Diamond P Ranch

Diamond P Ranch

Jul 10

Down in Kissimmee there are forty acres of land divided by neat white fencing and populated by a herd of cattle and goats, a flock of chickens, a plot of tilled and cultivated land and a beautiful, idyllic house. This is the setting for Diamond P Ranch, owned by Alan and Nancy, who bought it a few years ago from some horse ranchers. They have a house in Kissimmee that they “just can’t sell,” so they let their children live in the fairytale house at Diamond P Ranch.

Laura and I made the trek to the ranch this morning to pick up some freshly harvested chickens (cleaned and plucked, no less). After Nancy greeted us personally at our car, her granddaughter eying us suspiciously from her arms, Alan drove up in a golf cart with a wide smile on his face. He was delighted when Laura asked him for some necks and livers, laughing mischievously at the unusual request. Two five-pound chickens in hand, Laura and I were reluctant to leave, so we stayed to talk with Alan and Nancy about their business.

They confirmed what we’ve heard many times before, that making a living from a small farm presents some unique challenges in the economic, political, and marketing departments. Alan confided in me that they get two or three e-mails each week from restaurants asking for all of their beef, or requesting fifty chickens per week. Knowing that restaurants in the area really care about getting fresh, local ingredients makes me really happy, but I was completely empathetic with Alan when he grimaced and said, “There’s just no way that’s going to happen.” It’s difficult and impractical for a small operation to put all its eggs in one basket (so to speak) trying to produce enough of one thing on a regular basis to supply a restaurant or a store. Which is why it’s so important to have a multitude of producers in the Central Florida area, all selling a variety of products.

While we were talking with Alan and Nancy, another car drove up, a young mother with her daughter, who was ecstatic about the small flower garden at the end of the driveway. I half-expected the woman avoid eye-contact, casting furtive glances around her while hurrying to grab her chicken and run. In Orlando, buying fresh chickens directly from the person who raised and killed them seems incredibly subversive and risky. Instead, I saw this mother wait patiently with her daughter and amicably greet Alan and Nancy as if she picks up dead chickens in Ziploc bags every day. It reminded me that we are, indeed, not alone.

Although finding local food, produced and sold with respect, takes more time and, often, more money, people want it, and some are even willing to go right to the source for it. It strengthens my conviction that bringing the production of food back home is something that needs to happen and will happen eventually. The more growers we have in Central Florida who are open and willing to embrace the challenges of small production, the more people will have the opportunity to taste real food, grown and sold by real people.

2 comments

  1. Rachel

    Wow, where do you find such places?? I would love to have a place to go to like that…I’d ask for some chicken feet, which adds extra gelatin to a broth :).

  2. Allan Pratt

    Thank you. Great to meet you. Anxious to have the gourmet evaluation! Have a great week. Allan

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  1. Diamond P Ranch Chicken | With Respect For Food - [...] too long ago, we drove to Diamond P Ranch to pick up our very first freshly-harvested chicken. (That means …

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