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July 14, 2006

'Foothills Fresh' boosts locally grown options for consumers

Foothills Fresh logo

One of the best ingredients of summer is tasty, fresh, locally grown produce. For consumers in the Charlotte region, the options for locally grown food have just been boosted by the launch of "Foothills Fresh." North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties is instrumental in this local food initiative, helping small farmers in the four-county area market their fresh produce, farm products and agricultural tourism.

To kick off the new initiative and to celebrate the scrumptious tastes of summer, Foothills Fresh will offer farm tours and special events from 8 am until 1 pm on Saturday, July 29. Ten of the more than 30 farms will participate. Events hosted on the farms will include cooking demonstrations, food sampling, children and youth activities, tours and food safety information provided by North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

The farms for this summer tour are: Bird Brain Ostrich Ranch and Greasy Branch Gardens in Catawba County; Knob Creek Farm and Creamery and Lineberger’s Killdeer Farm in Cleveland County; Apple Orchard Farm and Oakridge Farm of Gaston County; Davis and Son Orchard & Cidermill, Houser Farms, Webb’s Orchard, and Woodmill Winery in Lincoln County.

For a directory of the 34 farms, markets, and agricultural tourism sites, and a list of featured summertime produce, other products and location and direction information, visit www.foothillsfresh.com. Call a North Carolina Cooperative Extension Center in Lincoln, Catawba, Cleveland and Gaston counties or pick up a Foothills Fresh directory at a farmers’ market, farm, library or chamber of commerce office in any of these four counties. Gaston County Farm Bureau is sponsoring the publication of the brochures this year.

Like most "buy-local" campaigns, Foothills Fresh touts the economic benefits to local communities by buying from neighbors. In addition to the economic pluses, Foothills Fresh helps the community preserve small family farms and the rural landscape. Foothills Fresh also encourages the public to increase their daily intake of fruits and vegetables and to sample the variety grown locally. Buying local produce assures a customer that the items are the freshest, most nutritious food.

For more information, contact Leigh Guth, Lincoln County family and consumer sciences agent, at 704.736.8462.

Posted by Natalie at July 14, 2006 09:53 AM