AJ NOWELL, Head Butcher
AJ grew up spending summers in Clemson, SC learning to butcher under the tutelage of his uncle in a small retail shop. His passion led him to master his cutting skills at high end retail locations including Earth Fare, Fresh Market, and Buffalo Shoals, where he also focused on developing his culinary skills with value added products and recipes, and spearheaded a pork whole animal program. Always looking to continue honing his craft, AJ added teaching “Joint and Seam” techniques at Mayland Community College in Newland, NC. In 2020, AJ and his wife relocated their family of four children to the beautiful Linville area of NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In June 2023 he joined Watauga Butchery, bringing over 20 years of experience and proving himself worthy of the position of Head Butcher.
CHEF DANNY BOCK, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & CULINARY ADVISOR
Danny Bock joined the butchery back in June of 2021. His career in food began 30 years ago in his hometown of Charlotte, where he worked in a variety of restaurants. In 2002, Danny relocated to the High Country to earn the title of “Chef” at Heirlooms Restaurant. Since then, he has managed several area restaurants and held a leadership role in Campus Dining at App State. Danny provides a restaurant and food service perspective for our cut shop to ensure that every animal processed meets the standards of both retail and wholesale customer bases. You can reach Danny at email@example.com
TRISH COLE, SHOP COORDINATOR
Trish has been at the butchery since day 1. She is the one who keeps everyone and all things moving in the right direction – cut sheet review, processing schedules, field kill coordination, and HACCP/regulatory compliance.
Bob Shipley, Watauga Butchery Manager; Partner in Shipley Farms Beef
Bob grew up on his family farm just over the mountain from our shop, a mile or so away. Bob’s dad taught him to have a passion for his work, doing things the right way and serving people well. In fact, much of what happens at Watauga Butchery can be traced to Bob’s dad, R.G. Shipley Sr., and his friendship with Mr. Willie Cole. The Shipley and Cole families share a connection from years of attending church together, and before that, back to when Franklin Cole was a student in R.G.’s vocational agriculture class in high school. In truth, many of our customers can trace their careers in part to R.G.’s training somewhere along the way. After retiring from a career in financial services, Bob partnered with his son as well as the then 101-year old R.G. Sr. to launch the retail meats venture of Shipley Farms Beef.
Shipley Farms Beef is a family farming operation built on the legacy of R.G. Shipley Sr, a 1980 inductee into the NC Agricultural Hall of Fame. The Shipley family has raised cattle, as well as sheep and tobacco in years past, in the valley just West of Boone for 150 years. In 2014, at 101 years old, RG along with his son and grandson began packaging and selling our beef as a dry-aged, pasture-raised and locally grown product from our North Carolina mountain farm.