Middle Ground Farm comes with a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the Massanutten and Blue Ridge Mountains from the New Market Gap to Afton Mountain. Located in Linville, Virginia, the farm has been under the care and ownership of Rick Showalter and his wife since 1988. Early on, they raised broilers for another company and were fairly pleased with that arrangement, until that company was bought out by a larger one that proceeded to, as Rick puts it, “squeeze their growers. We went from being a person to a number on their balance sheet.” Four years ago, the Showalters made the leap to SVO and have no regrets. They feel good about producing food with integrity, and about raising birds the way they want to, without the heavy-handed demands of the conventional poultry industry. In the summer months, their gorgeous hillside pasture is home to a cow and calf operation. When not tending to his birds or working his day job, Rick enjoys splatter painting, and his wife is a landscape artist. 

Lynda Bostrom