South Ga. store owner supports local farmers and butchers

Farmer and supplier Parrish Akins says supporting local farmers helps keep the economy booming in the local community.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 7:35 PM EDT
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SPARKS, Ga. (WALB) - From farm to table, that’s always a big hit in the South and that’s part of the lure of a new meat store in Sparks.

This local store owner is supporting other farmers and butchers from around South Georgia.

Sparks Meat and More is the first locally owned and operated meat store in Sparks. Owner Keith Stone says that he loves to support local farmers and have fresh meat to provide to the public.

“People were begging us to come up to the Sparks-Lenox area, because it’s a food dessert. We looked at the area and found that Sparks needed somewhere to get good quality food,” Stone said.

Stone supports other local farmers from Cook County, Berrien County and Tift County where the animals are raised.

“We purchase beef locally, so it’s farm fresh local grown meat. Dan Forth and ACE, they also do their own processing that’s also processed here locally, either it’s in Pitts, Georgia or over near Thomasville,” Stone said.

Not only does this store sell locally grown meat, but they also sell locally made honey, too.

“People that have bad allergies, you take a little bit of honey and eat it, but if you get local honey, it helps you fight local allergies,” Stone said.

Farmer and supplier Parrish Akins says supporting local farmers helps keep the economy booming in the local community.

“All of the money and revenue stays local,” Akins said.

Sparks Meat and More has been operating for one month, and customer Will Pewee says he loves shopping at the store instead of having to go out of town to get meat.

“The taste is good, and my nieces and nephews like it too,” Pewee says.

A South Georgia farmer who is raising cattle in Nashville is now supplying that produce to a farm-to-meat store in Sparks and says has the benefits of having locally reared meat on your dinner tables.

“These are the bulls that we use to produce our calves here at ACE Beef,” Akins said.

Akins says one of the benefits of having locally grown cattle is source verification, which means they know the genetics of the cow and that includes the age, mother and sire.

“The tag has three lines of characters. The top line would be to identify the sire or the bull. The middle number or letters would represent the dam or the mother of this animal. And the bottom line would represent the calf itself with the first number representing the year that this animal was born,” Akins said.

Right now, the bulls are separated from the mothers. According to Akins, that’s to hold off on mating season.

“We try to predominately calve in the fall so our calve should be and have the best nutrition. Our calving day will start pretty close to September 1st and we’ll calve from September 1st to January,” Akins says.

Not all the cows on the farm are black. Akins also has two red-horned Hereford bulls which create a healthier form of cattle to eat, as these types of cows don’t eat grains, instead, they eat the freshest countryside grass.

“We use a cross-breed system on some. Predominately we are Angus-based but we do use these Hereford on some to produce a different breed of momma cow,” Akins said. “We know what they’ve been fed, we know the genetics behind them, what they’re capable of producing, where they’re harvested, where they’re processed. We know 100% of their history.”

That’s why this farmer is encouraging locals to shop locally. ACE Beef is located in Nashville, Georgia.