Bone broth shops are popping up in large cities. The age-old food has become a popular part of many health-conscious diets thanks to its reputation for supporting the immune system, promoting sleep, improving joint health, and aiding digestion.

Linda Maggio, owner of S and L Farm in Louisburg, makes bone broth and sells it at the North Hills Famers’ Market alongside her lamb, chicken, eggs, jams, and jellies. When North Hills Live caught up with her on a recent Saturday morning, she shared why she became a farmer and what led her to make bone broth.

NHL: Why did you start making bone broth?

Linda Maggio: Chicken is my number one product and of course we raise our birds free range, and process our meat, and cut them up into boneless breasts and thighs. I felt bad that so much of the chicken was going to waste. Boneless breasts are our most popular cut, and there was all that meat still attached to the bone that was getting thrown away. So, I looked into making bone broth to use what was left. I heard that the general health benefits were good, and one of my very first customers told me that she uses it as a supplement rather than as a gourmet item. She is still a customer, and she is coming to pick up broth today.

NHL: Do most of your customers buy your bone broth for health benefits or to make soup?

LM: About half the people buy it for health benefits and the other half of the people buy it for cooking. Soup customers, that’s where my flavors come in. I use local vegetables and herbs I buy here at the market. I have made chicken bone broth with shishito peppers and lemon. I have done it with turmeric and ginger. I think a little later this summer I am going to do a chicken tomato.

NHL: Can I make bone broth at home?

LM: Yes, there are lots of recipes available, but when the customer buys bone-in chicken they are not getting a lot of the bones—including the feet. I can make a great broth because of the bones and meat I have.

NHL: How does the sale of your bone broth stack up against the chicken, lamb, eggs, and jams you sell?

LM: The chicken and lamb are my market, but the bone broth is a value add. Every year I sell a little bit more bone broth as people try it, and they like it, and they hear about the health benefits of it. I don’t have employees, I am a one-woman show; I do it all myself. I get help from my son and my husband, but they both have full-time jobs, and they are not on the farm during the day. As a small famer, I am limited with how much I can produce the way I want to produce it, so every little bit helps. The bone broth has been good for that.

NHL: Has making bone broth cut down on waste?

LM: Yes, now the only thing I throw away from a chicken carcass is the skin, and I just happened to talk to a customer who told me about a restaurant that might be interested in making cracklings from the chicken skin, which would be awesome! Then I would be 100 percent utilizing the entire chicken.

North Hills Live: What attracted you to the North Hills Farmers’ Market?

LM: I am a founding vendor at this market and I was just starting out (farming) when the North Hills market began. I only had chicken and eggs—and a few vegetables back then—and all the other markets were flooded with eggs. When I had the opportunity to start as a chicken and egg vendor at a new market I jumped at it and I have been here ever since.

NHL: What are some of the things you like about the North Hills market?

LM: I love the clientele, the people are fabulous, the location is good, and I have become friends with the other vendors. It’s a huge plus that North Hills provides the tents. Not having to bring that along with everything else makes a big difference.

NHL: How did you decide to become a farmer?

LM: I owned a boarding kennel in New Jersey and when we moved down here I thought I would do the same thing. But we bought property in Franklin County and we had all this space and freedom, so I decided to get some chickens. I became fascinated with them and it snowballed from there.