Growing for the local market

By: Nancy Olsen - Bladen Extension Office

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County Cooperative Extension is hosting a series of workshops for homeowners and farmers on growing produce for the local market.

Whether you are a homeowner wanting to offset the cost of the garden by planting an extra couple of rows to sale at the local farmers’ market, or a farmer wanting to grow fruit and vegetables commercially, these workshops will help guide you to success.

The introductory training will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center, located at 450 Smith Circle Dr., Elizabethtown. At this training, we will discuss: selling at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, to grocery stores, and to restaurants. Also, we will discuss: What is GAP and do I need it?, what we need to do before the season starts, and some of our earliest planted crops.

Other workshops will follow. Currently, we have three additional dates scheduled:

— Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (lunch provided)

— Monday, Feb. 27, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

— Thursday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (lunch provided)

These workshops will discuss successfully growing the crop, pest management, marketing and pricing, packaging and presentation of produce, and post-harvest handling. Also, we will talk about: Is organic for me?, What is Food Safety?, and production of small fruits, tree fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Additional classes will be scheduled according to the interest of the group.

If you have interest in growing for the local market, and have the willingness to learn what steps you need to take for success, join us for these informative workshops! The Introductory training is free. All additional workshops are $5.00 per person per workshop; payment accepted at the door.

For registration, call Bladen County Extension at (910)862-4591 by 5:00 pm, the day prior to the event. If you have any questions, contact Nancy Olsen at or Bruce McLean at , or call the Bladen County Cooperative Extension office at 910-862-4591.

Nancy Olsen is the Bladen County agriculture agent. She can be reached by calling 910-862-4591.

Nancy Olsen

Bladen Extension Office