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Converse All Star Hi Black Suede

McGrath said that number has since grown to more than 40 stores, with select locations also carrying chops and steaks.

"My goal with our business has been to pioneer how a local food system might work, and the logistics are so hard in this industry," said Ager. "The big meat machine is a big machine because it works, and it's efficient and gets the product to the people at a reasonable rate."

actually turned out to be a good thing particularly for regional farmers.

"We're using this local geography to develop a geographically relevant and productive model that works for local food production," he said.

If more than 40 stores sounds like a tall order for a small farm, Hickory Nut Gap may be bigger than you think. And all of its meat isn't necessarily coming from Fairview. Local meat that's not exactly local? That's Converse Sneakers Sale

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"All along, we've been working with other producers to help meet the demand of these scaled up markets," said Ager. "Like Earth Fare and Greenlife, initially."

The majority of Hickory Nut Gap's program is in Iredell County near Statesville. "That's actually really close to our processor, so that works Converse All Star Cheap Uk

Converse All Star Hi Black Suede

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Other farmers are in southwest Virginia. Hickory Nut Gap has also sent some calves to Clemson University in South Carolina. And according to Ager, spreading out the cattle helps him learn more about how to better manage a beef business.

Converse All Star Hi Black Suede

This recipe, from "Heartland The Cookbook," interprets the Turkish version of stuffed cabbage which uses syrup to caramelize the rolls.

While the Converse All Star Hi Black Suede store had dabbled in organic meats under the Harvest Farms Organics label, Ingles hasn't had huge representation for local farms in the meat case. Hickory Nut Gap is poised to change that.

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Between the entire program of 12 farms, Ager expects to harvest 800 1,000 steers this year, with each steer yielding about 400 pounds of meat. That goes a long way to filling demand from local stores such as Ingles.

So far that's been the main goal of industrial farming: "Cheap cheap cheap," Ager said. "But I think some consumers are asking for a different way now."

As a whole, local meat makes up just a fraction of the meat business. But Ager thinks that, by diversifying the locations of his herd, he might learn how to figure out the dynamics of local meat on a large scale as contradictory as that might sound.

CARAMELIZED CABBAGE ROLLS WITH BEEF AND PORK

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menus, the sales of some of which benefit ASAP. (See box at right.) The goal is to promote local farms and small scale meat industry. And many consumers are moving in that direction.

Steers at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview. Hickory Nut Gap also supervises the raising of cattle at other locations, to be sold under the farm's label.

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really well," Ager said. There, as with other Hickory Nut Gap livestock, cows are 100 percent grass fed and raised without added hormones or antibiotics.

"It sorts of depends on the demographic of the store," she said. "But it's been very successful and we've gotten a lot of positive feedback. Hickory Nut Gap has such strong name recognition."

Jaime Ager, one of the owners of Hickory Nut Gap, explained that he works with about a dozen other growers to meet a growing clamor for responsibly raised, grass fed meat.

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According to McGrath, Hickory Nut Gap Farm started out in 11 stores with just ground beef (perfect for chili see the recipe at right).

"A lot of the technical detail that we deal with in the grass fed industry," Ager said. "We'll have some good data." And learning how the cows deal with South versus North Carolina weather, both winter and summer, helps Ager learn how to move toward year round beef production, one of his goals.

Get it local in Asheville

January is local meat month, according to the Asheville based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Some local eateries are joining in with special meat based dishes on their Converse All Star Black Leather

Ingles grocery stores recently added to its inventory beef and pork from Fairview's Hickory Nut Gap, responding to customer demand for more locally sourced meat products. Ingles has in the past focused on local value added products, like the gluten free Do More bars, as well as local produce, such as New Sprout Farms sweet potatoes.

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"I think we just saw that we're getting a better response by doing something that is locally recognized, like Hickory Nut Gap," said Leah McGrath, Ingles dietitian and de facto face of the North Carolina based grocery store chain.

Clemson, for example, is currently researching what type of forage free range cattle prefers for optimum natural growth.

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