SAVANNAH RIVER FARMS
At the intersection where art meets food, Savannah River Farms puts culture and tradition back into our meats. They’ve taught themselves to go back in charcuterie time, to cure and smoke and salt and ferment like your grandparents’ grandparents did. Add this to the beautiful woods and pastures in which their animals forage, and you end up with a delicious history lesson on your plate every time.
The 30+-year marriage of farmers Ben & Kellie Deen represent that time-tested love story of Country Boy meets City Girl. Funny thing is, it’s the city girl who trained herself – by YouTube, she swears – to make some of the highest quality artesian sausages in Georgia. Chorizo, Sweet Italian, Smoked Andouille, Pancetta, Brats: theirs is a veritable feast of European ancestry. Kellie says her next challenge is to “practice prosciutto,” a science of patience, and of getting the humidity just right. Savannah River Farm also raises beef, chicken and eggs, and they’re trying their hand at turkey this year, though the challenges of raising said birds are many. Mostly what these farmers raise is goodwill among their devoted customers. Mix Ben’s downhome proclivity for silly jokes, puns, contests and bags-o-meat prizes with Kellie’s business acumen and artistry, and you’ve got the recipe for a very loyal following.
Located on 100 acres, just a hopskip from the Savannah River in Sylvania, GA, this is a true family affair. Kellie and Ben work side-by-side with their son Benjamin and his wife Ashley, while a third generation – all grandbaby boys – is being born and raised in the midst of it all. It won’t be long before these tots are thrown into the mix of farmhands, taking the enterprise into its future.
With the explosion of popularity for their handcrafted products, Savannah River Farm has had to get savvy fast with the information age. Check out their new website at www.savannahriverfarmers.com.
Just a few years ago, the Deens invested their hard-made earnings to build a USDA-certified, Animal Welfare Approved abattoir right on their farm. It is one of only two in the whole state. “We do this so our animals never have to travel or experience the stress of being handled by people they don’t know,” says Kellie. Savannah River Farm doesn’t use preventative antibiotics or artificial hormones; instead, they allow their animals to grass graze and wild forage, supplemented with all-natural, non-GMO feed that they grow, roast and mill themselves.