Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Farmers Fresh Market coming to Asheville and Hendersonville


Asheville and Hendersonville are the newest additions to the Farmers Fresh Market delivery system along with the following North Carolina counties:
·         Rutherford
·         Polk
·         Cleveland
·         McDowell
·         Gaston
·         Buncombe
·         Mecklenburg

Farmers Fresh Market (by Foothills Connect Business and Technology Center) is a virtual “Farmers Market” linking growers, chefs and individual buyers.  Once orders are placed online, local growers process them and Farmers Fresh Market delivers them – picked and shipped within 24 hours!  The goal of the program is to provide the freshest and most flavorful local produce in a convenient and sustainable manner.

The delivery system will begin making deliveries to Asheville and Hendersonville.  Restaurants, resorts, caterers, corporate and neighborhood buying clubs and individuals can order online from farmers in Rutherford County.

Contact Travis Edgerton at ffmmanager@foothillsconnect.com for more information.

What is Foothills Connect?

Foothills Connect Business and Technology Center, a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation, is a Rural Economic Development organization which seeks to develop entrepreneurship within Rutherford County, North Carolina through the extensive use of technology, particularly broadband based information systems, i.e. the Internet. (Learn more at www.foothillsconnect.com)

To fulfill this mission, Foothills Connect first had to analyze the challenges posed by the county:
·         Between 1995 and 2006, Rutherford County, population of 69,000 lost approximately 6000 jobs to the process of globalization, devastating the formerly robust textile and furniture manufacturing economies in the region.
·         Due to its rural nature, more than 85% of the county’s geographic area does not have access to high speed internet.
 
Other hand, Rutherford County has several very strong opportunities because of its location:
·         Charlotte, North Carolina is less than 70 miles away from Rutherford County
·         Much of Rutherford County sits in a temperature inversion plateau known as the Isothermal Belt, where a very long growing season is possible
·         Charlotte is the second fastest growing financial center in the Southeast
·         While Charlotte currently has only 10,000 residents living in its Central Business District (CBD), known as Uptown, within 5 years, planners expect 110,000 residents living within the CBD.

… And why Farmers Fresh Market?

Since restaurants were having a difficult time procuring, through traditional sources, the fresh food demanded by this new, upscale, and quality driven crowd, an innovative food source was needed to fill the demand. Foothills Connect surmised that an Internet based food exchange that linked buyers and sellers could possibly open up an entirely new market – a new fresh food paradigm.

Thus, the Farmers Fresh Market initiative was born - a program that links buyers demanding locally grown, fresh food products with food producers from the nearby North Carolina foothills. Not only does it provide delicious, healthful, and flavorful food to consumers, but it provides an opportunity for economic advancement in rural communities and supports the Appalachian agrarian tradition.

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