Edgar Cook (better known as Fuzzy) grew up in a coal town in the mountains of West Virginia. He dreamed of flatter land where he could farm and raise a family. While fighting as a soldier in WWII, he saved his money and made a life-changing decision: no more coal mines, no more working or fighting or wasting time for anyone else. He was ready to farm.
Betty and Fuzzy Cook were newly married and bought the family farm in 1947. It was perfect. Rolling hills, pasture, tillable ground and a small river, all on a quiet dirt road. It had been a working dairy farm since the mid 1800’s and wild before that. Fuzzy went on to milk cows for the rest of his life.
Along with other family members, Fuzzy and Betty’s grandson, Nick Nolan, grew up next door to the farm. He played and wandered the hills alone, and spent countless hours helping his grandfather. Nick dreamt about places far away from the dirt road and pastures. He became a food-manufacturing engineer, working for companies including Nabisco, making processed convenience foods.
In the fall of 1994, Fuzzy Cook died in a tragic farming accident. And with his death, the farm began a gradual decline. For Nick, coping with this loss changed everything. In 2001, Nick and his wife Celeste moved back to tend the farm and to raise their children. Together they rebuilt the infrastructure of the farm, bought a milking herd, and eventually built a sustainable, environmentally-conscious cheese making facility on their land. Currently, Nick and Celeste are putting everything they have into working the dairy farm and creamery full-time.
This project intimately explores the beautiful moments of everyday family life and the struggle of a family farm forging a new path through a broken modern food system.