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 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

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    7:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Skidaway Island

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    8:00 AM - 10:00 PM @ Savannah

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Scenes of the South

March of Dimes Shamrock Run

The Savannah community laced up their shoes and kicked off St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Savannah by joining the 24th annual March of Dimes Shamrock Run 5K! Everyone was wearing a costume and even brought out four-legged friends! 100% of the proceeds from the run benefited the mission of the March of Dimes to improve the health of babies through programs of research, community services, education and advocacy.

Greening of the Fountain at Forsyth Park

Hundreds turned out to Forsyth Park on Friday, March 10 to witness the annual Greening of the Fountain event hosted by the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Committee. Conducted for more than thirty years, this popular celebration signals the official kick-off to the Saint Patrick's Day Festivities in Savannah, attracting locals and visitors from around the world to watch the green dye being poured into the historic fountain.

Telfair Modern Lights Ball

This past Saturday, February 25th, guests joined Telfair Museums for their 37th Annual Telfair Ball! The event highlighted Savannah’s social scene, the Telfair Ball was open to Director’s Circle members, and all proceeds benefited Telfair’s exceptional exhibitions, educational programs, and art acquisitions. Guests enjoyed lavish cocktails, live music, exciting auctions, and dazzling lightshows as this illustrious annual gala celebrated Telfair’s vibrant history and supported the future of art and creativity in Savannah.

100 Miles Grand Opening

One Hundred Miles is a nonprofit coastal advocacy organization focused on preserving, protecting and enhancing the 100-mile coast of Georgia. Founded in Brunswick, the group is now expanding to Savannah. This grand opening was free and open to the public, offering food, drinks and live music by Cory Chambers of City Hotel.

Savannah Riverboat 25th Anniversary Cruise

Savannah is a river town, so what better way to get an overview of her harbor and port than to cruise with Savannah Riverboat Cruises? Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the towering red, white and blue traditional riverboats; the Savannah River Queen and Georgia Queen, both dock near the place where General Oglethorpe himself is thought to have landed. With years of experience in the maritime and hospitality industry, owner Captain Jonathan Claughton and his team focus on providing guests with the most unique tours and dining experiences with first-class service!

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.