Where's the Beef?



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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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South's Greatest Photographers of 2017 Winners

Check out this issue's South Greatest photography winners. South celebrates these creative photographers.

South's Greatest Dads 2017

Nominate your dad for the South's Greatest Dads contest! Winners will be featured in a photo spread for South's June/July issue!
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Events Calendar

  • Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival

    Feb 20, 2017
    11:30 AM - 11:30 AM @ Hilton Head Island

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    Feb 01, 2017
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  • A State of Innovation: The Founding

    Feb 01, 2017
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Georgia Historical Society

    Visit the Georgia Historical Society Research Center during regular business hours, February 1 through 28, to see “A State of Innovation: The...

  • Girls Night Out: “A Streetcar Named Desire”

    Feb 23, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    We’re all things NOLA this week! So, gals, make your way over to the Post for Elia Kazan’s steamy 1951 film classic, “A Streetcar Named...

  • Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

    Feb 06, 2017
    All Day @ Various venues in Amelia Island.

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  • Thomasville Antiques Show and Sale

    Feb 24, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Thomasville Exchange Club Fairgrounds

    The Thomasville Antiques Show Committee is pleased to present thirty of the country’s most prestigious dealers who will offer the opportunity to...

  • Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Pancake Breakfast

    Feb 25, 2017
    7:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church

    The Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Island announces the annual Pancake Breakfast to be held Saturday, February 25. From 7 a.m. until 11 a.m., at Skidaway...

  • A-Town Get Down Festival Countdown Kickoff at Service Brewing

    Feb 25, 2017
    1:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Service Brewing

    Join A-Town Get Down on February 25th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Service Brewing as they kick-off the one-month countdown to the 2017...

  • The Fabulous Krewe of Equinox Mardi Gras

    Feb 25, 2017
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    We turn the Type Post Theater into NOLA for a Mardi Gras celebration to remember! The nationally acclaimed big band, The Fabulous Equinox...

  • Rockin' Road To Dublin

    Feb 26, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Warner Theatre

    Following sell-out shows in the Northeast, Rockin' Road To Dublin is coming to Savannah on their 2017 national tour! Come see the show that Irish...

  • Collin's Barefoot Comedy Club

    Feb 26, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    National headline comedian Collin Moulton's monthly stand-up comedy show always features his own brand of hilarious and family-friendly comedy, a...

  • Thomasville Entertainment Foundation Presents Apollo’s Fire

    Feb 28, 2017
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ Thomasville Center for the Arts

    Sorrell’s celebrated Cleveland Baroque Orchestra sets the stage aflame with a lively evening of music Bach and his friends might have played...

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    Mar 03, 2017
    9:00 AM - 9:00 PM @ Savannah Tech

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  • From the Hand Exhibition

    Mar 03, 2017
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Welmont

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    Mar 04, 2017
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  • “Mark Twain and Mr. Clements, Tonight!”

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    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

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  • Hilton Head Island’s Wine & Food Festival

    Mar 06, 2017
    12:00 AM - 12:00 AM @ Sea Pines Restort

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    Mar 07, 2017
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  • An Evening With Devon Allman

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Scenes of the South

Jalapeños Grand Opening

There are Jalapeños Mexican Grills all over the Savannah and Pooler area, but now we have our very own right in our backyard! On Wednesday, February 22 Jalapeños celebrated the Grand Opening of their seventh location here in Downtown Savannah on Broughton Street. The staff rang in their new restaurant along with its crowd by cranking out $1 tacos and pouring $1 beers all night. Jalapeños is known for its authentic Mexican cuisine and has been voted Best Mexican Restaurant. Make sure to drop in at any one of their seven locations to enjoy the true taste of Mexico!

Color Vibe 5k

I hope you didn't miss out on on your chance to participate in the happiest 5k on the planet, but, if you did, check out the scenes gallery from this colorful event that is taking the country by color storm! Hundreds of happy souls came out to the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center early in the morning on February 18 to upgrade their normal 5k to this technicolor 5k. Throughout the race runners were blasted with vibrant pigments at every color station along the course. You could feel the aura in the air; there was no question as to why this 5k claimed the name "The Happiest 5k on the Planet". Color Vibe is already selling tickets for their next race, so go to Color Vibe 5k Run to register today!

Soup It Up For Loop It Up Savannah

For almost a decade Loop It Up Savannah has been seamlessly weaving its way through the often hardened exterior of community driven public works projects, evolving into something more akin to a necessity than just a volunteer after school program. The Soup It Up for Loop It Up event on Friday February 17th, 2017 marks the first year of their signature fundraising event, in which local chefs competed for the title of the Golden Soup Bowl while generously raising funds to support Loop It Up Savannah’s programming for local youth and services to local families. “We have so many wonderful partnerships throughout the city that allow us to work with thousands of amazing children and families every year,” affirms Loop It Up's Molly Liberman. “Savannah has really embraced and supported us to grow into the organization we are proud to be --- through partnerships, volunteers and an amazingly generous base of donors.” Still, she persists, there is a lot of growing planned for Loop It Up in 2017. Liberman plans to extend programs into the City Of Savannah Community Centers as well as the Public Library. Adds Liberman, “We are also moving into a new space which will allow us to eventually offer onsite programming. Our goal is to deepen and widen our presence throughout the city. We believe that art and opportunity for bold self expression should be everywhere! Savannah is fortunate to have so many community centers and organizations, and we are proud to bring art into as many of them as we possibly can!”

Savannah Book Festival Opening Author's Party

The Savannah Book Festival Inc. (SBF) is an independent, nonprofit corporation led by a volunteer board of directors. SBF hosts best-selling and emerging authors in special events throughout the year, including a four-day Presidents Day weekend event that features talks by dozens of authors. The Savannah Book Festival is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with a record number of 40 authors scheduled to attend this year's festival starting on Saturday, February 18, which is free and open to the public. Taking place in seven venues around Telfair, Chippewa and Wright Squares, over 10,000 people are estimated to come to hear these well-regarded authors and fascinating new writers talk about their books this year. The opening Authors Party on Friday night at Jenn Library was a private shindig with some of the prominent authors of this year's festival in attendance.

Hearts for Healing Gala 2017

To continue its incredible mission and also celebrate its tenth anniversary, the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center hosted the Hearts for Healing Gala to raise money for its programming on Tuesday, February 14, at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel on Tybee Island. A silent auction with an assortment of high-end items started off the Valentine’s Day evening and was followed by dinner and dancing to live music from the John Brackett Quartet. The Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, an incredible non-profit organization that was founded to improve the quality of children with special needs through the therapeutic nature of horses. Therapeutic riding courses and an equestrian program in partnership with local schools helps special needs children develop social and physical skills while having a great time too.

'Love the Wine You're With' February

South magazine and 39 Rue De Jean present a new, monthly power networking event that will take place the third Wednesday of each month. Free to attend, guests will enjoy $7 glasses of select regional wine and delicious passed appetizer's while networking and raising funds to benefit the featured charity of the month. Each month, a different local charity will offer a silent auction, raffle or fun game to help raise awareness and money, in addition, $1 from each glass of select wine purchased during the event will go to benefit the non-profit. (Happy hour prices are also available at the full bar.) Proceeds from the February event will benefit Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia - A positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade, who teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games.

Georgia Day Parade February 2017

On Friday, February 10th, thousands of costumed local elementary school children marched behind student-made banners in commemoration of Georgia’s founding in 1733. This colorful parade of students, local dignitaries, costumed characters, musicians, and military color guard began at Forsyth Park and ended with a program in front of City Hall, where the mayor and other officials provided greetings and awards to be presented for the annual Banner Competition. This annual event is a tradition dating back to the earliest years of the colony’s founding, and is hosted by the Georgia Historical Society and is free and open to the public.

May Howard Sweetheart Dance

On Friday, February 10th, students, parents, and families came out for the May Howard Sweetheart Dance. The Sweetheart Dance provides an opportunity for all parents and children to make a special Valentine memory together. Click below to see more from the fun-filled event.

Tequila's Town Cover Release Party in Sandfly

On Thursday, February 9th, guests came out to Sandlfy to celebrate with Tequila's Town CEO Temo Ortiz at the release of the company's first magazine cover feature in our very own South magazine! Temo was also featured in an exclusive interview in our latest February/March issue on stands now! The party started with 2$ Dos Equis drafts, BOGO margaritas and 2$ off Tequila's Town famous table side guacamole. The event took place at Tequila's Town Sandfly location at 7360 Skidaway Road, Savannah, GA. The South magazine crew was there to show our support and provide magazine to guests at the opening.

Gray's Reef Film Festival Founders Party

The 2017 Gray's Reef Film Festival had an exclusive kick-off event on Thursday, February 2nd with a VIP Founders' Party at 24e Design Co. with food by Thrive Catering Savannah, delicious drinks offered by Savannah Distributing Co., and an exclusive audience of viewers that were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of what the festival has in store this year! The event offered a 3D experience for participants called 'Beyond 3D: Dive Our Amazing Reef Without Getting Wet!' that allowed viewers to step inside the reef and explore everything it has to offer. Donations made during the event benefit the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and all the amazing work that they do for our coast! Don't forget to attend the rest of the film festival on Saturday, February 4th and Sunday, February 5th!