Commissioner Steve Troxler: NCDA&CS Marketing Division to Host Buyer Grower Exchange Meetings for fruit and vegetable growers

The department’s Marketing Division will host a Grower/Buyer Exchange Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jordan Lake Educational State Forest, 3490 Big Woods Road, Chapel Hill. Fruit and vegetable growers can sign up for a 15-minute time slot to meet with buyers from U.S. Foods and Lowes Foods/MDI (Merchants Distributors Inc.) The deadline to register is Feb. 9. NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has details:

  • I have mentioned before that there a lot of meetings and events that take place during winter when farmers are making their plans and getting ready for the next growing season.
  • Our Marketing Division is hosting a Grower/Buyer Exchange on Feb. 20 where fruit and vegetable growers can sign up to meet with buyers from U.S. Foods and Lowe’s Food to talk about their operations, available products and general supply capabilities.
  • The meetings will take place the Stanford M. Adams Training Facility at Jordan Lake Educational State Forest, 3490 Big Woods Road, Chapel Hill. Each meeting is 15 minutes and the deadline to register is Feb. 9. I would encourage farmers to sign up early to be sure they get a spot and to have more flexibility of times.
  • We have hosted these meetings in the past, with some leading to market opportunities for growers. At the least, it gives growers an opportunity to make a person-to-person introduction, learn what buyers from these businesses are looking for, and what they need to be doing as a farm to be able to be a supplier for these companies.
  • I am happy we can help farmers make these connections, but I am also proud that these food companies are interested in sourcing local products in their stores.
  • The consumer-driven, buy-local movement continues to create marketing opportunities at restaurants and food retailers, and quite frankly I hope we never see a shift away from this mentality.
  • As consumers have discovered the difference in taste and quality of locally sourced foods, I think that seals the deal. The freshness of locally sourced foods can’t be beat.
  • Growers will be able to sign up for a time slot for Lowes Food and a time slot for U.S. Foods. If your farm plans to have multiple representatives, each person must register individually.
  • To sign up, growers will need to go to www.eventbrite.com and search for Grower Buyer Exchange.
  • And, anyone with questions can email the department at GrowerBuyerExchange@ncagr.gov.

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