At work with Alison: a day on the farm

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PHILIPPI, W.Va. (WDTV) - Farmers have a tough job, one that starts at sunrise and doesn't end until sunset.

Ellie Cronlund-Ahrend grew up on a small farm in Philippi.

'When I was growing up my parents always had gardens," Ellie said.

When she met her husband Dave Ahrend, who also grew up on a farm, they decided to turn their passion for the job into a way of life and started Mountain Hollow Farm.

"We're very health conscious. We wanted to do help our health."

At Mountain Hollow, they only use sustainable and organic farming practices like composting, companion planting, and utilizing solar panels.

Companion planting is a technique where farmers plant herbs and plants around crops to protect them, instead of using pesticides. For example, Ellie plants mint near her broccoli to keep bugs away.

"By doing that it's healthier and you get better nutrition from it and you get more out of your plants, and give more back to mother Earth."

The couple raises rabbits and ducks, and tons of different varieties of produce on their over five acre farm. They also grow food in tunnels, in order to have produce year round.

The difference between the tunnels and a green house, is that the tunnels utilize more of the natural soil and give plants more room to grow freely. On her farm, Ellie has three high and two medium tunnels.

The food is so fresh and chemical free, Ellie says it can be eaten right off the vine. Although the farm started as a hobby, Ellie now sells her produce at several local markets, including the Ruby Memorial Hospital farmers market, and the Elkins and Bridgeport farmers markets.

"I like going to the markets to educate people about what real food should taste like."

For Ellie, the best thing about being a farmer is getting to spend each day in the great outdoors.

"There's not one thing that I like best, [farming] just encompasses my whole being."

If you're interested in farming, Ellie recommends starting small and using plants that are easy to grow.

You can check out Mountain Hollow Farm by going to their Facebook page.