Meet the Maker: Debbie and John Everling of Everling Coastal Farm

  • , by Lena Melentijevic
  • 4 min reading time

Summers are a busy time for Everling Coastal Farm, and Debbie and John Everling have been preparing for yet another season of farmers markets. On Saturdays, Debbie Everling works the East Beach farmers market in Ocean View, while John Everling works the Old Beach and Virginia Beach markets. On Sundays, they can be found selling their products to a lively group at Oozlefinch Brewery. Before they became vendors themselves, the Everlings were regular customers at these markets, making this a full circle moment.

The Everlings have been together for over 40 years. Debbie Everling is a native New Yorker and John Everling was born and raised in Texas, but they both fell in love with Richmond, Virginia. While John Everling is a native southerner, Debbie Everling has learned to love the Southern foods and traditions John calls home.

After John Everling retired from his sales job in 2016, they started Everling Coastal Farm, originally focusing on the sale of microgreens. Nothing about their start was easy, and one of their earliest crops was infested with beetles, meaning they had to start over from scratch. This said, neither this nor any other challenges they’ve since faced broke their spirits. 

They began selling their organically grown microgreens at farmers markets, specialty stores, and working with chefs directly, having their microgreens as parts of meals in restaurants across the South. When Debbie Everling finally retired from her corporate job in 2019 and joined Everling Coastal Farm full-time, the business blossomed. Microgreens now comprised only 25% of their stock and they expanded into nut oils and Italian balsamic vinegars.

The Everlings spent decades working in corporate America where they largely credit their leadership and marketing knowledge. “A lot of folks are really good at what they do but they’re not really good at selling and marketing it,” says John Everling. As Debbie Everling often says, “If I like it, then everyone will.” Their focus was originally on farmers markets, but eventually the business expanded online, now having a 100% increase in online sales year after year. 

They cite their biggest challenge as “Figuring out how to do it in the first place.” The Everlings were self-starters, learning how to produce oils on their own from start to finish. Now, in addition to production, they’ve branched into their own label design and shipping. 

The Everlings love Virginia and proudly hold the title of Southern makers. Everything about the South inspires them, especially some of its famous delicacies like fried okra or cheesy grits. “What we make is so Southern,” Debbie Everling says referring to her personal favorite product – the pecan oil. The pecan oil is their most versatile product, having a smoke point of 475 degrees and a bold, nutty flavor. The pecan oil works wonderfully for pan searing and roasting, as well as in a salad dressing, vinaigrette, or even homemade pesto. The Everlings love it so much, they “actually cook with it every night.”

As two self proclaimed foodies, the Everlings live by the principle, “Love what you do, love what you eat, and know where your food comes from.” If you find yourself at a Virginia market this summer, seek out one of Everling Coastal Farm’s booths, or place an online order here to ship directly to your home.

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