Wilfong Farms – owned and operated by Charles and Michelle Wilfong, of Dunmore, recently expanded its business to include meat production and sales.
The Wilfongs have raised cattle and sheep for years, but it wasn’t until this year that they took their business one step further.
“We started the process around March or April,” Michelle said. “We went to the [West Virginia Department of Agriculture] and got our license to sell meat.”
Along with selling their own beef and lamb, the Wilfongs purchase hogs from a Preston County farm so they also sell pork.
The family has the meat processed and packaged at a West Virginia slaughterhouse, which allows them to resell the meat from home, at the Farmers Market and to local businesses and restaurants.
“In order to sell meat, it has to have the stamp on it and it has to have been inspected at a West Virginia facility,” Michelle explained. “There’s only a few slaughterhouses throughout the state that will do that, so we have to travel three hours just to go to a slaughterhouse that will inspect it.”
Although a lot of businesses have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wilfongs had a boom in customers who wanted quality meat, which had the added bonus of being West Virginia raised.
“We had no idea it was going to take off the way it did, but, of course, it was during the pandemic when all the meat prices were through the roof,” Michelle said. “It’s been good that we started when we did because I think a lot of consumers have realized that they need to know where their food is coming from.
“A lot of meat – it could be imported from China or Argentina, or another foreign country, and they don’t know,” she continued. “I think it means a lot to people that we’re able to offer it and it’s grown and processed here in West Virginia. I think that makes a difference.”
The Wilfongs are no strangers to farming.
Charles was raised on the Dunmore farm and is the third generation Wilfong to farm there. Michelle is from Moorefield, where she was a third generation farmer, as well.
“I think Charles is probably third generation on this farm because the first one –was in Virginia and then moved here,” Michelle said. “I didn’t know anything different [from farming]. I grew up on a poultry farm, so we had poultry houses, and we grew for Pilgrim’s Pride. Then, we also had cattle and sheep. I would sell club lambs to 4-H and FFA members.”
The couple welcomed the fourth generation farmer – CW – two years ago, and he has already shown great promise as a successor to the family business.
“He’s down there with us feeding and checking,” Michelle said of her son. “Then once we bring in all the meat to unload, he likes to hand us the hamburger and he likes to throw it in the freezer. He’s part of it. He’ll run through the sheep and if there’s one that’s stuck in the feeder, he’ll try to pull it out. It’s amazing how quickly he can pick up stuff that he sees us doing. He knows he has to do it, so it’s pretty cool to watch.”
At this time, the Wilfongs are selling meat out of their home in Dunmore, at the Green Bank and Linwood Farmers Markets and at Levels Depot in Hillsboro.
“I would like to expand and maybe have a cooler set up at various places throughout the county,” Michelle said. “Levels Depot bought meat from us to sell in their store, which I’m very appreciative of.
“We can sell to restaurants,” she added. “We have had two restaurants contact us and we’re pursuing that to see what kind of cuts they want to purchase from us.”
To order meat, customers may call the Wilfongs at 304-456-4652. Leave a message with your information if no one answers.
“I’m in and out all day on the farm, so I tell people call me late at night to get ahold of me,” Michelle said, laughing.
For more information on Wilfong Farms, visit the Facebook page of the same name.