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Hunter Cattle's protein paradise

SAVANNAH has been having a resurgence of small, local, family owned businesses that specialize in providing niche products and services to our community. We are fortunate to be on the precipice of a huge shift in consciousness, and capitalism seems as if it is transitioning along with it.

We’ve gotten so far away from how these systems were designed to function, that we might even be a little shocked when we see how well things work when we don’t mess with them. When large corporations are not making the decisions that will influence generations of people we, as a collective, can make wiser big picture decisions, instead of being force fed the “processed” information that we have been given.

Education and awareness are the keys to breaking the binds, but not everyone is born with the same opportunities. The system is rigged, especially for low income families who do not have the resources to make those impactful choices; which increases the value for those who do, to make sound choices.

We have to help the person next to us become more aware, so that we can continue to strengthen and fight back. It starts with food, which is at the core of our existence as human beings. Food paints the pictures of our past, present, and can see into the future.

As we transition further into emerging face of our massive food industry, it is important for us to remember how things were before the industrial revolution issued in a wave of processed food. A time when we had relationships with the ingredients we used, which increased its value, and forced us to honor every flavor.

That is why local farms are so important to our awareness and growth. If we can’t see where our food is coming from and the intention put behind growing it, how will we learn to the respect the food we are eating? How can expect our bodies to perform to the max, if we aren’t aware of what we are putting into them?

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

And the same goes for the flip side, when we think about those huge processing and manufacturing warehouses that handle the majority of the food on the shelves today.

Do you think if you were able to watch the process and intention behind how our food is packaged that we would feel the same about putting it in our bodies? We are so detached from this phase of reality, that most of us look as if we are sleepwalking, dehydrated and overdosing on sugar.

So we decided to take a drive right outside of Statesboro, in order to get some insight on how Hunter Cattle Co., one of the largest and most respected farms in the southeast handles their role in our food cycle.

Hunter Cattle is run by one of the most genuine and grounded families I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. We got the opportunity to have a personal tour around their 400-plus acre farm, and caught a glimpse at how life on a farm like this would feel.

Our tour was led by Kristan Fretwell, daughter, mother, and do-it-aller of this massive farm, and her oldest son Treylor. She sheds the perfect amount of light on how something like this could come together, and work so symbiotically.

“This place originally was built to in sustain any natural disaster, and for our family to be able to survive off of the land. And as the recession hit us in 2008, we began to focus more and more of our attention towards the farm, and through necessity paired with word of mouth, we are here today,” Kristan says.

“We run a true family farm, where everyone serves a purpose, and everyone pitches in.”

She is telling the truth too, because whether you were the oldest or one of the youngest, you a had responsibility. Bookkeeping, cooking, cleaning, processing, and even gate opener; everyone has a job.

“I find that the more involved children are with their food, the more open they become to trying new things” Kristan explains. “And they can learn first hand how each aspect of the farm works with and for each other.”

Watching how these pieces work together on a large scale is a beautiful thing to see, and just like the family, every piece has a job. The most interesting part of their story is the fact that this family didn’t have the agricultural knowledge most would need in the early stages of their farm.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

Fortunately for them, they had knowledgeable neighbors, each with a specific area of study, that allowed all the pieces to truly come together. From a neighboring meat scientist, to a long time pig farmer, all of the pieces Hunter Cattle needed were within arms reach. “We like to say our success has come from good book, good neighbors, and the good lord,” Kristan says.

Now Hunter Cattle has grown into a nationally renowned farm that has won awards for the best meat in Georgia. Their animals receive no added growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics, and are not forced into feedlots or cages; as they are one of the few farms that in the area that are Animal Welfare Certified.

They are official providers for the National League Miami Marlins, as they continue to extend their reach. In addition to their product they host events, they have a bed and breakfast, and give public and private educational tours of their farm.

If you’ve never seen a farm before, or it’s been a while, take a trip. It is important for us to bring ourselves back into the frame when it comes to our food and where it is coming from.

Understanding how vital of a role farms play in our growth and development, is the key to getting a broader understanding of how far away our society is now.

If we support local, we place the power in our hands. Let’s keep stirring that pot, people.