Clayton Rawl Farms adds sales staff

Two salesmen are now on staff for Clayton Rawl Farms at the South Carolina State Farmers Market in Charleston.

Mark Dinovo and Hoy Nichols are based at the market and handle the wide variety of commodities that the Lexington, S.C.-based Clayton Rawl Farms grows.

Chris Rawl, president of the family operation, said since its opening in fall 2010 the new location for the market has proven to be easier to work in but he hasn’t seen much of a bump in overall sales.


Business Updates: Carolina ProduceFarm Fresh redesigns sweet potato boxes

Steven Ceccarelli has been working to carve a sweet potato niche for Farm Fresh Produce, Faison, N.C., for several years and for the coming season he hopes a new box design will help set his potatoes apart from others.

“We are looking to differentiate between our products for the U.S./Canadian markets and other foreign markets,” said Ceccarelli’s wife, Bethany Ceccarelli.

The family-owned operation has a large sweet potato export business in Europe, which is courted with two booths at the Fruit Logistica show this year in Berlin.

The new 40-pound box is in the final design phase and is expected to be ready for this year’s crop.

Farm Fresh Produce grows and markets several sweet potato varieties, including beauregard, nema gold, jewel, georgia red, jersey velvets and covington. The company offers U.S. extra No. 1, U.S. No. 1, U.S. commercial and U.S. No. 2 grades.


North Carolina offers new report for growers

Growers in North Carolina should be better able to track some of their expenses and make more informed decisions with the help of a new report available from the state’s agriculture department and the federal Market News Service.

The weekly reports, released on Fridays, cover fertilizer and diesel costs, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Prices for six types of fertilizers as well as information on diesel costs are included in the reports.

“The data is collected from various dealers to compile a price range and average in order to protect the anonymity of individual dealers,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in the release. “With the planting season underway, this information will be especially timely for growers.”

Stephen Beasley at the state ag department is overseeing the reports, which are available at


Business Updates: Carolina ProduceNorth Carolina chefs told to ‘Dig Into Local’

To promote use of the state’s fresh fruits and vegetables in the restaurant industry, the North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is challenging chefs to “Dig Into Local.”

The 90-day challenge asks chefs to create as many menu options as they can using North Carolina products, according to a news release from the department.

“This 90-day challenge is a great opportunity for local chefs to connect with local farmers and for consumers to sample the wide variety of foods grown in the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in the release.

“We want consumers to know that whether they are shopping in a supermarket or eating at a restaurant, they can always find fresh and delicious North Carolina products.”

The challenge runs from June 1 through Aug. 31. Judges will rate restaurants on their creations with the winner receiving a customized marketing package to use in its area.


Charlotte Farmers Market gets new manager

The man responsible for taking a New York farmers market from 70% occupancy to 100% is now at the helm of the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market in North Carolina.

The new manager, Fred Cole, has worked in the produce industry for decades and served on the board of the National Association of Produce Markets, according to a news release from the North Carolina agriculture department.

He previously worked as the general manager of the Capital District Cooperative Inc., a farmers market in Menands, N.Y., where he brought occupancy to 100% during his tenure. At that 28-acre market he also oversaw renovations to improve food safety measures.

By staff writer Coral Beach