Meg Montgomery, the meat manager for Foothills Meats, used to be called “Farmer Meg” up until about 2 years ago when she started to work with Foothills Owner Casey McKissick and the rest of his team in Black Mountain.
Born in Virginia outside of Quantico, Meg spent her formative years in Connecticut once her dad retired from the FBI and moved his family to the area.
She got into agriculture in 2009 when she started farming for Heifer Project International—a large, international nonprofit that gives agricultural aid and relief to 37 different third-world countries. “I just wanted to feed people,” Meg explains. “My whole career focus was very much agriculture-based and feeding-people based.”
She then started bouncing around from farm to farm working as an apprentice and a farmhand, living in yurts and trailers, and gaining as much farming experience as she could. She even helped her friend start a grass-fed beef farm in Sheffield, MA which she then worked on and managed.
But Meg wanted to know all parts of the food cycle—not just the agricultural aspect. “I used to do on-site slaughtering on my farm in Massachusetts,” she explains, “and that’s what got me very interested in butchery.”
She saw an opportunity to work as a part-time butcher assistant for Casey when the Foothills location in Black Mountain was just opening. And while Meg thought she was only taking a brief hiatus from farming to learn the skill of butchery to take back to her agricultural field, she ended up falling in love with the Foothills philosophy and how they respect local farmers.
“I love that we take our money and put it back into our local economy and get to choose which farmers need our help financially,” Meg says, “and we’re making big differences.”
She says one of her favorite things about Foothills is the fact that they are providing quality products for the average consumer; something that is definitely hard to find.
“When I switched over to butchery, I found a lot of craft butcheries that were very elite,” she explains. “But the down-to-earth vibe that Foothills has, it was never about being elite—it was about good food for all.”
Her love of farming and the environment as a whole is another important reason she has decided to stay at Foothills for the long haul. “I’m an environmentalist, and agriculture and environmentalism go hand in hand,” Meg says.
She believes that as consumers, we vote with our forks, and buying meat for your local butcher and knowing the local farmers you’re buying that meat from is putting money into the pockets of people that are trying to make an environmental difference. Now more than ever, being an ethical consumer is of the utmost importance, especially with the looming environmental crisis on our hands.
“It’s definitely a privilege to be able to afford to know where your food comes from,” Meg says, “but if you take that time and money to vote with your fork, you’re paving the way for those prices to change and for things to be more accessible overall.”
Meg’s favorite thing to order at Foothills? She loves their blue plate special, which is a rotating selection of fresh meat and vegetables.
“Our chefs are able to have some creativity [with our blue plate specials],” she explains. “We have so much talent in that kitchen that it always produces some good and interesting stuff, so I’m a big fan of that.”