Driving up the winding road leading to the farm, visitors immediately see where Pilaroc Farms got its name. Owned by Walt and Jennie Schutte-Patrick, the family farm is literally a pile of rocks with cedar trees scattered around the edges. It’s here on this rocky land that Jennie and Walt are reaching into their dairy farm backgrounds to build a new business focused on providing local beef and pork to our community. Rock to table, as Jennie is fond of saying.
The Patrick family’s farm stretches back to the World War II era. You’ll see the Patrick name throughout the county, most notably with the Patrick Rehab & Wellness Center. Back in the 1940s, Walt’s great-grandfather started a cattle herd on 700 acres. Most of that was in Park City around the airport. Walt’s been in the cattle family business in one way or another ever since college.
Photos courtesy of Pilaroc Farms.
With roots on a dairy farm in Indiana, Jennie took a spin through the corporate world in advertising and marketing. It was exciting with stints in Chicago and New York City. But after meeting Walt and moving to Tennessee, the long hours and frequent travel associated with the job took a toll.
One night after their daughter Tensie Ruth was born, Jennie found herself standing in the driveway about to leave for a business trip to Memphis. “I was standing there balling my eyes out because I couldn’t leave her again,” Jennie said. “I just can’t do this anymore. We’ve got to do something different.”
That work trip became the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. She quit her job and started Pilaroc Farms in December 2016.
Jennie and Walt set out with two goals. First, give our community the best local meat-eating experience possible. And just as important, give their own children an opportunity to live, breathe, and eat a farm life. It’s truly a family affair with their kids helping on everything from fixing fences to helping feed animals.
“Every animal is developed as if it were going to be served at our own table.”
The Pilaroc approach focuses on local. As Jennie puts it – “Every animal is developed as if it were going to be served at our own table. We want it local, we want to know that is was raised humanely, and we want the best quality meat available.” Unlike many corporate farms, the cattle and pigs are pasture-raised, meaning they spend their entire lives on pasture. With a little bit of local grain thrown into the mix towards the finish, the final product truly is local and loved by their customers.
So far, the community appears to be fans of the local approach. Pilaroc Farms provided beef for the inaugural 2017 Farm to Table event on the square. Holt’s IGA recently picked up their beef and pork to sell in-house.
Jenni and Walt have big plans for this year.Just last week, the PickTN program accepted the farm into their group of local Tennessee farmers. You’ll see their booth at the Slawburger Festival on Saturday, April 21st. They’re also looking at different farmers’ markets in our area.
For the Pilaroc team, this year is all about being out in our community and showing why they’re different than the big corporate farms.
“If you want a local product where you know the farmers and you know where your meat comes from, come talk to us. Stop by the farm and see us.”