“Local” means “regional” in the Carolinas, as far as marketing fresh fruits and vegetables goes, suppliers and marketers say.
“North Carolina growers and (the North Carolina Department of Agriculture) do a great job in promoting North Carolina products to all retailers, foodservice and the customers of North Carolina products through advertising, social media, billboards,” said Matt Solana, vice president of operations/supply chain with Autryville, N.C.-based Jackson Farming Co.
Definitions of what constitutes “locally grown” can — but don’t have to — include product from North Carolina and South Carolina, Solana said.
“Some encompass both states and some based on their definition do not,” he said. “By and large, customers also have their own definition, depending on where they live in a state. The closer to a border, the more acceptance for local to be both states.”
South Carolina can approach “local” from a “regional” perspective, said Kyle Tisdale, marketing specialist with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.
“So far this year, we have attended several trade shows across the Southeast to promote the South Carolina peach industries and keep the retail buyers up to date on what we have and what to expect,” Tisdale said.
The buy local movement has embraced South Carolina suppliers, Tisdale said.
“It has increased sales across the state as a whole,” he said. “South Carolinians know and love peaches, so it’s an easy sell when we want them to purchase them from our local farmers. Our biggest goal is to help the consumers that want to buy local find the local places near them.”
The local deal is considered a regional event at WP Rawl, a Pelion, S.C.-based vegetable grower-shipper, said Ashley Rawl, sales director.
Local retailers and restaurants promote product grown nearby, Tisdale said.
“They really focus on identifying local product when they have it in stock,” he said.
Retailers use the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s “Certified SC Grown” marketing campaign to identify loBoth Carolinas are considered “local markets” for each state, Tisdale said.
Tommy Fleetwood, advisor to the North Carolina Potato Association, agreed.
“Locally grown has surely helped market products,” he said.