New River Organic Growers (NROG) is pleased to announce the opening of their first distribution facility in Ashe County
A nonprofit farmers co-op established in 2000, NROG has, until now, worked as a pick-up-and-delivery operation, according to Executive Director Caleb Crowell. Meat and produce was taken directly from farmers to buyers on a route system.
“We’ve got a refrigerated truck we bought with a Tobacco Trust Fund grant,” Crowell said. “But, with this facility, we will be have receiving hours.”
Located at 9290-B US 221 in Fleetwood, the 2000 square-foot space will house a walk in cooler/freezer and NROG’s office space, he said. Two roll-up doors will permit farmers delivering their products to back in for easy unloading.
With the ability to efficiently receive, store and distribute High Country farm products at a central location comes an expanded sales territory, Crowell said. “This adds Winston-Salem to our feasibility.”
Currently there are over 55 farms providing produce, eggs, cheese and meat to the cooperative, he said. Participating farms are located in Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes, Allegheny, Burke and Yancey counties, and Grayson County, Va.
New River Organic Growers sells to over 70 buyers which include restaurants, buyer’s clubs, retailers and wholesale buyers in Boone, Blowing Rock, Asheville, Morganton and Hickory, he said. Last year NROG had sales of $240,000 and is on track to increase those sales for 2013 by 70-100 percent.
“This distribution facility will also help us increase sales in winter months,” Crowell said. “We will be able to hold winter crops such as winter squash and potatoes.”
This year NROG has expanded its growers to include conventional farms, and has had a great deal of interest from local farmers, he said.
“We continue to need farmers in the High Country area as we have far more demand than products available,” he said.
Anyone interested in growing for or buying from NROG please contact Caleb Crowell at 828-773-1588.