Meet the Modern Farmer: Eliza MacLean

Eliza MacLean of Cane Creek Farm in Saxapahaw, North Carolina.

Travis Dove

Cane Creek Farm
Saxapahaw, North Carolina

If Eliza MacLean were the type to keep a bucket list (she’s not), the 52-year-old would have already checked off these experiences: live with an Amish family in Pennsylvania, follow the Grateful Dead on tour, rehabilitate sea lions off the California coast, experiment with vegetarianism. Of the latter, she admits, “I wasn’t strict, more of a pepperoni vegetarian.” Which almost explains how MacLean wound up pasture-raising Ossabaw Island hogs, New Zealand Red Devon cattle, and mixed-breed lambs in North Carolina.

Even more remarkable, the mom of three landed on a way to wring a living from her 38 acres. By helping farmhand Ross Andrew Flynn launch hip Left Bank Butchery, she created a retail outlet for her meat while also drawing tourists from Greensboro and Raleigh.

The influx of visitors has opened up yet another revenue stream for MacLean, who manages several quirky Airbnb rentals, including a creekside yurt and a trippy purple bus, on her property. “My small farm’s staying alive because the butcher shop has become the hopping-est little place.

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Meet the Modern Farmer: Eliza MacLean