We create economic opportunities for more than 50 small family farmers.
Selling to large markets can be difficult for small-scale, family farmers. Large grocery stores buy only large quantities and have specifications for processing that many small farmers are unable to meet individually. To address these difficulties, we aggregate produce from multiple farms so that our farmers can collectively meet large orders. We also work with farmers to process produce in our facility so that they have the infrastructure and support they need to ensure their produce meets the purchasers’ specifications.
TRACTOR member, Ryan Weibe says it best: “The biggest direct impact for me, is that it’s very hard for a small farm to access big markets or retail outlets like Ingles. Thanks to TRACTOR opening the door, our produce is being distributed out of [stores]. It would have been near impossible for me to build that relationship myself.”
We provide our farmers with training and resources.
Our farmers are trained to meet federal requirements for food handling and safety, have the opportunity to attend free seminars on production planning and post-harvest handling, and have access to shared use equipment and packaging facilities. Learn more about what we offer here.
We provide training to growers on:
- Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) to help farmers meet food safety requirements
- Production planning, pest and disease management
- Post harvesting handling
- Grading and packaging standards
- Season extension
We provide growers access to:
- A GAP certified and insured packing facility (including washing, packaging, and sorting equipment)
- Commercial refrigeration
- Farm equipment
- Packaging materials including grocery store PLU tags, bunch tags, and new wax boxes
- Produce delivery services
We ensure our buyers receive timely deliveries of safe and fresh local produce.
We are a GAP certified facility with product liability insurance, and we provide our buyers with professional invoicing and product traceability. We are a small operation allowing us to provide quality customer service—if something goes wrong, you can be sure to quickly speak with a real person to get things sorted out.
We help everyone have access to the freshest local produce.
Between 2013 and 2014 we tripled the amount of fresh produce we sell, and over the course of the season, we are proud to be able to offer 31 varieties of local fruits and vegetables to over 40 buyers. Produce that doesn’t meet grocery store criteria (e.g. a potato that is too small or too large) is donated to Reconciliation House which distributes food to families in need.
To find our produce, look for our label in area grocery stores and frequent area restaurants and catering business including Creekside Bakery and Café (Burnsville), Garden Deli (Burnsville), Snap Dragon (Burnsville), Mountain Air Country Club (Burnsville), Knife and Fork (Spruce Pine), The Pizza Shop & Dry County Brewing Co. (Spruce Pine), Stuart’s on the Green (Spruce Pine), HomeGrown (Asheville), and M7 Event Solutions (Asheville).
To find out what we have available now, check out Available Produce!
We also ensure:
- Product liability insurance
- Professional invoicing
- Product traceability
- Timely delivery and backhauling
- A GAP certified facility
TRACTOR’s work is a win-win for both farmers and consumers. Through providing support to small local farmers by aggregating and distributing their produce, we provide Western NC with access to the freshest local food.
By keeping the transactions local, we’re able to make sure 90% of our funds are reinvested in our local economy.
To confirm our 501(c)3 designation with the IRS, find our listing under our full name Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization Regional Inc.