The Key Family purchased the current homeplace and acreage in the mid 1970’s as a place to raise their family. The original farmhouse burned down many years ago, and today the second and third generation of Keys are farming the land along with 350 surrounding or nearby additional acres. David grew up on the farm, helping his father raise cattle, and when the farm was left to him when his father passed away, there was no doubt it was where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Cattle farming has always been a labor of love, at times stressful, but all the time, rewarding.
By 2022, David & Allison had established other careers as a civil engineer (Contour Retaining Walls, based in Carrollton, GA) and as a family physician with a growing group of private practices (3:16 Family Medicine and Spa 3:16 in Bremen and Carrollton, GA). They also had two healthy children, Ada and Luke, who they were raising on the family farm. The herd had grown to over 250 head of cattle, and over the course of several years, they had worked with some of the finest breeders in the southeast to optimize the genetics of their herd for local beef consumption. They also made investments in equipment and processes that would minimize or eliminate any chemicals used on the pastures so that the cows were getting the highest quality of grasses and hays year round. They committed to never using any antibiotics or hormones on their cattle and to always allowing their cows to have “free range” and choice David and Allison also felt it was important to balance the health benefits of the grass-fed beef with the mild flavor consumers and families were used to eating, so they spent many months optimizing the time frame that cattle would receive a high quality, non-GMO grain prior to being processed without impacting the nutritional benefits of straight grass fed products. After doing years of research, working to improve their processes for both quality and efficiency, and after exploring many options, they decided to use a Georgia-based USDA-inspected and certified facility to process their grass-fed beef. The facility Key Farms contracts with for processing is a relatively new and state-of-the art facility that was partially funded by the University of Georgia as part of their agricultural expansion programs. The processing plant dry ages the meats for over 2 weeks before cutting. The cuts, which can be customized for Key Farms customers, are then flash frozen. Allison was particularly hopeful they would find a processor who flash freezes as medical studies have shown that this process helps foods retain their nutrients better than other freezing or refrigerating processes. Flash frozen foods are the next healthiest option to fresh off the cutting table!
Meanwhile, back on the farm, more than 12,000 strawberry plants are getting ready to bloom in growth for a U-Pick strawberry patch this Spring (starting in March 2023; details to be announced soon!). The fall will bring a fun-for-the-whole-family pumpkin patch with a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors of pumpkins! Long term, the Key Family is planning for year-round events at the farm—blueberries, vegetables in all seasons, Christmas lights & Christmas trees, wildflowers, sunflowers, and more! The Keys are nothing if not dreamers and doers…so stay tuned!
Key Farms Meats & Mercantile opened in February of 2022 at 816 Maple Street, in Carrollton, GA. Not only are Key Farms’ delicious beef cuts and products available, but they have chosen a tremendous selection of complimentary products made right here in the USA and mostly in Georgia and other South Eastern states! From grills and grilling utensils to seasonings, spices, and marinades of all varieties, to jars of pickles, relishes, and other delicious small batch fruits and vegetables, Key Farms Meats & Mercantile has all you need to eat healthier and better! They also carry a wide variety of gift items, inspirational books and Bible studies, kitchen and home décor necessities, and even Key Farms branded hats and shirts! They are also proud to carry some other local farms’ chickens and pork sausage cuts in their retail store!