An Enchanted Forest Farm

By Caitlyn Randall

A “mountainesque” drive lead my team and I to a snarly branch at the end of a dirt drive with the Wild Way Farm sign. At that moment we knew we had arrived, but we did not know what we were about to experience. I drove over the small bridge with a little mountain creek below. Up the hill we went. Passing pops of purple and yellow wildflowers dancing in the woods, I thought surely a woodland fairy would emerge at any moment. Once we made our way up to the hub of this enchanted forest farm we were greeted by chickens, ducks, geese, farm dogs, the farm owner Clara, and her partner Zach.

At The Wild Way Farm, Clara processes quail in a rad airstream trailer that is Food and Drug Administration approved. Clara is the only quail processor in the state that removes the feathers and bones and keeps the skin on. This is a real treat for chefs and others who want to enjoy the delicious delicacy of quail.

“I think it’s important that if you are going to take a life you use every part of it” states Clara. She breeds her quails and chickens for the eggs, meat, and feathers. Clara likes to refer to her quails and chickens as tri-purpose. The West Asheville Tailgate and other local events are The Wild Way’s main point of distribution for their eggs and meat. The feathers get sold to a business that uses them to make fly fishing ties. For appealing eggs to eat and vibrant feathers for fishing ties, the quails are bred for the most colorful outcome.

The Wild Way’s quails are also suppled in local restaurants with plans to expand. Currently Clara, her partner, and a couple friends are the ones who process the quail. Farming and quail processing is not the only superpower Clara possess. She is also a professional dancer who travels the world to perform.

Clara jetes (ballet term for leaps) to change the normal of farming. We ask you to consider purchasing, trying and cooking alternate poultry options. My grandma always said, “Try something once, if you don’t like it, don’t try it again, but if you love it, you’ve opened up a whole new world.” Will you try quail?

Recipes found on this page are from Got to Be NC members, staff, industry partners and Stove Side Chats. Stove Side Chats is Got to Be NC’s cooking show hosted by restaurant marketing specialist Chad Blackwelder. This series invites chefs and home cooks from around the state to teach you how to cook with in-season North Carolina deliciousness.