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American Farm Family: The Cooleys

The Farm Community Behind South Carolina’s Strawberry Hills USA

Welcome to Strawberry Hills USA—a family-owned and operated farm nestled within the rolling hills of South Carolina. Established in the early 1900s by the grandfather of James Cooley, Strawberry Hills has since transformed into the largest strawberry farm in South Carolina and a full-fledged American farm experience for all who have the opportunity to visit. Whether it’s picking strawberries in the spring or providing fun family activities filled with pumpkins and sunflowers in the fall, the Cooley family stays busy harvesting and supplying smiles within their local community. Their rich family history is integrated into all parts of their multigenerational farm, including nearly 400 American flags that fly in the winds of their strawberry fields as a tribute to James’ late father and uncle, Gene and Ansel Cooley, to commemorate their service in World War II.

 

With a cafe and ice cream parlor located on-site, Strawberry Hills Farms truly takes a village to keep it running. The Cooley family works alongside one another each day with the help of Farm Operating Manager Jerry Blackwell and more than 140 dedicated farmworkers from the H-2A temporary worker visa program. The Cooley sisters, Bethani and Brandi, look to these workers that come year after year as family and an essential part of what keeps their farm operating. The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for these workers to return this past year and the Cooley family faced the heartbreaking reality of having to plow up their fields for the first time ever. Yet through it all, they persevered.

 

Watch to learn more about the resilience of this American family farm operation, the love they hold for each other, and the pride they carry in showing the world what American farming is really about—working hard and doing it with your heart.

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