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Maiden farm to be featured on Food Network

 

Jake, a goat, peeks out from behind his house at Red Wolf Farm.

Jake, a goat, peeks out from behind his house at Red Wolf Farm.

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

With more than 50 acres of land on their Maiden property, Josh Grant and his wife, Dr. Amanda Cline-Grant, have made a quite a mark on the community since 2005.

On Sunday, their property Red Wolf Farm, located along Water Plant Road, will make national airwaves as it’s featured on the Food Network as part of the series “Food Court Wars.”

The Food Network contacted them in October after looking online for farms across the nation that both produced and sold their own food locally, Josh said.

Producers also wanted to use some of the Catawba County property’s food products as ingredients for the show’s cooking challenge among the contestants.

Red Wolf Farm is known for producing natural pork, eggs and beef.

Television show producers also had plans for Josh to co-host the episode alongside Food Network star and celebrity Chef Tyler Florence.

However, it wasn’t until filming took place at Valley Hills Mall in Hickory in December, Josh said, that he learned about the once-in-a-lifetime gig.

“I didn’t go up there expecting to talk,” he said.

The couple remained on set at the mall from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. as curious shoppers often stopped to witness the filming, Josh noted.

He even had the opportunity to taste the food the two Charlotte-based teams prepared and decide the winner, which was awarded a food court restaurant at the mall rent-free for a year.

While the show’s crew had every intention to visit the farm and host a party there before heading back to California, the couple said, winter weather this season cancelled the plans.

However, Josh and Amanda still raved about the memorable experience and friendly environment on set.

“They were really cool,” he said. “They loved the people of this area.”

The young farm owner noted how he’s worked on TV and movie sets a number of times in the past as an extra in major motion films “The Hunger Games” and “Trouble with the Curve,” along with the hit T.V. series “The Following” starring Kevin Bacon. He also recently acted in a Fiat car commercial.

But the experiences weren’t always as pleasant as his time last year with the Food Network crew.

The Times-News had the opportunity Thursday morning to stroll throughout parts of Red Wolf Farm, taking in the sights and sounds of chickens, pigs, turkeys, goats and rabbits.

The couple said they keep the cows they own on a farmland property in Newton belonging to a friend’s grandfather.

They also share a number of acres throughout the region with various other relatives and farming friends.

The Grants not only share a childhood of working on farms and participating in activities related to the rural life but they also discovered records of how past generations from each of their families farmed and lived near each other during the 19th century.

During the 1850s, in particular, Josh said, one of his wife’s past relatives served as a housekeeper for his relative’s Cleveland County residence.

Much of Josh’s family stemmed from the North Brook region, he said, where they grew cotton.

Amanda is a descendant of Dietrich Ramseur who established Lincolnton’s now historic Ramseur’s Mill.

Her relatives also used to pick cotton along the hill at Red Wolf Farm, Josh said.

During the 1960s, Amanda’s great-grandfather purchased some land from her husband’s family, and to this day, her grandparents still own 230 acres.

Josh joked that he and his wife were destined to meet after discovering the numerous connections between their families.

The two have been friends since the third grade and secured the top two academic positions in their graduating class at Maiden High School.

While rural life is in their blood, the Grants also chose to buy Red Wolf Farm because of their desire to do their part to preserve the food system and keep it from becoming increasingly industrialized, Josh said.

They’ve also studied the area and learned much about its historic significance as an iron forge during war times.

Oftentimes, during school tours at Red Wolf Farm, the couple will show children — including students from nearly every Lincoln County school — the many bits of iron slag deposited throughout the property’s creek, where Josh said he used to swim as a boy.

The tiny black rock fragments are the result of forging that took place at the property during the War of 1812 and Civil War.

Until the 1840s, when Lincoln County was split three ways, creating land for Catawba and Gaston Counties, the couple noted, Red Wolf Farm, then called Jenny-Lind Forge, was part of Lincoln County.

The iron forge, which was dismantled in 1880, not only crafted cannons and cannon ammunition but also farming supplies such as plows, wagons and shovels, Josh said.

While the couple initially purchased the farm to be a small-scale effort, it soon grew in popularity and size, particularly after they added a pumpkin patch in 2010.

“Now, thousands of people come from all over the place,” Josh said.

In order to supply enough pumpkins during the fall season, the Grants have to grown the popular orange crop in three places throughout the area.

During the fall, work is non-stop for them as they complete daily tasks seven days a week for at least eight straight weeks.

“From sun up to sundown,” Josh said.

The winter season is slower and usually includes a warm-weather vacation for the couple.

In order to help out more on the farm, Amanda said she leased out her chiropractic office in Maiden for 10 years to take a hiatus from the career and assist her husband with all the work.

The farm has also no shortage of furry friends, each with their own unique name.

From “Thumper” the black bunny to ducks “Howard and Drake,” pony “Daizy Maizy” and “Stink Floyd” the pot-bellied pig, all of the animals keep the owners on their toes and provide great entertainment for the school children during tours.

The Grants’ episode of “Food Court Wars” will air 8 p.m. Sunday on the Food Network.

For more information on Red Wolf Farm, visit redwolffarm.com or call (828) 428-1445.

 

 

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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