Warren County program adding farmers, locations

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 06:29 PM

WARRENTON — Residents of Warren County now have more locations to buy produce packs.

The conveniently sized packs of fresh fruits and vegetables are now available at Arcola Grocery, Boyd’s BP in Manson, Pay Jay’s in Wise, Vaughn Mini-Mart and Axtell Grocery in Warrenton. Last year, only three stores carried the produce packs.

Working Landscapes, the local non-profit organization that initiated the project, buys fresh produce from local farmers, bundles it into $2 and $3 packs and then distributes the packs to the participating stores.

The number of farmers providing produce to the project has also increased.

“Last year we had three farmers participating,” said Caroline Stover, who coordinates the project for Working Landscapes. “So far this year, we have eight. They are all Warren County farmers.”

Stover said the participating farmers have sold cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peaches, peas, okra, squash, apples, butter beans, tomatoes, corn and cucumbers through the project.

The project is intended to help at both ends of the food distribution system. It provides an additional market for farmers. And it increases consumers’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in sections of the county where garden-fresh foods are difficult to obtain.

Small growers who find it uneconomical to ship their products to remote markets can sell locally. When any product, food or otherwise, is produced, sold and consumed within the county, profits stay at home and circulate in the local economy.

Stover is pleased to have five stores participating. She said by signing up to sell fresh produce, these managers are supporting local farmers and committing to help county residents eat fresh healthy food.

Stover hopes the program will continue to expand. She visualizes more stores and farmers participating. In addition, she said she hopes the program will cover most of the growing season next year.

Stores or farmers interested in learning more about the program are urged to contact Stover at the Working Landscapes office by calling (252) 275-0205. Additional information can also be found on the organization’s website http://workinglandscapesnc.org/.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.