Crafting Naked Goodness in Oakboro, NC

Jenny and Shawn Hatley of the Naked Pig Meat Co

The Naked Pig Meat Co. was born out of Jenny & Shawn Hatley’s search for meat products without added antibiotics, hormones, and artificial enhancements, harvested from healthy and happy animals raised outdoors. When they had difficulty finding products that met their needs, they decided to create their own.

In order to produce the finest tasting meats, they start with the best breeds, raise them according to humane standards and feed them a balanced diet. Their animals spend their lives living on a rotationally managed forage system to protect environmental integrity.

CFSA got a chance to catch up with Shawn and Jenny to find out more about their sustainable food business, one of 8 of our 2015 Food Projects.

Shawn and his son on the farmCFSA: Why are you passionate about using local, sustainable foods as a part of your business plan?

Naked Pig Meat Co.: Localism supports our family, friends and neighbors. When we can spend a dollar in our town, we know the money will return ten-fold. It is how we grow relationships and create community. Through The Naked Pig Meat Co. retail store, we enjoy the memories made and stories shared with guests and friends. In a one stoplight town, people will remark “it is not that we are nosey, we just care!” Friends helping neighbors.


Big PigCFSA: Tell us a little about how you work with farmers.

Naked Pig Meat Co.: Shawn’s grandfather once operated a farrowing operation and sold top hogs through local sale barns. In similar ways, we operate a young farrowing farm under the Animal Welfare Approved guidelines and supply east coast markets through the NC Natural Hog Growers Association (NCNHGA). Serving as secretary, we have the opportunity to work with other farms. On a small scale we provide feeder pigs to a few growers interested in small batch finishing opportunities.

Through the NCNHGA and through Sun-Raised Farms, as managing director, our family has the great opportunity to share experiences with many farm families throughout our state.  In our community, we work with family and neighbors who grow the grains ground for feed. In our retail store, we are buying eggs from a group of families who share the same values we promote. During wheat harvest, we buy straw from another farm. Each little purchase, when considered in aggregate, is one more step to creating a more resilient farm and food system.


The Naked Pig CrewCFSA: Why is NC a great place to be in this business?

Naked Pig Meat Co.: NC is where our family planted roots and we are doing all we can to nourish this farm and create a viable future for the next generation. It is home and has been home for our family for the last 260 years. Agriculture is the largest industry in the state with many support services. NC offers a seasonal growing climate with direct access to growing metropolitan regions interested in buying food with a story.


CFSA: What are your dreams for your business? How can CFSA help you get there?

Naked Pig Meat Co.: Our passion and drive is fueled by a family legacy we have inherited that is common to many farm operations. We continue adapting to evolving farming technologies and changing consumer trends. The pork my grandfather sold is very similar to the pork we sell today using non-GMO grains, no synthetics or artificial additives. Although we are not using the same pigs, we continue using the same land, buildings and animal husbandry practices employed 60 years ago in outdoor hog production.

My grandfather’s generation did a great job encouraging my dad’s generation to leave the farm. The trend continues today with ranching and farming families out West. CFSA has the potential to energize youth and transition multigenerational operations to support changing market needs. If the ways of the land are not passed down or if the next generation is not taught the value of farming, our communities will soon forget that water does not come from a bottle, lettuce from a produce aisle, or that bacon is crafted from pork belly.


CPigs on pastureFSA: How do you define success?

Naked Pig Meat Co.: Success is not an end point but a series of achievements. Over the next few years, we are committed to demonstrating how niche-scale agriculture can return real dollars to sustain family operations. We will succeed if more families can derive their primary income from farming. When you help others succeed, we all succeed.


CFSA: Anything else you’d like to share with our members?

Naked Pig Meat Co.: Farmers are amazing people. It is easy to romanticize the agrarian landscape we have inherited. What is really at work is the land’s expression in response to one of four constants, that it is “too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry”.  When you see land successfully tended for the constants, there you will find a great farmer.

Learn more about Naked Pig Meat Co. and order some of their to-die-for meat