Aarden Dick, Head Butcher
Aarden was born and raised in food. With a chef for a father, working in restaurants and production facilities across the country, he has always had a passion for bringing quality food to his community. Aarden’s passion for butchery and supporting local farms started in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before he, his wife, and two boys moved to Boone, he worked as the head butcher of a farm-owned butcher shop. Aarden brings a commitment to quality and safety to the team, a passion to grow, learn, and teach butchery and animal processing, and a desire to support and help local producers connect with local communities.
“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to the real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
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.
Bob has a career in business spanning several decades, including launching and building multiple startups as an entrepreneur and serving investment clients with large firms in Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Tampa, but his heart has always been in farming. His first job after college was as assistant farm and livestock manager at John Umstead Hospital in Butner, NC. 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.
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.
Kenny Cole, FOUNDING Butcher
Kenny worked with the Shipleys to help create Watauga Butchery in the midst of the 2020 shutdowns. He was raised in the meat business, trained by his father to process a carcass from a young age. His father had built the Cole Meat Processing plant in 1984, a custom shop processing mostly deer and freezer beef, which Kenny took over after his parents’ retirement in 1999.
Kenny created the culture of food safety and USDA compliance standards on which Watauga Butchery was established.