Katy Orr-Dove is a third-generation farmer and entrepreneur at George Orr & Sons, Inc., also doing business as Orr’s Farm Market. This 550-acre farm is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia and has been in operation since 1954. Orr-Dove’s grandfather, George S. Orr, Jr., was the founder of the business and started a legacy of innovation, hard work, and perseverance in the Orr family.
Orr-Dove attended Shepherd College and graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After teaching for five years, she decided to return to the farm to manage the retail market. She has been back at the farm for the past 14 years and brought new ideas for tourism, entertainment, school tours and expansion of the retail market business. The market now employs 68 local citizens, with a large number of high school and college students. Orr-Dove hopes to spread a passion for agriculture and motivate young people to appreciate the different seasons on the farm.
Orr-Dove talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about her business, how it has evolved and what she is most excited for right now along with the many years to come.
What is your 30-second pitch for Orr’s Farm Market?
“We are all about local foods. We sell many of the things that we grow in our garden and have our tree fruit year around too. We also want to educate the public about how we grow things and involve them in picking their fruits and vegetables. It’s just wholesome family fun where they can come out on the weekend to enjoy some bluegrass music and have some food from the food truck. It is just the whole experience, not just a retail shop that they are coming to buy local food from,” said Orr-Dove.
What is the thing you’re most excited about for your organization right now?
“We are coming off of our probably most successful season that we have ever had before. What excites me most is just the number of guests that we are getting with so many positive reviews this season, which just makes me feel like the changes that we are making are going over well with the customers. I believe that what has made us successful over the years is that we hear what they want and we are changing those things about our business,” said Orr-Dove.
What would you say is the best thing about being a business in West Virginia?
“I think West Virginia is just like the slogan, it is wild and it is wonderful. As kids, we would go and visit all of the different state parks and I want other people to feel proud of our state like I do. I think the best part is just sharing a love for West Virginia and making the people of Martinsburg feel proud of their town,” said Orr-Dove.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face?
“For me, staffing was tricky this year,” said Orr-Dove. “I have to run the farm as it grows. I had to have at least seventy employees during our busy season. It is seasonal, so that makes it extra tricky because you have to lay them off at the end of the season. Then you have to rehire everybody again along with training them before May.”
PWV QUICK BITS | ORR’S FARM MARKET
- RECOMMENDED BOOK: Audible Books
- RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Humanity and Clover
- PIECE OF ADVICE: “Take whatever you are passionate about and venture out of the state and grab ideas from successful businesses then focus on things you can do for your business one at a time,” advised Orr-Dove.