North Carolina Farm Fresh
Different methods farmers are using to market their goods directly to consumers
About "North Carolina Farm Fresh"Over the past several decades, North Carolina has continued to diversify its strong agricultural economy, transitioning from a reliance on its traditional, tobacco-based system to a more varied economic structure in which farmers rely more and more on specialty crops and other non-traditional products—including locally-grown fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees, ornamental plants, flowers, and herbs—while also marketing these products directly to consumers.
Got to Be NC
This North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) website provides the latest consumer information, including locations of Farmer's Markets, agritourism sites, locally-grown recipes, North Carolina product finders, promotions, contests and much more!
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The NCDA&CS divisions regulate and service areas including state farm operations; agricultural marketing and promotion; operation of five state farmers markets; agricultural environmental issues; state and federal agricultural legislation; and agricultural economic analysis.
North Carolina Farm Fresh
North Carolina Farm Fresh is the NCDA&CS directory of pick-your-own farms, roadside farm markets, and farmers markets throughout North Carolina. It is designed to help the consumer, find the freshest locally grown fruits, vegetables, christmas trees, ornamental plants, flowers, and herbs.
NC Fresh Link is a NCDA&CS website devoted to providing links to North Carolina produce, including a comprehensive grower/shipper directory, an informative newsletter, marketing contacts, and a produce availability chart based on in-season months.
North Carolina General Store
This online "general store" from the NCDA&CS is touted as the directory for finding North Carolina agricultural goods and services, including restaurants, livestock, nursery and gardening, turf grass and sod services, fish and seafood, agritourism, herbs and agricultural equipment.
North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission
This Commission was created to assist tobacco farmers, tobacco quota holders, persons engaged in tobacco-related businesses, individuals displaced from tobacco-related employment, and tobacco product component businesses in the State. The Commission can disburse funds through compensatory programs and qualified agricultural programs.
From the Producer"I suspect I am like many North Carolinians in that I know people who live or lived on farms, but I've never spent much time on one. As a kid I thought they were dirty. Now, as an adult, theRick small farm seems in many ways to be as pure, clean, and uncomplicated a place to visit as any place I can find within 30-miles of my house. One year ago I did not know what the letters C-S-A stood for. Now I'm a part of a community supported agriculture operation myself! I'm eating a lot more fruits and vegetables this year and I've made a lot of new friends in my visits to NC farms. I don't expect that to change in the future."
Food Production and Distribution Methods
North Carolina Farm Fresh spotlights a variety of food production and distribution methods, including:
Community Supported AgricultureCommunity-Supported Agriculture (CSA): In this cooperative system, consumers themselves invest in local farms by paying in advance for produce the farmer agrees to deliver at a later date. In essence, these consumers are crop "subscribers," whose investments allow farmers to buy seed and pay farming expenses—all before they incur them. At harvest time, subscribers receive weekly boxes of select fresh produce.
Roadside StandsRoadside Stands: If you’ve lived in North Carolina any amount of time, you know that many farmers sell their produce directly to consumers via stands on or near their properties. Roadside stands can be as simple as a handwritten yard sign stating, “Peaches, $3 a bushel—Knock on Our Front Door;” or, in the alternative, these "stands" can be very elaborate destinations such as Ken Chappell Peaches in Montgomery County, NC. During the program, you'll meet Ken Chappell, a third generation peach grower with a convenient roadside business, brimming with fresh peaches and other seasonal goods.
Farmer's MarketsFarmer’s Markets: With literally hundreds of locations across the state at which farmers can come together to meet consumers in a central place, North Carolina farmer's markets can range from small operations constituting several pickup trucks pulled together, to a large compound like those found at our official State Farmer’s Markets. This special features the Asheboro Farmer’s Market, where a new facility is helping to create a more vital and vibrant downtown. Along the way, you’ll also visit the Duke Farmer’s Market, a private market that brings farmers right to customer's doorsteps.
“Pick Your Owns:” There are some crops that are best operated as "Pick Your Owns" or "PYO’s,” allowing consumers the unique opportunity to pick and choose their own produce while providing a more cost-effective alternative for farmers. In this program, we travel to Smith Nurseries in Benson, NC, where farmer Myron Smith is happy to let others harvest the fruits of his (and their) labor for a fee.
Some North Carolina farms attempt to attract tourists as a means of staying financially viable. Of these, some are working farms that invite visitors to "view and do" farm activities at a cost; others don't charge, allowing tourist exposure to pay off in other ways.