The Farm Family of the Day program is a new addition to the N.C. State Fair. The program recognizes 11 farm families who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry. Families either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. The program is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and will run from October 14-24, 2021.
Five generations of history in agriculture is currently being made at Cottle Farms in Faison. Since 1964, the Cottle family has been producing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, creating quite a name for themselves in the years from then to now.
While they might be most well known for their strawberries and blueberries, Cottle Farms also grows a variety of other crops, including cantaloupe, eggplant, bell peppers and cucumbers.
In 1964, Ned A. Cottle saw an opportunity in the market with U-Pick strawberries. At the time he was farming in Goldsboro, so he started with two acres not knowing how far it would take the family farm. Today, Cottle Farms is one of the largest providers of strawberries and strawberry plants on the East Coast.
Not only does Cottle Farms manage its own farming operation and sell strawberry plants to interested farmers and consumers, but the company also has working partnerships with other growers to provide a great variety of fruits and vegetables to the community. These partnerships allow Cottle Strawberry Nursery, Inc. to ship a variety of fresh products from farmers all throughout the state.
“We want people to know that their food doesn’t just come from the back of your grocery store,” said co-owner and operator, Teresa Cottle. “We love working the land that our family has owned and worked and so do the farmers that we partner with. We take pride in seeing our produce being enjoyed by families all around.”
Cottle Farms is being recognized as a 2021 N.C. State Fair Farm Family of the Day for Oct. 16 not only because of the family’s hard work as farmers but for the way they partner with and promote other farmers in our state and the agriculture industry as a whole.
The Cottle’s enjoys attending the N.C. State Fair each year.
“Our family loves the N.C. State Fair because no matter how old you are, you always feel like a little kid when you are at the fair,” Teresa said. “The lights, the smells, the rides, the excitement, the exhibits, the food…once you’re at the fair it brings back all memories of family and childhood. All in celebration of agriculture!”
Although every day is an adventure at Cottle Farms, the family wouldn’t trade a single tough day for the joy that farming brings them. “We love waking up everyday not knowing what the day is going to bring,” Teresa said. In addition to selling their products direct to consumers and in retail outlets, the family also provides produce to surrounding food banks and individuals in need.
In the future, the Cottle family will continue working to educate the community on the importance of our state’s agriculture industry and provide fresh products that people love and enjoy.
“When you buy from a family farm, you not only support the farm, but you also support the community and the state,” Teresa said. “We don’t just grow crops here at Cottle Farms, and other farmers across the state function the same way. We create an environment for crops to grow.” Keep an eye out for Cottle Farms produce in grocery stores near you and continue supporting N.C. farmers like them every day!