The Parkway District • 1235 Apalachee Parkway • Open Daily 8am - 10pm • 850.942.2557

Local Spotlight: Golden Acres Ranch

By Gretchen Hein

Bobbie and Fred Golden haven't been farmers very long. In fact, farming wasn't really on their radar screen. Retirement was approaching and they began to look for a place where their dogs could run and they could explore a different rhythm of life. They'd done all the city things: concerts, country club, an active social life, and now they wanted something quiet but fulfilling. They purchased about 20 acres, erected and finished a spacious log cabin and began settling into their new existence.

Life certainly moves at a different pace. It's full, busy at times, but a very useful kind of busy. There are chickens, goats and sheep to feed and tend. All kinds of things you'd never imagine pop up in a day of tending to the farm. Bobbie showed me her first experiment with making soap, something she had started that morning with her son, visiting from Texas. She wanted to find something useful to do with the fat that comes from the sheep they raise. Bobbie is always looking for new things to learn about, she's a hands-on kind of person. She recently completed her certification as a Master Goat and Sheep producer from FAMU and Langston University, Oklahoma. I could hear Fred on a tractor in the distance. He was making firewood from trees that had come down. While Bobbie admits that Fred was looking forward to morning golf and quiet afternoons, he's quite content with his new lifestyle.

Soon after moving onto the farm, Bobby became interested in Tennessee Fainting Goats. These are raised for breeding; some become pets. Katahdin Sheep followed. And no farm is complete without chickens. We gathered a few fresh eggs and took them right to the refrigerator. The animals were some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Bobby makes sure her animals eat healthy: no antibiotics or hormones, no junk food either.

And then there's the mayhaws that have been on the farm much longer than the Goldens. Mayhaws are native trees that produce berries galore, hence mayhaw jelly. With over 175 trees, there'll be lots of berries. The berries will be for sale later in the spring. Golden Acres Ranch meatlamb and goat - can be found in our meat department, USDA certified, fresh frozen.

As if all this weren't enough, Bobby and Fred board pets of all kinds, sell EZ Hutch Shelters (the shelters they use for their field animals), and sell Golden Blend, the feed they use to supplement the goat and sheep's diet.

The Golden's farm is beautiful, and the original 20 acres have become 68. It keeps them active and engaged, but more importantly, they're creating memories for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - stories that are connected to the rhythm of animal husbandry, rural life, and enjoying their new lifestyle.

2014 Business of the Year2014 Locally Owned Business of the Year