Raven Ridge is a sustainability-minded multi-generational family farm and vineyard at the foot of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. Here on the farm, we believe that active engagement with our Community, Ecosystem, and Local Economy are foundational to living sustainably. We value work/life balance, teamwork, respect, learning from others, and sharing our learnings as we go.
At present, the primary for-profit enterprise working out of the greater RavenRidge property is Borrowed Land Farms which raises rabbit, free-range chicken eggs, and oyster mushrooms. They sell at the King Farmer’s Market (May to October) and are happy to sell products directly from the farm as well. RavenRidge Farm & Vineyard is still under development but intends to raise heritage breed hogs and to produce high-quality small-batch wine.
In the future, RavenRidge is planning musical events, educational workshops, and more, but in the meantime, stop by for a visit. We would be happy to take you for a tour or to sit under the gazebo for a chat.
We hope to see you soon out on the farm.
Our focus on our local and extended community has taken many forms in the real-world. Every fourth weekend, Ernie and Cathy host a Fireside Chat. Topics have ranged far and wide including some that incite strong feelings and differing opinions. The purpose of the chat is to practice listening as much as talking, to be respectful and observant, and to sincerely try to see each person’s perspective as equally valuable. We hope to continue this tradition for as long as the community shows interest.
Through the products we provide, both at present and planned for the future, we engage our community in conversation and enjoyment of wholesome foods. Whether we are delivering mushrooms to the local CSA or selling free-range eggs at the farmer’s market, we try to live out our convictions through each interaction.
We are also collaborating with other local farms when possible. Cooperative efforts between small growers are crucial for the long-term viability of family farms like ours. We hope to get involved in the definition of policy, the development of local resources and the overall improvement of our local economy as the network of sustainable-minded producers in our area continues to grow.
Finally, we do our best to look out for the non-human communities that surround and support us. We were recently named as one of only fifty-two North Carolina farms to receive a USFW’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife grant. We will continue to keep the balance of the overall ecosystem in mind as we build out future RavenRidge and Borrowed Land ventures.
We are all in various stages of settling at the farm. Below is a brief introduction to each family who intends to call the greater RavenRidge property home, whether part-time, full-time, or whenever time allows.
Richard and Michele Wheeler, Ashby (their dog) and Michele's mother Neva, live in the Rookery (the big house on the hill). They have primary responsibility for the vineyard test plot, pigs, goats, junkyard jungle playground, and infrastructure development, and share in the gardening.
Their son Nathan lives on the farm part-time and helps with infrastructure, hogs and perennial pasture management.
Richard's brother Ernie, his wife Cathy, their sons Tretan and Gabriel, dogs Betty and Tex, and cats Andy and Clementine, live in the cabin near the old farmhouse. They have primary responsibility for the mushrooms, rabbits, chickens, and sheep, and they take the lead in gardening.
Richard and Michele's son Ben, his wife Jen, and their children Trillium and Ember, live in Raleigh, as does daughter Shauna, her partner Ahmed, her sons Danforth and Braxton, and their son Adam. They visit the farm to play with the animals, romp in the woods, splash in the creek, and help with construction.