Couple Starts Fresh with Fireside Farm – Part 1
It takes a lot to start a business from scratch in a new community. Enter in Jim and Catie King. This youthful husband and wife duo co-own and manage Fireside Farm, a pastured poultry operation, just outside of Monterey. Although Jim was raised in Bath County and Catie is from Asheville, North Carolina, they put down roots in Highland County to start their business in early 2017. Catie explains the initial reaction to moving with Jim.
Catie says, “My parents were kind of shocked when I fell in love with ‘Prince Farming,’ and – as my Mom likes to call him, and, um, moving up in to this rural area, it was a really cool experience to see how much more there is in life, and when Jim said, ‘Let’s get in to this and see where the Lord’s going to take us with this,’ I was like, ‘Yeah!’ And then we got in to it, and I realized how much hard work is involved and how much love that you have to pour in to what you love.”
Jim continues, “To be honest, the most attractive thing for us that kind of confirmed that this was the right move was the community. We have yet to experience the kindness and just genuine, sincere love that this community has for one another, and moving up here, it was like we had been here for ten years, you know, after a month. It was unreal. It was awesome.” Catie adds, “Yeah, it’s really cool to get to thank the community, too, for supporting us and inviting us in.”
Folks driving by their business on Rt. 220 this past summer may have seen their “egg mobiles”, or mobile chicken houses, as they raised 1,000 broiler chickens for sale and originally had 600 laying hens.
Jim says, “Not only do we feed them locally milled, non-GMO feed, but we also rotate them on fresh pasture as often as possible. For our broilers, once they get on pasture, which is about week three or four of their lives, they are on grass 24/7 in mobile pens, and they’re moved one to two times a day and right before they’re processed, up to three times a day, so they have constant access to fresh forage, fresh bugs. They have fresh bedding. It’s really just a sanitary environment that benefits them the most. The same goes for the laying hens. Having just access to the outdoors whenever they want it is pretty incredible, and for folks up here where there are always backyard flocks around, you know that’s common practice, but people in the city or even just bigger towns don’t necessarily have access to the quality that we can provide, so that’s been a rewarding process for us.
“I would like to add that the Highland Inn has been our first wholesale buyer, and if anyone would like to purchase our products, they can do so by meeting us at our home, or at The Highland Center. During the summer months, we will be at the Highland County Farmers’ Market, and if you’d like to taste chicken or our eggs in the wonderful desserts, go see Chef Dan at The Highland Inn.”
Jim also explains another reason for their business. He says, “Our slogan is, ‘Stewarding His land. Nurturing His people.’ We don’t want to be in anyone’s face about our faith necessarily, but we do want folks to know where we stand, and that we’re here to serve them. That’s what we feel, we’re called to do on a daily basis.”
To learn more, folks can visit their Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-474-5999.
While many factors came together for the Kings to move here, they would find that much more would be asked of them when Catie was hit with an unexpected diagnosis. We’ll have more on this in Part 2.