Hampshire County, West Virginia
Eli and Misty Cook own and operate Spring Valley Farm and Orchard in Hampshire County, West Virginia.
Spanning nearly 355 acres, the Cooks grow 180 acres of fruits and 140 acres of vegetables.
Eli started in agriculture as a 12 year old. His interest in agriculture began as a small project for FFA and has continued to grow from there. In 1988, Eli graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in business and marketing. Years later, his skills in business management and marketing have propelled Spring Valley into one of the largest fruit and vegetable retailers in the Washington, D.C. area.
Farmers markets and farm stands
They sell their produce at 11 different farmers markets throughout the D.C. area. Some of the markets go year-round, some are only open during the warmer months and some Eli only sells through during the winter. In addition to the farmers markets, Spring Valley also sells at two roadside stands, one in West Virginia and one in Virginia.
Good times and bad
Over the years, Spring Valley has had its ups and downs, its good times and its bad times. “We all hit hard times, whether that's a hail storm, a freeze or a field that is too wet. Agriculture can be very challenging,” he said.
And it has been crucial to have support during the challenging times to ensure that the business can continue. “Without funding, without bridging gaps when we have hard times, it's hard to keep a small farm operating,” Eli said.
When times have gotten tough, Eli has turned to Farm Credit of the Virginias for support. “Farm Credit’s specialty in agriculture means they understand the challenges that we face on a yearly and daily basis. We appreciate the help and support they provide for us and in times of need,” he said.
Looking at the big picture, Eli understands the importance of farms like his to the vibrancy of rural communities. He said, “Supporting rural communities and agriculture is very important for the future existence of agriculture in rural communities.” And Farm Credit is proud to finance farmers like Eli each and every day, living out our mission to support rural communities and agriculture across the nation.