Where It All Began. . .
Agriculture is in our blood.
Once it's there, it's kind of hard to get away from. This is evident in a lot of our friends and family in Central Texas. We, Aaron and Joshua Nors, grew up on a small, grass-based dairy outside of Abbott, Texas. Our Father, James Nors, taught us how to work and gave us an appreciation for a more natural way of doing things. Growing up we can't remember him ever using herbicide on our family farm, and rotational grazing was commonplace our entire lives. In the early 2000s, Dad made the decision to stop selling to the milk coop and start selling raw milk by the gallon, which had to be sold on-farm.
Even though we were starting our own respective careers, we still helped quite a bit on the family farm and we quickly were baptized in the new lifestyle. Prior to the switch, every other day for our entire life, a semi-truck would come and get milk from our bulk tank. With the raw milk dairy, we sold milk by the gallon, sometimes one gallon to a neighbor down the road and sometimes 70 gallons to the buying group from Dallas. The time Dad spent visiting with his customers was the biggest change for us to get used to. We always had plenty of work to do, but he spent a significant part of most days in conversation.
As we grow older, we see more clearly now just why those conversations were so important. Folks wanted to visit with Dad so they could get to know him. Then they would begin to trust him. Those conversations helped to show that he did his best to deliver milk to them in the best way that he knew how A clean product. Naturally raised with no hormones or antibiotics. Great quality and backed by great service. And it helped that the milk's flavor was delicious! He was putting out a product that he was proud of his grandkids to drink every day.
The Addition of Beef
Eventually, the raw milk dairy added pastured beef. Then cream and eggs. And finally pork. He was always working to please his customers. When Dad passed away unexpectedly in 2015, his on-farm store had a good variety for those folks who drove over an hour to come to see him. He was always working to please his customers.
We knew immediately after Dad left us that we wanted to keep the farm for our families. However, with both of us having young kids and careers of our own, the timing didn't work out to keep the dairy, poultry and pork operations going as they were. We settled in a few months later with our beef cattle operation but did not directly market our beef. We were more the typical part-time rancher like a lot of good folks in this part of Texas.
Passion for Pork
Remember how we started this by saying that once something gets into your blood, it's kind of hard to get away from?? Joshua always had an affinity for raising pigs, from his days in FFA when he raised show hogs, then after high-school when he raised and bred pigs for a few years. In addition to his experience with swine, we both have an appreciation for naturally raised, local, high-quality foods. It was just a matter of time before we submitted to our fate and started direct-marketing what we produced, just like Dad did.
So it was no surprise to Aaron in November 2016 when Joshua showed up at the farm with seven Red Wattle pigs. Our pork operation had begun. We converted one of our places from a heifer farm to a pig farm. We took care of the pigs as best we knew how, and then started to help take care of their piglets. We had our first pork in the freezer about a year after buying those first pigs. Aaron was pleasantly delighted at the great flavor, which is why Joshua chose the Red Wattle breed! We soon started selling to friends and family, and then at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market almost every Saturday morning. We now serve regular individuals and restaurants, and we hope one day you can try our product that we are so proud of.
Now we are the ones spending a significant amount of time visiting about our operation. Now we are the ones working diligently trying to satisfy the wants of our customers. Now we are the ones providing a naturally raised, delicious, healthy food for our children. Now we are the co-owners and managers of Blackland Prairie Pork.
That's the story of how we got here. I think somewhere Dad must be smiling. And we are having a pretty enjoyable time, too. Thanks for reading!