Our Journey Begins

Highland Beef Farms emerged from the dream of a newly married couple, Patricia and Jay Hersch, working and living in Washington, DC in the late sixties.  Just out of grad school, filled with Big Ideas, we wanted to be more than urban dwellers and were motivated by a strong desire to blend a balanced lifestyle with a viable responsible business.

Our initial love of the land grew out of Jay’s Peace Corps experience working with rural farmers in Colombia.  Supplied with backpacks and two sleeping bags, we began an adventure searching for property we could call our own and the opportunity to build something together.

We Start Our Farm in Highland County

We explored an area in a four-hour radius of DC for several years until finally a Maple Sugar Festival led us to Highland County, called “Virginia’s Little Switzerland” because of its narrow valleys nestled among numerous ridges of the Appalachian Mountains.  Awestruck, we knew immediately this was it.  Within a year, we bought a farm, pitched our tent, and began a cattle operation.  Our business had begun.

Long before “natural beef” became a hot supermarket item, we began a breeding program developing an antibiotic-free, lower fat beef.  Under the label, All Natural Virginia Mountain Grown Beef, we successfully marketed to a small number of grocery stores and restaurants in the DC area.

Our HBF Family Grows

Now living in Northern Virginia, our family grew to include three sons and two Huskies.  The rhythm of our lives became a combination of life on the farm with all its chores and typical suburbia with soccer games, homework and sleepovers.

As HBF developed, we took our commitment to lean and healthy fresh beef and moved with the growing trend to “eat on the run.”  We began developing high quality, nutritious shelf-stable meat and cheese snacks and the ability to sell to larger markets: government institutions, the military and warehouse stores.


As demand grows to include corporations, wilderness camps, feeding programs and schools, HBF continues to evolve to keep pace with the changing tastes and nutritional needs of America’s snacking public, creating and delivering the best, most distinctive choices for all people, young and old, looking for delicious, satisfying shelf-stable snacks.