The chicken or the egg? McEwens say both
By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer
WILSONVILLE—The name McEwen is eponymous with grits. After all, McEwen and Sons provides grits, polenta and cornmeal for restaurants across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and New York including many Birmingham favorites such as Bottega, Highlands Bar and Grill, Chez Lu Lu and Hot and Hot Fish Club.
The family also provides farm-fresh eggs, which are the “ideal accompaniment” to the grits, according to owner Frank McEwen. The sons, Frank, Jr. and Luke, are primarily responsible for this side of the business.
They have 1,000 hens “give or take,” said Frank, Jr., which are all pastured during the day and watched over by the family’s 150-pound Great Pyrenees.
The hens produce up to 35 dozen eggs a day, but even this amount of eggs is not enough to fill the rising demand for farm fresh eggs with are “incomparable” to eggs typically found in a grocery store, McEwen said.
“Frank Stitt buys about all we can produce,” Frank, Jr. said. “We just can’t keep enough eggs for everyone who wants them.”
The family will soon have even more eggs to sell, with 600 to 700 chicks expected to join the brood soon.
Most recently, the family has added grass fed, grain finished beef to their repertoire. The family owns approximately 79 head of Brangus and Angus cattle, and McEwen is experimenting with breeding a heifer with a Wagyu bull, typically associated with Kobe beef, which is “very, very tender,” McEwen said.
The cows spend their days wandering the McEwen’s 275-acre farm, grazing naturally on grass, and are sometimes fed non-GMO grain in order to “keep them coming up and keep them happy,” McEwen explained.
McEwen and Sons will offer the farm-fresh meat both by the whole, half or quarter cow and by the pound. The meat can be purchased at the family’s store in Wilsonville.
At the moment, the family does not have the intention of selling to restaurants as the need “a heck of a lot more than we can provide,” McEwen explained, but said people have been very excited about the prospect so far.
“We had good interest early on,” McEwen said.
For more information, visit Mcewenandsons.com or call 669-6605.
Jim Sutton of Mountain Meadows Farm in Columbiana stand in front of his blueberry bushes. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering) By GINNY... read more