Locally grown food products can be found at NCFarmFresh.com
RALEIGH – A newly revamped N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Web site offers consumers looking for locally grown fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products a quick way to find farmers in their area with products to sell.
“The NCFarmFresh.com Web site can sort information by county, by region and by commodity, making it easier for shoppers to find a local food source,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We want to help consumers find farmers in their areas, especially as more and more shoppers express interest in buying foods that haven’t traveled very far from the field to the table.”
NCFarmFresh.com has been active for around five years and includes more than 1,000 retail farms, 119 certified roadside stands, 116 farmers markets, community-supported agriculture operations, nurseries, retail garden centers and similar outlets that sell directly to the public. The site has traditionally focused on fruits and vegetables, nursery products and Christmas trees, but now lists farmers who sell meat and dairy products too.
Agriculture and agribusiness represent the state’s number one industry, generating more than $70 billion for the economy.
“North Carolina is the fourth most agriculturally diverse state in the country, meaning consumers have lots of locally grown options,” Troxler said. “To me, food tastes better the closer it is to the farm, so I encourage consumers to shop locally for the freshest products around and taste the difference for themselves.”
The department launched a statewide advertising campaign in early May encouraging consumers to use the Web site to find local vendors. The campaign is being funded by special grants from the Golden Leaf Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as cooperative funding from commodity associations.
Farmers interested in listing their farms can register by logging on to NCFarmFresh.com and following the links on the home page. They may also contact NCDA&CS at (919) 733-7887 for more information or assistance. Farmers interested in joining the Goodness Grows in North Carolina program or becoming a certified roadside stand can also contact the department at the number above.