Shepherd's Way Farms
From our farm to your home
Tim & Bonnie Moser opened their first Raleigh retail lot in 2007 to sell premium Fraser firs, wreaths and garland from their farm in Laurel Springs, N.C., during the Christmas season.
Since then, the Mosers have moved locations (multiple times!); added pumpkins, gourds, mums and spring flowers to their seasonal offerings; watched their youngest clients grow old enough to work for them; won blue ribbons at the North Carolina State Fair; dealt with years of drought and loss; and expanded the modern iteration of Shepherd’s Way Farms through more acreage, more plant varieties and new additions to the family.
And through it all, one thing has remained constant: their undying love for their customers shown through the friendliest service and freshest products.
Bonnie & Tim Moser
6th Generation SWF Farmers
Shepherd Family History
In 1845, John Finley Shepherd came to North Carolina from Virginia, for there was land to be had. He settled 1,500 acres in Ashe County - stretching from the New River to the Alleghany border - and proceeded to raise a farm and a family. For the next 130 years, the Shepherds grew corn, hay, beans, tobacco and a garden, and they raised cattle, sheep, horses and pigs. By the mid-1970s, the Agricultural Extension office had begun encouraging the cultivation of Christmas trees as a new cash crop. George Washington Norfleet Shepherd, John Finley’s great-grandson, took a chance, starting out with White Pine trees that they trimmed into a traditional triangular shape.
Not long after, the county extension agent, Chuck Gardner, recommended switching to the Fraser fir in the higher altitudes of the state, as its perfect shape, needle retention and freshness made it the ideal Christmas tree. To this day, over 90 percent of all Christmas trees grown in North Carolina are Fraser firs.
When George died in 1988, the remaining farm land of 120 acres passed to his daughter, Sally Shepherd Dickens. Not wanting to see it go to waste, Sally leased the land to another local farmer to keep it in use while she continued working and living in Statesville, NC with her husband and children. And that’s probably what she would have continued to do for the rest of her life, had it not been for a serendipitous union between her daughter, Bonnie Dickens Bailey, and a man named Tim Moser.
How Shepherd's Way Farms Came To Be
William Timothy Moser had his first farm job when he was 8 years old, so you could say he was destined for a life in the field. After attending college at Furman University, Tim made his way to the mountains along the border of North Carolina and Virginia to start growing trees. He learned the ins and outs of the tree business through reading and through the mentorship of local growers like Junior Anderson, Wilson Barr and Ken Sexton. Over the years, he became deeply involved in both local and national groups, serving as President of Christmas in July, the Ashe County Christmas Tree Association and the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association.
In 1996, Tim won the National Wreath Competition, leading to him hand-delivering fifty 24-inch wreaths to the Clinton White House for the Christmas season. After winning the state competition three times, he placed the Christmas tree inside the NC Executive Mansion for Governors Hunt and Martin.
Even with all this excitement, Tim was constantly trying new things. He was integral in creating the Tabletop Christmas Tree market, developing the first machine that perfectly shaped the bottom of a Tabletop trunk into its stand. After developing it, he sold 25,000 Tabletop trees to Kroger in 2004.
Around that same time, he met Bonnie Dickens Bailey on AmericanSingles.com. Both divorcees each with two children and a dog, Tim and Bonnie had even more in common than they realized. It turned out that Tim was growing trees on Bonnie’s mother’s farmland! To say they were meant to be may be an understatement.
For Bonnie’s part, she never thought she would be a farmer’s wife. While she grew up spending summers at her grandparents’ house, working the fields, tending the garden, feeding the baby calves and sneaking around smoking dried tobacco with her cousins, her sights were set on the business world. And that’s where she went. The successful property management executive has spent her life creating meaningful experiences for residents and lucrative deals for clients. Starting as a leasing specialist, she has worked her way up to Director of Kane Residential with Kane Realty Corp. But when the opportunity arose to create a modern iteration of her family’s farm with the man of her dreams, it was exactly the kind of challenge she’d been waiting to pursue.
So, in 2006, Tim planted the first trees as the primary lessee of the remaining 120 acres in Laurel Springs. In 2007, Tim and Bonnie named their venture Shepherd’s Way Farms and opened their first retail lot in Raleigh so they could sell directly to their customers, which is the only way to make a living farming, and is the most fun way to do it, too.
In 2008, Tim and Bonnie brought their families together officially at their wedding in the mountains. And since then they have taken on all kinds of new challenges together, from adding in pumpkins as a rotational crop, trying their hand at produce and hemp, following their four childrens’ trials through college and adulthood, marriage and childbirth, and training the next generation about the satisfaction of watching things grow.
Ryan & Emily Moser with
the youngest member of the
Shepherd's Way Farms family, Thomas
A FAMILY AFFAIR
When Tim & Bonnie married, their combined family included two daughters (Dorothy Lou & Katie Bailey), two sons (Joseph & Ryan Moser) and two dogs (then: Pistol & Indie; now Tucker & Pepper). Since then, each and every Bailey-Moser kid has worked at the retail lots along with "adopted Mosers" Sydney Herakovich and Byron Mitchell, our lot managers. We don't know what we did before they came into our lives.
Beyond those folks, Sally lives at the farm, helping manage operations from the homestead there, as well as making 1,000 Christmas wreath bows per year and all the centerpieces we sell at our lots.
And countless uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, and neighbors help every year in planting, harvesting and overall growing of all of our products at Shepherd's Way Farms. We wouldn't have it any other way.