Hancock and its surrounding area during the main span of the 20th century was one of the largest fruit producers in the nation. In 1886 Edmund Pendleton Cohill began the cultivation of fruit crops. Over the years his planted acreage increased, and Cohill formed the Tonoloway Orchard Company.
Other company and family names followed, among them: Millstone Orchard Company, Locher Orchards, Daniels, Funk, R.S. Dillon, Corona Orchard Company, Round Top Orchard Company, Green Lane, Roy Daniels, John Mason and L. Resley, as well as Hepburn Orchards. Over time, many of them were incorporated into larger companies such as Fairview Orchards.
At the industrial peak in the mid 1940-60's, five thousand acres produced apples, peaches, cherries, and plums, which were shipped to "fresh markets" and canning factories. "Fancy Packs" were shipped abroad. Laborers from Florida, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica helped local farmers harvest each fall, giving a huge boost to the local economy. Cold storage warehouses stored the excess fruit until markets opened for the fruit.
The bulk of the industry went into decline in the 1970-80 period due to labor problems. Most of the area, once a fruit basked for the nation, now lies fallow.