Dove Hollow Road snakes around the curves and hills of lush, enchanting eastern West Virginia, brushing up against the Lost River at times, leading to Kimsey Run, along which you’ll find Raymond Wilkins’ four-house chicken farm. Decorated with neat hay bales and a bright red tractor, the farm sits safely tucked into a wooded hillside. Farmer Raymond, his wife, and two stepchildren occupy the property, and he and his brother Stanley continue the family farming tradition started decades ago by their father. Stanley and Raymond spend long hours maintaining the health of their birds and keeping up with the relentless chores of a large farm. But growing for SVO has granted Raymond far more control than he had when he grew for another company, resulting in higher efficiency, healthier birds, less stress, and more time for living life.

Lynda Bostrom