A Brief History of Father's Country Hams

Picture of Farm

It’s no doubt that Father's Country Hams are a Kentucky Tradition. Cured on our family farm in Bremen, Kentucky, our gourmet meat products are truly "Kentucky's Finest Eating." We know that our products are excellent because we've cured them the same way for generations; it’s a family tradition you can surely taste!

The story of Father's County Hams began over a century-and-a-half ago —in 1840— when the great, great grandparents of Charles Gatton Sr. began farming this land. Fast-forward 76 years later and that’s when Charles Gatton Sr. was born right here on the family farm. It would be the same farm Charles would call “home” for the majority of his life; that is—until he graduated from the University of Kentucky School of Agriculture in 1938. Charles then spent the following 5 years in Hancock County where he taught vocational agriculture, and provided veterans training. It was during this time that the idea for a ham business came to fruition.

In 1943, Charles and his bride, Lorene, returned to the family farm after the passing of his mother. He continued teaching veterans training, and in 1945, Charles and one of his students decided to attempt curing hams. They bought 200 hams and put them up in a smokehouse. All was going according to plan—until the weather took a nasty turn. The rain poured, and the water rose to the point that the levee broke, and his entire experiment was washed down the Green River. Despite the failed attempt, Charles still wanted to cure hams.

Charles continued to persevere, and attempted the process again in 1950; this time, the results were much more successful. He began to furnish hams for the restaurants in the area, and the yet unformed business began to take shape. In 1959 Charles' younger brother, Bill, finally convinced him to start the business in earnest. The brothers named the company Father's Country Hams in tribute to their father, Harry Gatton Sr.

On June 3, 2000, Charles Gatton Sr. passed away after suffering a stroke; he was making a delivery of hams in Louisville, KY, at the time. He left a legacy of achievements, both business and humanitarian. It is in his honor that his son, Charles Gatton Jr. (or “Charlie” as most people know him), continues the tradition of Father's Country Hams.

Charlie has been curing hams since 1962, and considers it a family art. Furthermore, most folks would agree that when it comes to country cured meats and gourmet foods, Charlie is truly an artist.

Charlie genuinely believes that the business is a living tribute to his father, Charles Gatton Sr., and he continues to honor his father’s legacy by consistently producing the finest quality gourmet foods and country cured meats right here on the family farm — the old country way!