Gwen Fowler



Strawberry Hill farmer wins Southeastern Farmer of the Year

Posted 10/23/2013 11:02:00 AM

Congratulations to Spartanburg County farmer James Cooley, who’s been named the 2013 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. 

Cooley and his family own Strawberry Hill U.S.A. and Cooley Farm in Chesnee. He represented South Carolina in the competition and was chosen over nine other Southern state winners.

He inherited Cooley Brothers Peach Farms from his father, and in 1995 started adding strawberries to the farm.

The farm is truly a family business. His wife, Kathi, operates the café at Strawberry Hill U.S.A., offering breakfast delicacies such as cathead biscuits, country ham platters, hash browns, grits and pancakes, and for lunch, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and chicken.

Two of the Cooley’s four daughters, Brandi and Bethani, help run the farm

In addition to the peach shed, now a produce market and café, on the farm in Chesnee, the Cooleys have a market in Gaffney that is open year round.

In addition to peaches and strawberries, the Cooleys grow blackberries and Asian pears.

The farm is also just a fun place to visit, with a peach festival and strawberry field trips for school groups in the spring. This time of year, the farm is busy with hay rides, a 10-acre corn maze and a 20-acre pumpkin patch.