Photos by Debbie Roos, North Carolina Cooperative Extension
I had the honor of presenting the Young Farmer of the Year award to Tucker and Mackenzie Withington in front of over 800 folks at Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Durham back in November. Tucker and Mackenzie own and operate Lilly Den Farm near Goldston in Chatham County, NC. The whole family was at the banquet, including their kids Dennet, Lilly, and Meadow. The farm is named after Lilly and Dennet, and I’ll never forget the look of surprise and excitement on their faces as I announced the award and they proudly made their way up to the stage to accept the award with their parents.
The Withington family only moved to North Carolina a few years ago but they have quickly carved out a niche for themselves in our local food system and become an important part of the community. Tucker and Mackenzie are both from New York where Tucker grew up on a small dairy farm. They moved to Chatham County in 2008 to be closer to family in the Carolinas.
Lilly Den Farm is known for its high quality, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, including beef, pork, lamb, goat, cage-free veal, chicken, turkey, and duck. They also produce eggs, pet milk and yogurt, and vegetables. Animals are raised on pasture and/or with access to the outdoors. Tucker collects spent grains from Carolina Brewery to feed livestock and unfilterable vegetable oil from Piedmont Biofuels to mix with feed for the pigs.
During the winter when the local farmers’ markets are closed, Pittsboro residents can find Lilly Den at the Angelina’s Kitchen mini-winter farmers’ market on Thursday evenings (from 5:00-7:00 pm) and in front of Carolina Brewery on Saturdays from noon-2:00 pm.
Lilly Den Farm also offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where members receive weekly shares of meats and dairy. Restaurants including Angelina’s Kitchen, Oakleaf, Small B&B Cafe, Carolina Brewery & Grill, Phoenix Bakery, Little Hen, and the CCCC Natural Chef Program all feature Lilly Den meats.
Congratulations to Tucker and Mackenzie for their award and for strengthening our local food system!
Visit the Lilly Den website for more information.