Old North Farm
Old North Farm is a place for growing, gathering, and supporting our local community. On one acre in Cleveland County, Jamie Swofford and a small team of individuals grow seasonal vegetables for their Cleveland County neighbors and beyond.
We supply high-quality ingredients for chefs, breweries, and cocktail craftsmen in the North Carolina Piedmont, serve our neighbors every Saturday at the Foothills Farmers Market and across three seasons via the Old North Farm share.PRACTICES
Growing on a small footprint means growing with great care. We grow nutrient-dense vegetables without the use of chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, or large equipment. Our fields are hand-tended and our work is ingredient-driven. We use organic practices and focus on soil health to support a healthy ecosystem for our crops. Using intensive practices, we cultivate high-quality produce across four seasons.
We’re interested in unique products with exceptional flavor. As food people, we focus on highlighting the ingredients of our region while developing flavors that inspire. Shop Our Products
It was January 2014, the middle of winter, when writer Keia Mastrianni asked Jamie Swofford for an interview. She was interested in writing a story about the chef-turned-farmer she’d heard so much about in her reporting circles. Jamie Swofford politely declined the interview.
Had this been the end of the story, Old North Farm would not exist today.
Luckily, that wasn’t the end. Jamie finally met Keia for that interview. She published two stories about him before they fell in love and began imagining a life together. Since then, the two have built a life based on their mutual love languages–– food and service. Jamie started a beverage company and Keia became the baker and owner of Milk Glass Pie. Their partnership over the years shaped the vision of Old North Farm.
Today, the farm continues to grow around their local community and Milk Glass Pie, the bakery that grew out of their union and Jamie’s persistent encouragement, is proudly farm-based with fruit orchards and a pie garden that will eventually become a working part of the bakery’s supply chain.
At Old North Farm, Jamie and Keia host on-farm dinners and workshops that allow them to share their love of food with others. Old North Farm is the heart center of all they do. It is a dream realized.
Before he farmed for a living, Swofford spent nearly two decades in kitchens throughout the Southeast and abroad. Equipped with a wealth of experience, deep culinary understanding, and a desire to preserve traditions rooted in Appalachian culture, he explores food in all of its facets; from his work in the field to his own line of artisanal products.
A deep commitment to agriculture paired with an insatiable culinary curiosity is the place in which you’ll find Jamie Swofford these days. His work is inextricably linked to his homeplace and thus, his heart. In the field, he works with preservation and place in mind. In the kitchen, he explores flavors while honoring tradition and craft.
Jordan Mitchell was raised in Shelby, NC and after a few years of studying and traveling has found her way back to this area. She loves being a part of the unique, inclusive farm community that is Old North Farm. She has a healthy, totally manageable obsession with K-Pop, houseplants, and stuffed animals.
Old North Shrub
WHAT IS SHRUB?
At its most basic, shrub is a beverage made of fruit, vinegar, and sugar. According to Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, “Shrub is a colonial-day drink whose name is derived from the Arabic word sharab, to drink. It is a concentrated syrup…that is traditionally mixed with water to create a refreshing drink that is simultaneously tart and sweet. In the nineteenth-century, the drink was often spiked with brandy or rum.”
Old North Shrub was a happy accident. Jamie Swofford provides boutique produce for chefs in the Piedmont, and fresh and foraged ingredients to breweries. On a delivery run, one of Swofford’s regular customers, Free Range Brewing (Charlotte), invited him to craft a non-alcoholic beverage “that was not kombucha” for their bar taps. Swofford settled on shrub, a colonial-era drinking vinegar, made with ingredients grown, foraged, and sourced from his agricultural radius in western North Carolina.
The shrub was first sold on tap in 2015, but soon gained popularity. A demand for a bottled beverage followed. In 2016, Old North Shrub began selling its drinking vinegars by the bottle.