Mike and Molly Peterson run Heritage Hollow Farms in Sperryville, VA. They produce grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork on just more than 400 acres of rolling pastures in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains, and sell it at their new store in town. Both raised in rural Illinois, Mike and Molly share a deep connection to farming, raising animals, and providing healthy food for their community.
While Mike is a 5th generation farmer, he did not always know he wanted to farm. “I come from a culinary background and worked in restaurants for about seven years before transitioning into agriculture full-time.”
While working as a chef, Mike started asking questions about how and where the food was grown and produced. These questions led him seek out a farm internship so he could get a closer view. The farm internship rapidly grew into farm management and he never looked back.
The Petersons now rent four properties, on which they raise Red Devon and Black Angus cattle, Katahdin/Texel cross sheep, and Mangalitsa/Tamworth-cross pigs. They focus on animals that thrive on pasture and adapt their holistic management strategies based on their own observations of the animals, soil, and pasture.
According to Mike, customers are their biggest marketing ally. “Word of mouth, positive experiences with us and our products are far more beneficial than any paid advertising we could do,” he says. Mike and Molly use Instagram and Facebook to share a unique window into the beauty and challenges of farm life. They also spend time talking to costumers at their store and explaining their products and growing practices.
They have a diverse marketing plan to sell their products directly-to-consumers, to restaurants and resellers. They also sell whole and half animals by special order to people who want to fill up their freezers. They keep regular hours at their new store in Sperryville where customers can experience the largest selection and ask questions about their unique products.
According to Mike, one challenge is remaining flexible amidst a rapidly changing marketplace. “The market is constantly shifting as access to local food becomes easier for the consumer. Sales strategies from 15 years ago should look quite a bit different today.”
Mike brings tremendous enthusiasm to his farming. To fellow farmers he offers this advice, “Be true to yourself and your values. Follow your heart and always be open. Read, react, adapt, and shift if you need to.”
Heritage Hollow Farms offers customers several options to purchase their products.
Visit the farm store website to for details!