Where's the Beef?


Take Highway 80 West out of Savannah and drive until the strip malls and gas stations begin to fade. Keep going until the houses become fewer and the world becomes overwhelmingly green. After an hour, ease off of the highway and take a pasture-lined county road to the Hunter Cattle Company, home of some of the South’s finest beef, pork and poultry. There’s a sign, of course, but you’ll know you are there when the hum of traffic gives way to the buzz of cicadas, a farmhouse and a small country store with an old pickup truck in front. “That was my granddaddy’s truck, a 1954 Ford,” says Hunter Cattle Company owner and operator Del Ferguson. Ferguson also mentions that the gravel road that runs between the store and some of his pastureland was once the main highway through the area. Though much has changed in the world since those days, Ferguson works hard to honor that tradition. “We wanted to be as natural as an old farm,” says Ferguson, who adds with a laugh that he does compromise when it comes to using a tractor over a horse drawn plow.

A true family operation, Ferguson has run the farm since 2003 with his wife, Debra, their youngest son, Hunter, their oldest son, Anthony, and daughter, Kristen, who also live and work on the farm with families of their own. For Ferguson, who was raised on a small family farm in Appling County, Georgia, Hunter Cattle Company represents the realization of a lifelong dream. After 25 years of operating his own business in the Savannah area, Ferguson, along with his family, began the farm with the goal of raising quality animals. “We try to do it like it was a hundred years ago,” says Ferguson, who was inspired to pursue an all-natural, grass-fed, free-range approach to farming after his wife read about the health benefits associated with eating meat from naturally raised animals. Hunter Cattle Company, and several other local farmers with whom they partner, operates under the guidelines of the American Grassfed Association and the organization Animal Welfare Approved. Under these guidelines, all the animals on the farm—pigs, chickens, cows, or even the turkeys currently being raised for Thanksgiving—receive no growth hormones, antibiotics or processed grains, and are free to move throughout the pasture. According to the American Grassfed Association, some of the health benefits of grass-fed beef include higher contents of Vitamin A, CLAs, Omega-3 fatty acids and a dramatically lower risk of E. coli. As Ferguson puts it, “It’s better for the animals; it’s healthier for us as far as consuming it; and it’s better for the environment and the land.” But for Ferguson, the benefits are endless. “People have a disconnect with their life and where their food is coming from,” says Ferguson. “Part of my job is trying to educate people about where their food comes from and why it should be done the natural way.” And to that end, the Fergusons love visitors and host events throughout the year, such as Farm Day tours during summer months and a true Southern farm supper each spring and fall. “We’ve got some people that come out here and they just sit on the porch, and I don’t even ask them if they want to buy anything,” says Ferguson. In the small office of the farm’s country store, Ferguson beams with genuine satisfaction as a voicemail plays and the speaker relays how much a recent customer enjoyed some steaks. “Now that makes it worth it right there” says Ferguson enthusiastically. “Even if we aren’t getting rich, it don’t matter if we are able to do it for those people.” While the Fergusons make their meats available to Coastal Georgia through a variety of venues, from farmers markets like the one in Forsyth Park to some of Savannah’s most popular restaurants like Green Truck Pub to stores like Brighter Day Natural Foods, it is worth it to take the opportunity to see life out at Hunter Cattle Company—even if you just need a quiet porch to sit on for a while.

WRITTEN BY Mike Kelly 

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Events Calendar

  • Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

    Oct 13, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

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  • Paul Stephen Benjamin: Reinterpreting the Sound of Blackness

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Paul Stephen Benjamin (American, b. 1966) is a conceptual artist whose work is a meditation on the color black, specifically as an entry point into...

  • Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Islands Series, 1991-1992

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

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  • Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out

    Mar 03, 2018
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  • Whiskey Wednesday

    Mar 21, 2018
    5:30 PM @ 39 Rue de Jean

    South Magazine, Ghost Coast Distillery, and 39 Rue de Jean  host an evening of power networking and fundraising, on the third...

  • Taizé services

    Feb 28, 2018
    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church

    Taizé worship is peaceful and reverent. Attendees will focus on silence, breathing, healing, prayer and reflection. Reverend Billy Hester will...

  • Rotary Read In

    Mar 22, 2018
    9:00 AM - 10:30 AM @ Savannah Chatham County Public School System

    Several Rotary clubs and community volunteers in the greater Savannah area will host the inaugural Rotary Read-In on Thursday, March 22, from 9...

  • BURST into Bloom Opening Party

    Mar 22, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    Join us for an opening night reception at the Telfair Academy and view the art and beautiful floral arrangements by local floral artists while...

  • BURST into Bloom - Telfair in Bloom

    Mar 22, 2018
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    Celebrate springtime with cocktails & lite bites at the Telfair Academy amongst floral creations complimenting the Telfair's Scenic Impressions...

  • BURST into Bloom Opening Party

    Mar 22, 2018
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    View the art and beautiful floral arrangements by local floral artists while enjoying cocktails and lite bites at this amazing opening...

  • Anything Flows Yoga Class

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM @ Dragon Dance Yoga

    7 pm Anything Flows Yoga Class Walk in rate: $14 Dragon Dance Yoga This class will take you beyond your comfort zone while still...

  • Telfair in Bloom

    Mar 23, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    Telfair Academy Guild presents Telfair in Bloom 2018, a vibrant festival of art and flowers featuring work by local designers. Telfair in Bloom...

  • Telfair in Bloom Lecture and Luncheon with Sybil Sylvester

    Mar 23, 2018
    10:30 AM - 1:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Popular Southern floral artist Sybil Brooke Sylvester is the owner of Wildflower Designs in Birmingham, Alabama, a “creative think tank” for...

  • Willy Russell's Shirely Valentine

    Mar 23, 2018
    7:30 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    A bored English housewife, wondering what her life is about and how to navigate around her clueless husband, Shirley would be at her wits'...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater presents Breathe

    Mar 23, 2018
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    Brennen, just wanted to be normal. The only problem: the fatal lung disease, Cystic Fibrosis. The only solution: a double lung transplant....

  • Savannah Community Theatre and Tybee Post Theater present “Shirley Valentine”

    Mar 24, 2018
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  • Flannery O'Connor Birthday Parade/Street Fair

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  • The Savannah Golf Championship

    Mar 26, 2018
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  • PGA Hyatt Pro-AM Pairings Party

    Mar 27, 2018
    5:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Savannah Hyatt

  • Savannah Music Festival

    Mar 29, 2018
    All Day

    This two week festival is not only the largest musical arts event in the state of Georgia, it is also one of the most distinctive and celebrated...

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Scenes of the South

Celtic Cross Ceremony

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