Sarah Beth Hopton, Heartwood Farms Ltd

Grant Award: $6,000

Heartwood Farms constructed an integrated, closed loop rabbitry and vermiculture barn and system.

After two years of market testing a variety of livestock, they have determined that raising heritage meat rabbits is the most sustainable and viable business model for their small farm. In those two years, they have cultivated a market for high quality rabbit, selling predominantly to high-end restaurants between Winston-Salem, Boone and Asheville.

They have also identified an additional way to capitalize rabbit farming by-product (manure) and have found a robust market among Yadkin Valley wineries which will purchase their vermicompost.

The barn takes their operation to the next level, creating consistency to meet chef’s expectations in quality and product availability.

The dedicated barn operation will improve production efficiencies, minimize losses, add an income stream (vermicompost), allow high-end market cultivation and the FDA-approved facility will open up interstate sales.


Watauga County

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