Home Grown: Farmington Meat Processing features North Carolina ag products
Published 9:42 am Thursday, March 31, 2022
By Mike Barnhardt
Local foods are becoming more important.
With COVID, rising gas prices and world uncertainty – people are getting back to the basics.
Just ask Nikki Long.
“I think everybody went out and bought a cow and a pig,” she said. “Everybody is busy. Everybody is slammed.”
As owner of Farmington Meat Processing along with husband Michael Long, they get requests almost daily from people looking for a certified place to have their animals butchered. Sorry folks, they’re booked through next year.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of ribeye steaks cut fresh weekly, Brightleaf red hots and hotdogs, chicken pies and other delicacies. There’s even B&G pies and Bass Farm sausage. Occasionally, there’s fresh shrimp.
All are made in or are from North Carolina.
The couple has received a grant from the N.C. Department of Agriculture to expand the retail store. “But we don’t want to get too big. You lose that one-on-one contact. It’s like I’ve got an extended family.
“We’re real excited that we got the grant. We’ll be able to offer more product. Our goal is to offer North Carolina fresh seafood. We try to support vendors from across the state. North Carolina offers a lot of products here that everybody doesn’t know about.
“I don’t think people realized where their food comes from, but they are becoming more conscious now.”
Her husband is a N.C. Highway Patrolman, and was looking for a business for retirement. He was also looking for a local meat processing place that butchered a deer the way he wanted.
So he started his own, and the business was born after it became certified to butcher deer, cows, pigs, goats and now sheep. It wasn’t long before she left her job as a probation officer to handle day-to-day operations at the business. It also gave her more time with their two children.
They started selling meat at the Farmington Farmers Market, and sold to a few neighbors and friends. “We were always dappling in something (They grow vegetables, have chickens, bee hives and cows.). Then it progressed to this.”
In 2020, they had processed 22 deer in the first 15 days. He believes in hanging the meat to cure for 7-14 days. “It really affects how your deer meat tastes. A lot of people have been pleasantly surprised.” Meat is never mixed with meat from another deer, she said. What you bring in is what you’ll take home. All products are vacuum sealed.
“We have a lot of people who want to purchase a whole beef. We can send them to a local cattle farm. It works out well for us. W’ve met a lot of the local farmers,” she said.
“There’s no down time. We’re here seven days a week doing something. It’s been good. Davie County doesn’t have a butcher shop … a place to buy fresh meats … to buy products from North Carolina. We’ve been welcomed by the community.”
The business sponsors local youth ball teams, and has donated organs for animal science students at Davie High School to study and dissect.
Does a thick cut, juicy ribeye steak sound good for dinner this weekend? Farmington Meat Processing is open Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Check Facebook for weekly specials.
It is located off a long, gravel private drive. Turn off of Farmington Road at the Farmington Community Cemetery. “You have to want to come out here,” she said. “You have to make an effort.”
For Nikki, that drive is familiar. The business – adjacent to their home – is on Nikki’s Way. She grew up on the property, and remembers her father, Mickey Shore, grinding his own grains into meal.
They still have those machines, and they still work. She hopes they’ll be grinding grains for the public in the not-to-distant future.
“We’re going to stay local with everything.”