The Mills Family Farm
A story of love, promise
The Mills Family Farm: A story of love, promise
Raising the ‘steaks’
Agriculturists vie with marketing trends by staying authentic
By: Amarra Ghani | May 30, 2018 | 4 min to read
Bradley Mills works as a veterinarian, and that’s not the only way he takes care of animals. Mills is also co-owner of the Mills Family Farm. He said his family has been in the farming business for decades.
“Farm life has been in my family since 1935,” he said. “I wanted to create that same sustainability we had growing up. And today, the connections you make with those who are bringing food to your table is relevant now more than ever.”
The Mills family has served the greater Mooresville community for 10 years. Co-owner Nicole Mills said people are investing in local products, and it doesn’t stop there. While ordering meats and produce online through larger vendors has been more accessible, people are returning to their community resources again. The Mills primarily specialize in beef products but also offer other meats, such as pork and lamb.
“I think people got really excited about the opportunity to purchase things online,” Nicole Mills said, adding some of her customers have tried ordering meats online through various services. “But after trying it out, they’re coming back to us. They try it once, and they see the difference in quality and recognize the difference of seeing things first-hand than online. My sales are actually up because of this. That’s what I’m seeing.”
Bradley Mills said the call for local consumerism has helped with awareness of good quality foods, but still he’d like more people to take time to understand what all it takes farmers to bring that quality.
“The beef-to-table journey is a long-term commitment,” Bradley Mills said. “One steak is approximately two-and-a-half years worth of time. It gets complicated. There are a lot of ups and downs, but we know we’re delivering an honest product.”
Consumers absorbing the food industry
Making home-cooked meals and healthier food selections are making a comeback, Nicole Mills said. This is primarily due not to convenience but more so about being more conscious of what people are putting into their bodies.
“People are using different gadgets at home to get that restaurant-style taste,” she said. “So many more people have smokers. Another thing that’s popular right now is the sous vide machine.”
The sous vide machine creates a gourmet culinary technique that involves cooking food in pouches.
“Different methods of cooking styles are becoming popular, and people are planning much better with their families when it comes to what they’re eating,” Nicole Mills said.
While the internet probably won’t be slowing down, buzzwords are beginning to take the backseat, she said. Still, new farmers starting out have the tendency to provide everything at once. This, she said, can be a downfall of any business.
“We want to do one thing, and we want to do it well,” she said about Mills Farm specializing in beef. “I think in any business, if you’re going to work hard, you’re going to reap your rewards. I think you can provide a better quality of product if you focus on one specific area.”
Social media and farming
Nicole Mills said her presence on social media has helped her give attraction to the kind of meats and cuts they carry. Every week she said she sends out a newsletter that lets people know what kinds of products they have available.
“It was really a call for letting our customer base know what we have and what they can be on the lookout for,” she said. “We started to grow, and it was too much to individually let people know what’s going on. I do think that this is something fairly new farmers have to work with, but at the end of the day, word-of-mouth is still the best way to get your product across.”