Hunter Cattle Co.’s annual Fall Farm Day is back bigger and better, with a new name — Farm Heritage Day — and an expanded itinerary full of fun and education to celebrate sustainable living.
We chatted with Kristan Fretwell about her family’s farm, this special day and what the event means to her parents and siblings, who together work hard to make Hunter Cattle Company a Georgia business in which their family can take pride.
How did the idea for the Farm Heritage Day come about?
Fretwell: For the past three years, Hunter Cattle has enjoyed opening up our farm to our friends to come out for a great day of fun. Most people never have an opportunity to experience a farm firsthand, so we offered an up-close experience called Fall Farm Day.
As many people may know, our farm is deeply committed to educating people about good farming practices. There is such a rich history of farming in Georgia, so we decided to expand our event into a greater educational experience by including artisans and craftsmen of days gone by.
Fortunately, in our area we still have a few great men and women who diligently work to keep different segments of our farming heritage from dying away. So we decided to spotlight these important parts of our farming heritage.
Why do you feel it’s an important event to hold at your farm?
The foundation of our farm is to produce healthy and humanely raised beef, pork, lamb and poultry.
We feel that while we showcase the surrounding farms and craftsmen, we are also able to showcase what we do here at Hunter Cattle.
What a better way to connect with everyone than to have a wonderful, fun-filled and educational day on the farm?
Lots of the restaurants that use your meats will have their chefs on hand. How have you developed these relationships?
There are so many great chefs in our area that really love and support what Hunter Cattle is doing.
Some support us because of how we humanely treat our animals without giving them antibiotics or hormones, nor raising them in cages.
Some love us because they want to support a local farm instead of getting food raised half a world away in crowded feedlots. The relationships we have with chefs, restaurant owners and workers, are like we are all family, working to achieve a common goal.
They see the need for sustainable farming practices, and want to press towards that goal alongside us. Grass-fed beef is not as easy to prepare as grain-fed.
But because of customers that want the healthier benefits of grass-fed beef, more and more chefs are committed to offering a grass-fed option on their menu.
What are three things you attribute to Hunter Cattle’s success?
God, good books and good helpers. We would not be able to do what we do without the Lord’s hand guiding us through every endeavor, even when things are tough. Reading good books has increased our knowledge on how we should do things right!
We started this farm with little knowledge on how to run it, but the wisdom and love we have gleaned from helpers and neighbors have impacted our lives more than we can even recognize.
One of our neighbors, who have given so much time to us, even came out in the middle of the night to help us deliver a calf from a cow that was in dire straits.
All in all, when you do things the way they are meant to be done, loyal customers recognize that and keep coming back!
Why do people love coming out to your farm?
People tell us they feel at peace while on the farm.
Very often, when people visit MooMa’s Farmstore, they don’t leave without sitting on the porch or wandering around, taking in the sites.
People take in the nostalgic feeling and also desire for their children to have a part of it. We see the support from our customers that approve of what we are doing out here and long to reinforce purpose.
What can people who come expect?
Live music, a taste of the best foods from our area and a learning experience about real farming with heritage farm tradition demonstrations.
People may not know that Bulloch County has a 100-year-old granite stone mill making real grits and cornmeal by the Freeman family. Or that men like Paul Thompson are keeping the craft of blacksmithing alive.
Local honey producer B & G Honey (Farm) may explain that it takes 36 bees their entire lives to produce one tablespoon of honey.
And our farm will explain, among other things, why pastured chickens produce healthy eggs.
What other events do you have in store?
Our annual HC Campout is coming up on Nov. 15-16. At this event, our guests bring their tents, and we feed them dinner and breakfast, take them on a wagon ride, have s’mores, go for a moonlight trail walk, singing around the campfire and more!
RSVP is required and info is available on our website.
We will continue to offer educational tours from preschool age to universities and tourism/family groups. We’ll also continue in our Authentic Farm Experience with our barn lofts.
Our next venture is to expand into cooking and canning classes here at MooMa’s kitchen that will spotlight a surrounding farmer.
So for example, if a farmer has tomatoes in season, we will have a night teaching about and actually canning tomatoes.
By the end of the session, everyone will take home a nutritious, yummy canned product!
IF YOU GO
What: Farm Heritage Day
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21 2013
Where: Hunter Cattle Company, 934 Driggers Road, Brooklet
Cost: Pre-sale tickets are $5 per person/$25 per family; day-of tickets are $7 per person/$35 per family
Contact: www.huntercattle.com or 912-823-2333