For David French, turkey farming comes down to two things — hard work and family. “I chose to be a turkey farmer because it’s rewarding to see these birds get bigger and feed America. As far as family goes, it takes hard work from everybody.”
The French family are start-up farmers. A native of New Hampshire, David met his wife, Erin, while at school in South Carolina. As their family grew, David and Erin wanted to raise their family in a place where they could instill character and hard work — where pride could be taken in hard work.
“It’s a slower pace. People are more welcoming. Life in the Shenandoah Valley is beautiful.”
"Food on the table doesn’t come free. Hard work will pay off if you work hard."
Joining a thriving poultry community
Shenandoah Valley has a rich turkey farming history. David actually discovered turkey farming after helping out a friend in the area. He brought the idea home to Erin, who thought he wanted a little shed with some turkeys. “Then David said, um, more like…fifty thousand” says Erin. “It was a big idea, so we talked, and jumped in two-feet running.”
David’s family farm grew quickly as a result of work, family and a love for the animals — they plan on adding two new turkey houses in the near future. It’s not easy — but a strong work ethic is a value greatly appreciated by David.
Passing down ethical farming
David takes pride in raising turkeys with care, and without growth-promoting antibiotics, added hormones or steroids. “We are grateful for the privilege to grow food for America. We take pride and care in raising our animals,” says David.
“I teach our kids to treat my birds right, and to respect them.”
When asked what makes French Farms a family farm, David says, “Everyone is involved. We’re all involved.” Erin adds, “We all pitch in. It’s an opportunity to teach our children a lot of valuable life lessons.”
"As far as family goes, it takes hard work from everybody."
The “family” in family farming
When asked about finding time for family, David says, “One of the reasons I wanted to work in poultry…I didn’t have enough time with Erin or my kids, so I wanted more of a farm life,” says David. “Yes, still hard work, still crazy hours…but I can come home at lunchtime, at dinnertime. I’m here for my meals. I see my kids go to bed every night.”
Erin agrees. “It’s cool to be a part of something bigger than ourselves…while passing down the values to our kids that we want them to learn.”