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Saturday, February 4, 2012

City of Hickory Bits and Pieces - February 4, 2012

This was provided by one of the followers to the Hickory Hound:
I was curious and asked myself: how many of these farmers grow in Catawba County? Out of 38 vendors listed on the HFM website, I confirmed 8 of them (21%) grow or prepare products in Catawba County.

Anna’s Sweet Treats - ?
John H. Bigelow Photography - Mt. Pleasant, NC
Beam Family Farm - Lawndale, NC
Bluebird Farm - Morganton, NC
Blue Ridge Apiaries - Hudson, NC
Childers Farm - Whittier, NC
Coto Family Farms - Vale, NC
Crane/Herbville Farm - Granite Falls and Lenoir, NC
Crowe’s Produce - Morganton, NC
Daphine & Sons Asparagus Farm - ?
Davis and Son Orchard - Lawndale, NC
Diane’s Bakery - Hickory, NC
The Dog House - ?
Donna Wood - ?
Farmer's Daughter - Taylorsville, NC
Gayle’s Gardens - Caser, NC
Hoffman Farms - Lincolnton, NC
Ed Huss - ?
Interior's by Betsy - ?
Jerry Harris - ?
Richard Hill Farm - Lawndale, NC
Keller's Gourd Barn Crafts - Cornelius, NC
Lisa’s Baked Goods - Hickory, NC
Living Greener Days - Hickory, NC
Mills Garden Herb Farm - Statesville, NC
Muddy Creek Mushroom Farm - Morganton, NC
Nancy Jaeger - ?
O My Soap! - Newton, NC
Open Hearts Bakery - Morganton, NC
Raby’s Greenhouse - Hickory, NC
Ripshin Goat Dairy - Lenoir, NC
Rock House Farm - Morganton, NC
Setzer’s Nursery - Claremont, NC
Sipe Angus Farm - Claremont, NC
Snyder Family Farm - Granite Falls, NC
Summer Fresh Flowers - Newton, NC
Tumbling Shoals Farm - Millers Creek, NC
Whippoorville Farms - Hickory, NC

I was unable to find addresses for the other 8 (21%) of vendors.

A friend who is a chef in Atlanta, who is from here, left me a note when I asked about his thoughts on this issue.
This is a HUGE movement here in Atlanta too. Many of the more upscale restaurants buy from local, state, and regional growers, dairies, and farms. I would support anyone that offers a quality product or service that is produced as close as the ones you have listed here. Hickory's business community in general could try this as common practice and enjoy numerous benefits.

I asked Harry about his thoughts
Personally, if these folks are in our "region" I wouldn't quibble too much about, though Mt Pleasant and Whittier seem a bit far. My beef is with folks that farm at MDI then sell it. By the way, it seems that we didn't have too much trouble finding $140K to fix up 5 tennis courts. I have no problem with tennis courts, they aren't pools after all - (sic). HH

The Hound thinks this shows that we aren't focusing the farmer's market on local farmers per se, as some have (mis)led us to believe. In December, when a couple of threads were devoted to this issue, we were led on communicative ramblings that insinuated that the market was being limited in size and scope to help maintain price levels to make the marketplace function profitably for the local farmer/vendors. I don't know exactly how much of what Harry is stating about reselling from corporate purveyors is going on, but it would most definitely be interesting to have that proven and quantified. But aren't most of these purveyors going around a regional circuit? Going to 4 (or more) sites a week to sell their goods.

What our friend from Atlanta endorses is exactly what we have talked about on this very blog. And when we see the geography of where these vendors are homebased, then it shows that what we are discussing/proposing is already reality to a great extent. The only thing inhibiting the possibility of growth of this marketplace are the usual forces that have determined that everything must revolve around Union Square and their personal interests.

Take the leash off and Hickory will grow. This is the 10,000 pound gorilla. This is what is killing our local economy. And very few say anything about it and even fewer do anything about it.

Speaking of which, In an article on WHKY's website entitled Five City Tennis Courts to Close for Repair - 2/3/2012
Five City of Hickory tennis courts will close on Monday, February 6, while the courts are rebuilt over the next few months.

Tennis courts one through five at Hickory City Park, 1515 12th Street Drive N.W., will be closed, but the lower courts (six through eight) will remain open throughout the construction process. Construction is expected to continue through April.

The tennis courts designated for repair were built in the late 1970s and have severe cracks and splits. The cost to rebuild the courts is $140,000 and will include a new asphalt surface, along with new posts and nets.

The City has a total of 17 tennis courts. The remaining 12 will continue to be open for play.

The City will have a Dog and Pony show about the YMCA swimming initiative at this week's City Council meeting. The Mayor talks about this issue of kids learning how to swim. That's great, but the bigger issue is a focused program of Aquatic Recreation, Leisure, Sports, Exercise, and Rehabilitation. Where are these kids going to swim? Their toilet bowl?

If you want to hear the propaganda, then I suggest you be there, because if they don't address any relevant issues relating to getting an aquatic center built in Hickory, then I won't be writing about it on this blog. The YMCA is a good place for people who can afford it and don't talk to me about scholarships, that isn't affording it and the YMCA is already overcrowded. I'm going to be at the City Council meeting to report on happenings that impact your life. I'm not a subservient mindnumbed trick pony programmed to regurgitate nonsense.

1 comment:

harryhipps said...

I don't think that farmers coming from some adjacent area are a problem. In fact, if we don't get smarter about land use the farms will probably shrink in number so we can put up more strip malls. The idea is that we support local (and regional) farmers, help the environment by not having the produce trucked from California or Mexico and hopefully better produce quality.

The better produce quality comes from the produce ripening naturally rather than being picked early so it will survive the transportation. Also, some produce is now bred for durability rather than taste or nutrition which is why you get the flavorless tomato and so on. Hopefully, the farmers, being our local neighbors will be a little more concerned about the varieties grown, and growing methods. If not completely organic then, at least somewhat more discerning with their use of pesticides and fertilization.

Retail sales are one option for the farmer, direct sales to restaurants are another. The isothermal area, around Polk and Rutherford counties do a good job of pooling their transportation needs to market to Charlotte. We could certainly expand the agricultural opportunities around here. There are even more options with winter crops and even some farmers that work with international producers to package and distribute food grown in other areas.

Agriculture is sometimes seen as a backward, no opportunity business of yesteryear. But the average age of a farmer is now 58 and younger folks aren't rushing into agriculture as a career. With a growing population and more stresses on land and water coming, it would be wise to reconsider our land and water use and look at this as an opportunity.