chicken farmer. He wanted to help feed people and deeply cared about the welfare of animals. After High School he moved to North Carolina and started attending North Carolina State University studying Poultry Science, however David couldn't finish his degree due to the financial toll that was place on his father, and David told his father to save the money for his four younger siblings. David wasnt done learning and applied for a job with the university he was attending in the Poultry Science department and remained an employee doing agricultural research for 10 years. Seven years after moving to North Carolina, David bought a farm, and immediately David's dreams of becoming a farmer came back to life! David reached a point where he couldn't grow the farm simply because there was no extra time. In April of of 2016 David resigned from his full time position with the university and now David cares for his farm full time, processes the poultry raised on the farm weekly, and travels to the farmers markets for deliveries. David's dream of becoming a chicken farmer has come true!

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Current rank: #9 of 54 farms

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