Growing and raising healthy, natural food is the right way, and the only way, at Adena Ranch in northern Florida. Founded nearly 20 years ago by Frank Stronach, the 95,000 acres of pastures, ponds and woodlands found in Ocala allow grass-fed cattle and organic, pasture-raised chickens and pigs to live naturally on the land.
Stronach’s goal is to raise and supply all-natural, premium meats. The ranch exemplifies the Fresh From Florida program by bringing locally sourced food to the consumer.
“Our philosophy is to ensure that the animals do not experience any pain or stress, and that they are raised free of hormones and antibiotics in the most natural environment to produce the highest-quality products,” Stronach says.
Adena Ranch is environmentally sustainable, engaging in free-range farming methods. A completely vertically integrated farm operation, Adena Ranch controls its supply chain by raising and harvesting its own animals. The business also sells meats to retail outlets and restaurants owned and operated by the company.
“We only sell meat that comes from our farms,” Stronach says.
Cattle graze on pastures that provide the highest-quality forages available. Keeping in line with its philosophy, the ranch feeds its chicken and pigs an organic feed mixture and dutifully logs what the animals eat. The operation is working toward an organic certification in the near future, though it is already free of hormones and antibiotics.
“In the next few years, we will produce our own non-GMO (genetically modified organism) organic grain and produce,” Stronach says.
Adena Ranch’s state-of-the-art facilities are USDA-inspected, with permanent food inspectors on site. Animal-handling practices at the ranch were developed with the assistance of animal welfare expert Dr. Mary Temple Grandin.
The operation also features dining experiences. Adena Grill and Frankey’s Sports Bar, both in Hallandale Beach serve premium beef and meats from the ranch, as well as other locally sourced foods. In addition, buyers will soon be able to purchase Adena Ranch-produced foods online.
Stronach says plans are underway to open several Adena Ranch-based grocery stores in Florida by the end of 2017. He believes the business will eventually have stores in all of the state’s major cities.
As for the local agriculture industry, Stronach believes Florida is a “great state to produce great food.”