NC Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services—Steve Troxler, Commissioner Got To Be NC July 2020 Newsletter
Free webinars for growers interested in selling to military Three free webinars will be held in July and August to answer specific questions related to selling ag products to military retail, dining
halls and nutritional and development programs. Each program will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and focus on a specific area within the military. July 22 - Retail Food Opportunities July 29 – Dining Halls Aug. 5 – Nutritional Research and Development
Registration and more details are here.
The webinars are offered through a partnership with the NCDA&CS Marketing Division, the N.C. Military Business Center
and the N.C. Defense Technology Transition Office.
Registration open for Made in NC Awards
Registration is now open for Our State Magazine’s annual Made in NC Awards. Entry and submission of products for the 2020 Made in NC Awards ends Aug. 12. Products compete in five categories: Food, Drink, Style, Craft, and Home & Garden. Judges will choose one winner and two honorable mentions for each category. Winners will be announced Sept. 30.
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An Xtreme duo: Gastonia father-son team find success
Bret and Elijah Morey, the father-son team behind Elijah’s Xtreme Gourmet Sauces, have been turning up the heat with their hot sauces since 2014. They started selling at local farmers markets and competing in hot sauce competitions. In a short time, they have won 55 awards and can now be found in more than 1,100 retail locations in 49 states. The Xtreme duo attributes most of their success to working hard, not being afraid to adjust and correct things that need to be corrected, and always looking for ways to improve.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave them an opportunity to do just that. The company adopted new online sales channels and invested in online advertising. As a result, they say their online sales have doubled. After six years of operating out of their garage, Elijah’s Xtreme Gourmet Sauces is moving to a warehouse with a dock to have more space to work. This is a huge step and accomplishment for the business. Bret and Elijah’s next goal is to build their own building. The Moreys offer this advice for those looking to start or grow a business, “Do your homework, understand your market and fill a need. Don’t just do something because it looks like a great idea or because you see others doing it and why not? Be passionate! Work through the difficulty. And work hard. I learned long ago that success is failure turned inside out. Keep trying. Keep working. And Keep believing!” Member News Micro Summit Processors (Micro) has increased slaughter and processing capabilities for both USDA and custom livestock with appointments now available. Micro Summit Processors specializes in cattle, pigs, lambs and goats. Watauga Butchery-- a collaboration between beef producers, the NC Cooperative Extension and Coles Meat Processing to process local beef—will open by July 15. Email or call 828-264-3061 for more information. Bastini Farms (Winston-Salem) is introducing 50-ml glass bottles of its balsamic and extra virgin olive oil for use in “to-go” meals and on tabletops for restaurant customers to take home. Elizabeth’s Pecans opened a new store on Hwy. 24 in Turkey. In addition to its products, the store will carry local, North Carolina, Southern, Patriotic/Veteran and Made in U.S.A. food items and gifts. Rising Smoke Sauceworks has introduced two new products: Fiery Q, its spiciest BBQ sauce with blackberries and smoked Carolina Reapers; and “It,” a cayenne table sauce with garlic and roasted red peppers. Carolina Gold Oils (Harrellsville), a producer of specialty sunflower oil, was featured in N.C. Field & Family. Sunshine Lavender Farm (Hurdle Mills), run by NCDA&CS agritourism marketing specialist Annie Baggett and her family, was also featured in N.C. Field & Family. Carolina Dry Ice (Pittsboro) provides solutions to the food and beverage, life science and pharmaceutical industries, including safe transport of food products to customers, hemp extractions and equipment cleaning.
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The 11 th Annual Good Food Awards entry period has opened to specialty food producers through the end of the month. New sub-categories this year include bacon, candy, fresh and filled pasta, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, jerky, cookies and baked goods, and CBD and Adaptogen drinks. Cost is $78 per entry and companies may submit up to three entries per category (except 2 for coffee).
Lisa Meeting (owner of Cafe Frutta Fresca Gelato) is adding a retail section to her business and plans to add a farmers market to her property. She is looking for locally made, all-natural products and produce for their retail store. Items of interest are N.C. natural: honey, soaps, lotions, candles, all-natural candies (gummy bears, hard candy sticks, etc.) and naturally grown/organic produce. She is also interested in some N.C. souvenir type items for her shop. Anyone interested in wholesaling to Lisa can contact her at 910-741-4300 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Up to 70 discounted vendor spaces are available to Got To Be NC and N.C. Specialty Foods Association members at MumFest 2020 (New Bern) on Oct. 10-11. The reduced cost is $100 for a 10’ x 10’ space, which will include electricity. Additional spaces are $75. Deadline to apply is Sept. 25 . Contact Margaret at email@example.com for more information and to request an application.
A free international sales consultation is available from the Export Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).
Food Entrepreneur Expo offers new digital experience
The first-ever digital Food Entrepreneur Expo will be held as part of the Trends and Innovations web series presented by Food Business News on Aug. 26 and will feature the latest innovation from emerging brands. Registrants will receive a curated box of 10-15 ready-to-eat, shelf-stable product samples representing leading industry trends. A live webinar will showcase the founders behind the brands, while viewers may taste and vote for the best product. Four free, 30-minute digital presentations by industry thought leaders on e-commerce, plant protein and consumer eating patterns are part of the Expo.
Registration is $85 and closes July 15 .
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Upcoming Events Event information is current as of the end of June. Because of changing developments and regulations, be sure to check with event organizers for the most current information.
CLICK HERE to stay up to date on NCDA&CS events, workshops, field days, and services
July 13- Aug. 17
First session of a free, online Agricultural Veterans (AGVET) training program begins, consisting of two independent 6-week long sessions on starting a successful business in agriculture. The program is open to ALL military members within North Carolina (active duty, reservist, retirees, veterans and spouses). The second session is Aug. 25- Oct. 27 . Registration is required. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application or call 252-617-2848.
Business Headshots Sessions, NCDA&CS offices, Raleigh. NCDA&CS is sponsoring free mini-headshot sessions for business marketing materials or social media profiles. Contact Sherry Barefoot at Sherry.Barefoot@ncagr.gov to schedule your session or for more information.
Very good supply of NC produce forecast for July Nick Augostini, Assistant Director, Horticulture & Seafood - email@example.com
July is upon us and what better time of year is there for my favorite fruits -- N.C. melons. Melons were among the earliest plants to be domesticated in both the Old and New Worlds; they were among the first crop species brought to the Americas. Early European settlers in the New World are recorded as growing honeydew and casaba melons as early as the 1600s. Watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews and other specialty melons begin around the first of July and peak the third week of the month. You will find both seedless and seeded watermelons, Athena cantaloupes, honeydews and specialty melons like the Piel de Sapo or Santa Claus, Canary, Casaba and Crenshaw Melon to name a few. You will find these melons at roadside stands, farmers markets and grocery stores.
Other fruits and vegetables available during July are apples, butterbeans, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, collards, figs, garlic, green onions, kale, nectarines, okra, peaches, pears, snap beans, yellow squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini. Growers in general are having a hard time finding adequate labor. However, most of the growers in the state have a large enough labor pool and work together to ensure that the crops are taken care of in a timely fashion. N.C. growers use the latest in post-harvest technology and constantly adhere to GAP and safety measures. Consequently, we expect a very good supply of fruits and vegetables this July.
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Local farms and food are moving online Annie Baggett, Agritourism Marketing Specialist
“Knowing where your food comes from” has long been a value held close by those who buy local foods. Since late March, for many consumers, a lot of that food has been coming from the digital marketplace. In this time period, one-third of U.S. households have ordered groceries or food online, about twice the number seen in late 2019. Meanwhile as we aim to stay integrated within our communities while physically distanced, demand for local food has increased markedly in that same time period. Trends in Google searches indicate that consumers in North Carolina have been searching for far more CSAs, local farms, local food and produce boxes. Local food sourcing excels at short supply chain and low-contact pickups, which have generated new interest in direct-to-consumer sales. Despite decreases in sales to restaurants, which may slowly bounce back as North Carolina continues its gradual reopening, many smaller farms are reporting as much as a doubling of interest in CSA boxes and preordered sales at farmers markets.
With people shopping online for groceries more frequently, farmers have been pushed to adapt to this digital marketplace to broaden customer access. In many cases, the appeal of local agriculture has been the relationships people build with farmers in physical spaces: farm stands, farmers markets, even directly on the farm. Thus, online presence was not always a given pre-pandemic. Thankfully, local agriculture in many cases has shown itself to be nimble, adaptable, and most importantly, interested in gaining traction in digital spaces. In an article with Civil Eats, Hannah Dankbar of N.C. State Univerity’s Cooperative Extension pointed to its two webinars on putting farm products online, both of which drew over 300 attendees. Meanwhile, virtual tools to connect growers to individual consumers have proliferated nationwide. Some act as a virtual marketplace, while others act as a resource to show consumers where to find nearby farms, like the Visit NC Farms app, sponsored by the NCDA&CS and expanding statewide now. Ultimately, these tools are providing support to agribusinesses in online sales and online marketing. Each tool is a major piece in helping the local food system adapt to a COVID-19 economy. The hope? That with enough support, farm-fresh food keeps pace with the rapid growth in interest in both local foods and online grocery shopping. SUSTA Columbia Virtual Trade Mission Meet Colombian buyers from the comfort of your home during our Colombia Virtual Trade Mission! Participation in this mission includes a market research report on one of your products, a market briefing on current market conditions and virtual meetings with buyers. Colombia is the leading destination of U.S. agricultural products in South America. In 2019, U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia were valued nearly at $2.7 billion. Trade has expanded more than 160% as a result of the U.S. - Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, signed in 2012. To learn more register here!
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NC Specialty Foods offers online event series this summer This summer, the N.C. Specialty Foods Association will offer a series of online events designed to help members learn and grow in this time of change. Each event will be a live, interactive format using the Amazon Chime video platform. Sessions are scheduled on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. The virtual lobby will open for networking at 11:30 a.m. and stay open until 1:30 p.m. Following are a list of scheduled programs with more being planned:
July 15 - Diversity and Inclusion for Small Businesses July 29 - Handling Decision Anxiety in Today’s Changing World Aug. 12 - Facebook Advertising 101
To register for any of the events, go to https://ncspecialtyfoods.org/summer-conference/
Can customers find you on GTBNC website?
The redesigned Got To Be NC website is live. Members need to verify and update their member profiles today. Search the name of your business to confirm if your company has been imported to our Find Local directory. If your company is listed, select it, hit search and it will take you to the form to update your existing profile. For current members not listed, you are still a member , but we need you to fill out our new online application to update your profile. This application feeds our new member profile center and the Find Local directory. The application
takes just 10 minutes to fill out.
This will provide NCDA&CS staff with the details and information needed to serve you better. For information on the Got To Be NC website or membership criteria, contact Jamie Hall, Got To Be NC marketing manager. The fastest and most efficient way for us to capture updated information on our members for the new Find Local directory is to have you fill out a new online application.
NCDA&CS Marketing Contacts
Got To Be NC is the official marketing program for North Carolina agriculture
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601 919-707-3100