In 1964, Ned Cottle planted his first patch of berries in Faison, North Carolina, for the fresh market up the East coast. Mr. Cottle saw a demand for strawberries, and decided to increase his production. He began growing two acres of strawberries at a Goldsboro, North Carolina location, which was his first "U-pick" farm. The market for "U-pick" berries gradually increased as did Mr. Cottle's desire to meet that need. He also noticed that there was more money and less risk in "U-pick" farms than in growing berries to be sold commercially because California was rapidly taking over the commercial sales of strawberries. So he continued to plant other "U-pick" farms in other areas, including: Kinston, Jacksonville, Dunn, and Lumberton, North Carolina.
Ned Cottle's son, Ron Cottle, grew up helping his father on the farms. In 1987, Ron graduated from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, came back home and got into the nursery business, which is presently known as Cottle Strawberry Nursery, Inc.