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Old 07-23-2013, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis / St Paul
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Was in Greensboro and Winston-Salem recently and visited the farmer's market. We were surprised to see much less selection than our hometown of Mpls/St Paul.

We also thought grocery store produce would be noticeably better - selection, quality, and/or prices - because of the length of the growing season, but it was only okay.

Is this typical in your opinion?
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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The food culture is on the upswing in many parts of NC, but it still has a ways to go. Which farmers market did you go to? And which grocery store? That will make a big difference in terms of quality and quantity of produce. A lot of the large scale agriculture in NC, like in most places, is dedicated to corn, soybeans, tobacco, cotton, etc. NC does lead the nation in sweet potato production, and is in the top 3 in tomatoes and cucumbers. Still, compared to some places, the dedication to local produce is on its way, but not there yet.
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:22 AM
 
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In other states, local people sell produce at stands at their houses, but not much here in NC. Grocery store selection isn't that great, either, when compared to other states I've lived in, it's actually very disappointing. Surprisingly, a lot of the produce comes from the west, or central america, even at stores like Whole Foods. The Piedmont Triad Farmers Market has a lot of local sellers, but not a whole lot of variety in the local products--each vendor sells pretty much the same items. I've found that quantity, not quality, seems to be the most important factor regarding food in general here.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cny2cnc View Post
In other states, local people sell produce at stands at their houses, but not much here in NC.

cny, I don't know where you live, but if you travel much through more rural areas of NC you'll see plenty of roadside/home produce stands and people selling produce from the back of a pickup truck. There are also some of these here in Forsyth County if you know where to look. But yes, in general I think the commercialization of farming towards huge corporate enterprises has made a mark here in NC. When I was growing up in a small town in rural eastern NC, I knew many family farmers who supplemented their incomes by growing produce in addition to the cash crops like cotton and tobacco. A large percentage of these farms have disappeared in the past 20-30 years.

That said, a trip to Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Saturday mornings offers a wealth of produce of all kinds. Not sure what you'd be looking for that you couldn't find there. I also like the Saturday market at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds here in Winston-Salem. While much smaller than the PTF market, there's a good variety of things available from local sellers.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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I live south of Thomasville and north of Denton off route 109 in a very rural area. My neighbors hand out lots of free tomatoes, zucchini, etc, but no stands around here. There was a guy who sold on weekends on 109 who also had a stand at his house in Cid but closed it when someone stole all the ripened produce out of his garden one night. There are trucks full of watermelons occasionally, and some peaches sold in gas station parking lots, but no real farm stands around except at the big farmers market in GSO, which is about 30 miles from here. Lexington and Thomasville both have farmers markets on Saturdays, easier for me to travel to, and only local products are allowed. I've heard of a service that delivers produce to your home or work every week, called Backyard Produce, but they're too expensive for me on my state employee salary.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis / St Paul
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We were in several cities in NC. We went to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, where there was one. We also went to at least one mainstream chain grocery. In the GSO area, we went to the FM that's between G and WS, closer to G, I believe.

I agree with the comment about quantity of produce vs. variety. On either side of our trip, I went to the Mpls FM and found 2-3 times as many different items, at least. And that's not counting the obviously imported fruits and vegetables. I could go a little further to the St Paul FM, which does have a distance rule, and find even more items. (Of course, some of them are foods I don't cook with/eat, but I do try to keep our fare varied.)

I wonder if we might have larger immigrant populations influencing that. We do have a larger overall pop., as well. And maybe different regulations around farming...? A significant number of the vendors here are from other countries, and the stalls here are also less "industrial"-sized.

If you look at enough pictures here you can get a fairly good idea of one of our main local FMs: minneapolis farmer's market - Google Search

There's a "what's in season" chart on this page What’s in Season? but it doesn't list hardly any of the "ethnic" foods that can also be bought, just the more mainstream European-American ones.

Some of the best grocery stores I ever visited was the King Super chain in Denver.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:52 AM
 
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I don't know that you got the best examples of local produce, actually. That farmers market off of 40 is fairly institutional. There are much more "huggable" farmers markets with more local produce around. The Cobblestone Farmers Market in Winston, for example.

In addition, I've found some great stuff at places like Super Compare Foods, a grocery store that caters largely to Latin American immigrants. I can't say much of the produce seems local, but there's a wide array of goods available for pennies on the dollar. Also, I wouldn't hold Trader Joes up as a paragon for produce. Great packaged goods, cheeses, wine, etc., but not so strong on the produce and meat.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis / St Paul
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No, I don't buy produce at TJ, but wanted to check them out for some items I use them for at home.

Oh, and we also visited a few ethnic groceries, though not SCF...
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:18 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbyunc View Post
I don't know where you live, but if you travel much through more rural areas of NC
you'll see plenty of roadside/home produce stands and people selling produce from
the back of a pickup truck. ... a trip to Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Saturday mornings
...also like the Saturday market at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds...
What you describe as the solution is the heart of the problem.

The shortcoming is an ability to buy fresh produce without having to make a special trip
(and worse, chewing up a Saturday morning to do it) to go get produce or to juggle a work
schedule (if that can even be done) around one of the few weekday daytime markets.

There are a LOT of wide spots on the road IN TOWN for produce to be sold to commuters on their
way home from work & school (and actually want to eat something) that just aren't getting used.
It's a missed opportunity.

But if we are to be limited to a special trip model... I'd really love to see the idea of making the
market a weeknight in town destination event with other attractions. It really could work.
We're not going to replicate SLO overnight but it's a good goal to work toward.




LINK to more pics
Attached Thumbnails
Produce available locally-slofmas.jpg   Produce available locally-slo-fm.jpg  

Last edited by MrRational; 07-30-2013 at 10:31 AM..
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:52 PM
 
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If you want a farmers market like the one pictured, you'd probably have to go to Asheville.
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