Mountain Top Heritage Farms
offers natural, pastured, pure poultry.
Our turkeys are quality birds raised on quality feed, water, pasture and care in the pristine West Virginia mountains.Our sole focus is to ensure that our birds receive the best care and environment.
Pocahontas County, West Virginia - The Mountain Top Heritage Turkey Farm was launched as a Young Life project that would help a local leader raise monies to support his local ministry. Several business folks got together and decided to attempt to raise Heritage Bronze Turkeys in a pilot project involving 200+ “turkey toms” that would include raising, slaughtering and then reselling them through a website and other Heritage Product resellers across the country. Through a poultry consultant the group had learned that the Heritage product, when organically and field raised, could bring up to $300 per bird, said Chuck Verrett, who sought to raise the funds for the project through a non-profit called Sustainable Mission Partners, Inc., Thus, Mountain Top Heritage Farms was born, www.MountainTopHeritageFarms.com.
This farm was constructed on donated land near Marlinton, WV, by volunteers including many from First Presbyterian Church in Beaver, Pennsylvania. The property owner was not using the land, part of a 75 acre farm. The project required a brooding hut, a fenced-in area, a feeding hut and drinking water. All appeared to be coming together as a prospective profitable venture, including natural spring water from a nearby spring running through a 2,000 foot gravity fed line from the top of the mountain.
Every day the Young Life leader ‘David,’ would grab a few local kids and head-up to the farm. These volunteers would feed and give water to the turkeys. Ironically, the farm gave a huge contact point with local kids, as it seemed that the entire town became absorbed in the project. David had graduated from college with a degree in Criminal Justice, yet soon afterward had felt God calling him back to his hometown to serve the God who had blessed him so much. So he headed back to Marlinton and started the fund raising process. Marlinton is an under resourced town with an average Household Income of just above $25,000. David had been attempting to raise money to fund the ministry for almost two years at that point, and had been unable to fund the ministry. Yet that didn’t stop him from doing what he felt called to do, which is to talk students about Jesus. Yet it appeared apparent that raising funds within the town he served probably wouldn’t happen. So Scott Berg stepped in. Scott is the National Rural Young Life leader who had had a relationship with Chuck through another venture which was created to fund a rural Young Life Club.
From May, when the 200 birds arrived as “poults,” till their maturity in November, David diligently worked with the turkeys every day. And all seemed to be running somewhat on schedule. We have been told that we can expect to lose about 20% of a flock to varied issues such as running-away, predators, getting ‘pecked to death from other birds, (where the phrase ‘pecking-order’ came from), leaving about 150+ birds.
Then one day a ‘mountain man,’ we'll call him ‘Steve,’ who lived up the hollow, decided to maliciously run-over about 80 of the birds with his 4X4 truck. We knew that Steve had been stealing some birds, but he clearly meant harm. The towns-people were alarmed and hurt by his actions—and since Marlinton is so small, almost everyone was following the project’s progress and this story.
David couldn’t even get gas in his car without people saying: “did you slash Steve’s tires yet” or “How you gonna get em back?” “It became the best ‘witnessing tool’ I could ever imagine” said David. “Folks just couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t take vengeance against this guy who had pretty much ruined any opportunity to make any kind of money from this project. It gave me an opportunity to talk about and show what Jesus would do to the entire town without me starting the conversation or getting into their business. I really didn’t understand or know that EVERYONE was watching this ‘Jesus guy’ who had been asking for money to try something on his own. And now, when this newest effort to fund the ministry was dying, to see how I would react.”
In a ‘post-project’ meeting David was quoted as saying: “I know you guys meant it all for profit, but I can tell you God meant it for introducing folks in Marlinton, WV. to Christ.” His conviction to ‘do it all again’ was so strong, that we decided to raise money again next year and try TWO turkey farms. God used Steve to witness Christ’s actions to the town. Additionally, many of the folks in the town were so moved by David’s attempts to raise ministry dollars on his own in this new venture, that they have stepped-up and started giving toward his ministry - and that is how a Turkey Farm galvanized a town in West Virginia.