By Maggie Edwards
A Navy pilot with a dream of ranching and a passion for horses found Sullivan Creek Ranch in Vinemont in 2016. There, he lives out his “Flying A” motto highlighting service, sacrifice and the American spirit.
“I always wanted to be a rancher,” said Greg Anderson. “I was the kid who always played with farm animals. Professionally, I wanted to be a pilot, but I spent time around horses during my childhood in Georgia.”
Greg purchased the Cullman County ranch in 2016 and originally focused on raising commercial cattle with future goals of expanding their operation.
In 2020, he and Emily, a professional artist from Kentucky, married. In Greg’s five-year business plan, he dreamed of having a store on the ranch. Emily’s creativity and experience traveling and painting murals around the Southeast brought this plan to life.
During early days of the pandemic, they transformed an old shop and deep freezers into the Trading Post, where they sell Sullivan Creek Ranch beef and have Emily’s Cattle and Canvas art studio.
Walking into the Trading Post is like stepping into the Wild West as Emily’s large paintings of cattle, horses and cowboys fill the room.
“It’s one of those careers where people ask me what I really do for a living,” Emily said. “God has really blessed it.”
The operation focuses on quality beef and transparency. The cattle are Wagyu Akaushi, a Japanese breed. Greg said he finds value in the animal’s genetics and frame.
Sullivan Creek Ranch sells animals for processing in quarters, halves and whole; retail cuts go directly to consumers from the Trading Post and to local restaurants.
“Because we are small-batch beef, we want to make sure we serve our local market first,” Greg said. “It keeps people coming here. We don’t want to starve the market here.”
Emily’s artistic mindset helps take their ranch’s social media marketing to the next level.
“I try to do different things and look at social media like artwork,” Emily said. “I want to capture people’s attention and bring different layers to the story we tell online.”
That story is rooted in traditional ranching where cattle are worked on horseback. Sullivan Creek Ranch also hosts a cattle branding event each year, which helps the public put boots on the ground.
In 2023, they hope to incorporate hospitality events and add a mini art gallery to the Trading Post.
The Andersons were both raised around agriculture and combine their interests to create a ranch fueled by passion and purpose, whether painting brush strokes on a canvas, flying a plane or roping cattle.
“There is a lot of freedom in being able to step away from society,” Emily said. “As the world gets crazier, we built a small sanctuary here on the ranch.”
Greg echoed his wife.
“I have a passion for the way this country was settled,” he said. “Think about the colonists coming over and launching into the new world and pressing west. That American spirit is what I love.”
Greg, an avid outdoorsman, credits his work ethic to his father, who was a farmer.
“God put us on earth to be the steward of something,” he said. “There is nothing more rewarding than working with animals and raising food for the world.”
Visit SullivanCreekRanch.com to learn more.