impact pandemic farm fresh

Local farmers are motivated more than ever to provide wholesome and nutritious food for the community rising above the challenges presented by the new coronavirus pandemic.

Small farmers are increasing their production and upping their availability game. Inventive farmers have begun a mobile farm business.  More farmers are joining online app companies such as Barn2Door, MeatSuite, and some have joined co-ops and farmers’ markets.

Moore County is home to four farmers’ markets with a wide range of fresh meats, cheeses, honey, breads, and fresh produce.

Local farmers in or near Moore County may have a better opportunity of joining the newest market, the Moore County Health Department Farmers’ Market.

“Buying direct from farmers has been a trend for a couple of years and we see it in Durham but see it more now with COVID-19 since the disruption in the market system. To me, one of the few silver linings is that it is bringing attention to family farms to spur growth and preserve farms,” Moore County Agriculture Extension Services Director Deborah McGiffin said.

Nielsen reported that consumers are stocking up “pandemic pantries” instead of purchasing fresh produce and fresh meats.

Added salts and heat preservation methods mean reduced nutrients.

Building the body’s defense systems requires the antioxidants found in fresh foods.

McGiffin said that “the sooner the harvest, the greater the nutrients.”

Slaughterhouses continue to close across America because they are breeding grounds for COVID-19 infections. Directly after China’s new coronavirus pandemic hit the news in December 2019, the stock market crashed for alternative fake meat such as Beyond Meat. But as the shortage of fresh real meat grew, the demand for fresh fake meat grew to a whopping 264% according to The Wall Street Journal and the stocks for fake meat manufacturers grew.

Local farmers are also “growing.”

Matthew Parker of Terrace Ridge Farm in Carthage offers fresh wholesome beef direct to consumers.

“We’re working now to quadruple our beef production to meet the needs of a concerned public while still maintaining our high standards of quality pasture-raised beef that is not fed antibiotics and not given added hormones,” fourth-generational farmer Parker said.

The pandemic has also spurred controversial new legislation for a change in federal law called the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act (PRIME Act H.R. 2859/S.1620). It would repeal the ban on sale of meat processed by custom slaughterhouses that meet state regulations and basic federal requirements.

Currently, the three types of slaughterhouses are custom exempt, North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) inspected plants and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected plants. A farm that is NCDA inspected can sell inspected meat from the farm’s freezer by the cut, quarter, or half. USDA and state inspected slaughterhouses are equal in terms of regulations.

“All the PRIME Act would likely do (as applied only to NC, since it may have different effects in states without such robust state inspection systems) would be to increase the proportion of non-inspected meat being sold and do nothing to increase the amount of quality local beef that is delivered to consumers,” Parker said. “As someone who has worked in agriculture and food production my whole life, I know that the only way to have a truly secure food system is to have a diffuse yet integrated production system that relies on a large number of resilient locally and nationally owned small and medium-sized farms.  If America hasn’t learned this lesson by virtue of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m terrified to think what more it will take.”

Here is a list of several nearby farmers and venues selling fresh and local farm goods to the public:

Terrace Ridge Farm – 272 Ring Road Carthage, NC; (910) 639-8115 customers seen by appointment.


Fairway Farm- 274 Wood River Road West End NC; 910-528-6834

Blueberries can be purchased on-site by appointment.’ Products: blueberries.


Johnson Family Produce & General Store- 407 US-15 501, Carthage, NC; 919-499-3553; Mon-Fri 9am – 7pm; Sat 8-6; Closed Sundays;; Products: variety of seasonal produce & products.


Kalawi- 1515 NC Hwy 211 Eagle Springs NC; 910-673-5996

Mon-Sat 9-7; Sun 12-7; April 6-Nov 30;; Products: peaches, strawberries, pine straw, melons, variety of produce.


KarFree Produce- 4680 US Hwy 15-501 Carthage NC; 910-947-3825

Tues-Fri 9-5; Sat 9-3;; Products: strawberries, variety of locally grown products & products.


Ken Chappell- 672 NC Hwy 211 Eagle Springs NC; 910-673-3375

Will open in June with peaches, Mon-Sat 8-5; call or go to website to find out opening date;; Products: apples, peaches, variety of produce.


White Hill Farms- 5030 S Plank Road Cameron NC; 910-783-8552

Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 8am-4pm;; Products: asparagus, strawberries, melons, variety of seasonal produce.


C V Pilson Farms-108 CVP Lane Cameron NC; 910-245-4285

Mon-Fri 9-6; Sat 9-5;; Products: strawberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes variety of seasonal produce, and more.


Highlander Farms-5784 NC Hwy 22 Carthage NC; 910-947-5831

Check Facebook or call for hours;; Products: strawberries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, greens variety of seasonal produce, and more.


Carter Farms-285 Robert Road, Eagle SpringsNC 27242; (910) 673-2666

Call for hours open; Products: strawberries; variety of seasonal produce.


Old Carthage Farms- 2270 US Hwy 15-501 Carthage NC; 919-353-0179

Hours: Contact Farm;; Products: certified organic strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, tomatoes and flowers.


Eagle’s Nest Berry Farm-1556 Currie Mill Road Jackson Springs NC; 910-639-3966

Hours: Contact farm;; Products: blackberries, blueberries, greens variety of seasonal produce, and more.


James Creek Cider House- 172 US Hwy 1 Cameron NC; 910-695-5480

Thurs. 4:00-7:00 pm; Fri. & Sat. 1:00-7:00 pm; Sun. 1:00-5:00 pm;; Products: apples, pears, blueberries, grapes, cider, and wine.


Blueberries of Cameron-1171 US Hwy 1, Cameron, NC 28326; 910-366-3310

Open Late June – July/August. Call for hours. 910-366-3310; Products: blueberries.


Happy Goat Ranch- 1508 US Hwy 15-501 Carthage NC; 910-315-2058

Mon-Sat 8-6; Sun 1-6; Products: strawberries, variety of seasonal produce.


Misty Morning Ranch- 2812 Plank Road Robbins NC; 910-216-4789

Hours: contact farm;; Products: ostrich meat, ostrich products; pasture raised chicken and rabbit.


Paradox Farm Creamery- 449 Hickory Creek Lane West End NC; 910-723-0802

Farm Store Open Wed & Sat 10-2;; Products: fresh & aged goat cheese, goat soap, chickens.


CaroKen Farm-208 Drummond Road Carthage NC; 910-986-6900

Hours: contact farm;; Products: free range chickens & eggs, duck eggs, honey, flowers, jams & jellies.


MacC’s Family Farm- 340 Michael Road Whispering Pines NC; 910-691-3518

Contact farm; Products: variety of seasonal heirloom vegetables.


Black Rock Vineyards & Winery- 6652 US-15, Carthage, NC; 910-295-9511

Thurs-Sat 11-6; Sun 1-6;; Products: artisan wines produced from grapes grown in vineyard, variety of locally produced products.

Courtesy feature photo: Matthew Parker of Terrace Ridge Farm in Carthage working the farm with his son.

Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.

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