Recent Posts

North Carolina Strawberries

Strawberry season in North Carolina begins in April, and what better way to welcome the spring heat than with cool, fresh and nutritious locally grown strawberries. Did you know that N.C. ranks third in the U.S., with nearly 2,000 acres producing about 19 million pounds of strawberries each year? This delicious fruit accounts for roughly $18 million of annual farm income in N.C. Unlike other leading strawberry-producing states, almost all of the berries produced in North Carolina are sold for fresh market right here in the state - direct to consumers as Pick-Your-Own, at farm stands or to local supermarket chains. Visit the N.C. Strawberry Association to learn more.

Business Development Tools for Producers & Growers

Interested in building or expanding an agricultural business? A series of seven tools for assessing new agricultural business ideas has been developed to help evaluate your business endeavor.

Discovering Nature’s Possibilities – N.C. State University Seminar Series at the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building, N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.

Every Tuesday in May from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Join N.C. State University at the new N.C. Research Campus for a series of seminars that will introduce you to our scientists, staff and groundbreaking research in Kannapolis. Presentations will be delivered by our researchers and will provide the community with health, nutrition and produce safety information they can use to enhance their daily lives. These seminars have been developed for producers and consumers, so everyone is encouraged to attend!

The Produce Lady Has A New Blog!

The Produce Lady’s blog provides a personal look at locally grown foods, healthy recipes, N.C. farmers markets, produce videos and food safety practices.

North Carolina Eggs

Ranking 12th in egg production in the United States, North Carolina has over 8.5 million layers that produce over 6.5 million table eggs per day - that's more than 2.3 billion eggs each year. Eggs are North Carolina's 7th largest cash farm product. That’s a lot of potential Easter eggs! The North Carolina Egg Association represents egg producer members in the state of North Carolina. For more information, you can visit

Gary Bullen

Gary Bullen, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Program for Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture, supports new enterprise evaluation, business skills development and direct marketing initiatives at N.C. State University. Most recently, Gary has developed a set of Business Development Files to assist growers interested in starting or expanding an agricultural business. Please contact your Cooperative Extension agent to begin the step-by-step process in evaluating your agricultural business endeavor.

Dr. Michael Walden

Dr. Michael Walden, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, provides numerous helpful resources, including the N.C. Economic Outlook Series, You Decide, a biweekly newsletter, and Economic Perspective, a daily radio show. His NC State University faculty page includes information on state and county agribusiness values. Check it out here.

Poultry Industry

The poultry industry is a leading contributor to North Carolina’s agricultural economy. Broilers rank as the top commodity for the state with an annual production value of $2.2 billion. Wilkes County leads the state with more than 91 million broilers on farms. Learn more at

Sweet Potatoes

North Carolina is the number one producer of sweet potatoes in the United States. High in nutrition, the sweet potato is grown in 53 of the state's 100 counties, predominantly in the coastal plain region of North Carolina. More than $104 million, or 702 million pounds, of sweet potatoes are sold each year. For more information, visit

Sixth Annual Franklin County Farm Food & Craft Tour & LOCAL FOOD FESTIVAL

May 16 and 17, 2009, 11 a.m. through evening. On Saturday and Sunday, May 16 & 17, 2009, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., the public is invited to tour eight Franklin County farms in addition to attending the LOCAL FOOD Festival in the evening of May 16. A farm-related photography contest, youth fishing clinic and 5K Walk/Run will also be held on the weekend. For details on all the weekend events, visit or call Martha Mobley, Agricultural Extension Agent, at 919-496-3344. and

Value-Added Program Featured

Our programs are featured in the winter issue of Perspectives Magazine.

The Produce Lady Airs on Almanac Gardener

Watch The Produce Lady on UNC-TV’S Almanac Gardener this spring. N.C. Cooperative Extension agent and local foods expert, Brenda Sutton, will appear on upcoming shows. The Produce Lady is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

Message from the Director

Value-Added Team Relocates to North Carolina Research Campus at Kannapolis; Receives Recent Grants

New Farm Bill

The USDA provides detailed information on the new farm bill.

The Changing Face of North Carolina Agriculture

Dr. Blake Brown, director of the Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture, writes about North Carolina agriculture and how it has changed over the past two decades, the factors that drove the change and what this means for today’s farmers.

Tips That Help You Sell More at Market

If you’re a farmer that sells your products at a local market, how do you respond when a customer asks you how to prepare a certain food item? If your response is, “I don’t know, I just grow it!” then The Produce Lady can help you.

Who will grow our food?

Blake Brown, director of the Program for Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture, is quoted in a Raleigh News & Observer article on the next generation of farmers. Read more.

Fresh Produce Safety Train-the-Trainer Workshop Series

North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Fresh Produce Safety Task Force invite N.C. Cooperative Extension agents to fresh produce safety training. The intended audience includes agriculture, family & consumer science, and any other agents having an audience dealing with fresh produce production, harvesting, storing, transporting and marketing. 2009 Dates April 30 & May 1 – Mountain Horticultural Crop Research & Extension Center, Mills River (formerly known as Fletcher). Registration deadline is April 16.