An effort by New Bern city staff to start a farmer’s market at City Market on First Street was dealt a crippling blow on Friday when a key partner announced it is backing out of the plan.
The city was going after a $200,817 grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund to beef up plans to revitalize its old Electric Utility Yard on First Street. The plan, called the Volt Center, is well underway and includes a classroom area in partnership with Craven Community College. That much has been publicly known.
What wasn’t known outside tight circles around City Hall was a revived effort to start a 32-stall farmer’s market and a market café, with work starting Nov. 1. A “soft opening” was planned for the 2019 Holiday Season, with a full opening date sometime in spring 2020.
Key to the city’s grant application was its partnership with Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden, which would provide produce and other resources for the farmer’s market.
As of Friday, that partnership came to a screeching halt.
“It appears that the City of New Bern is going in a different direction on the project, therefore on behalf of the Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden Board of Directors and staff, we would like to formally remove our organization from the project,” said Lovay Wallace Singleton, executive director.
Singleton made the announcement at a mediated meeting of involved parties held at Craven Community College on Friday.
The meeting was held at the behest of a furious Ward 1 Alderman Sabrina Bengel, who announced at a Board of Aldermen meeting earlier this month that city staff was going behind her back with the new farmer’s market project.
New Bern Farmers Market on South Front Street. Google Street View image
“I find this to be a duplication of services already offered,” Bengel said in a letter to Singleton.
“The only reason I found out about it was that I was asked to attend a meeting with farmers (only two or three showed up) to discuss this grant. I was extremely upset about this because I had no idea this was moving forward. As I started to get more information it opened up lots of questions as to why we were doing this. I also learned that no one from our current Farmers market was included in these discussions nor anyone from Swiss Bear or the Catalyst Kitchen which is almost the same project as your proposed cafe.
“The discussions early on with the Farmers Market were that they were asked if they would move their operation to First Street. When their Board decided no, in my opinion talks led by the City should have started with them on how to enhance what they have at their current site and work with the partners identified in this grant. This is my reason for calling the meeting to have ALL the participants at the table. I started this conversation over a month ago and tried to get this meeting together prior to submitting the application but that did not happen.
“By opening another Farmers Market late this year for a soft opening and full on opening in April of 2020 will certainly cause economic harm to our current farmers market at a time when we need to do everything possible to help our economic engine downtown. With the closing of the Convention Center and now the hotel it would be better if we could work together to enhance the current market and all work together.
“… I do not want to hurt the EDA grant and am currently working to get the terms revised so that this property remains a training center run by the College in producing workers for the many important jobs needed in our area right now. I believe that should our first priority over creating another farmers market,” Bengel said.
Mayor Pro Tem and Ward 6 Alderman Jeffrey Odham has a different take.
“The plan and concept for the city market is the same as it has always been,” Odham said in an email to the Post. “It has been unanimously supported by the previous board and the current board each time there has been a vote regarding the concept. It is my understanding that one member of our board says they weren’t aware the kitchen/market was part of the plans; however, the blueprints have always included this aspect as has as the CNI (Choice Neighborhood Initiative) plan.
“The concept has garnered quite a bit of support through multiple grants and various groups/leaders throughout the region. Now that one of the key partners recently decided to leave, we lost quite a bit of funding with the exit of this partner.
“The direction of the board has been supportive of the plan. Until a majority of the board gives direction, staff will continue pushing forward. Individual board members going against the direction of a full board sets a dangerous precedent.”
Base Camp’s withdrawal was not just limited to its withdrawal from the plan. Its board plans to “advise those entities that we are no longer part of the project.”
That’s not all.
“In reference to the funding that we have received for the City Market, we will coordinate with the grantor to determine the returning or reallocation of their funds,” Singleton said in her letter.
The rub is that a city farmer’s market would compete with the existing New Bern Farmers Market on South Front Street.
Several years ago, the city approached the Farmers Market with the idea of moving to the City Market location. When the Farmers Market board rejected the idea, city staff started playing hardball, threatening to kick Farmers Market out of its city-owned venue.
Timing didn’t work out for City Hall, however. The lease expired right at election time 2017, and rather than face backlash from furious Farmers Market members and customers, city staff extended the lease for five years but increased rent from $1 to $500 a month. It is the only case of the city charging more than token rent to a non-profit to use city-owned property.
It would also increase traffic on Second Street by an estimated 200 trips per day to start. Second Street is a primarily residential street in the Ghent neighborhood where the city has said it has been working to decrease traffic. (Disclosure: Randy Foster, the author of this article, lives within the affected area and has complained to the city about traffic on Second Street.)
The old electric utility facility on First Street is both a problem and an opportunity for the city.
Derelict and probably contaminated due to decades of industrial use, it was quite likely the city would never be able to sell it off as surplus property. On the other hand, the facility has easy freeway access and is a blank canvas for what it could be used for.
City staff first proposed a farmer’s market, but lacking support from virtually anyone, plus heated opposition from the existing Farmers Market, the city backed off – at least openly.
Instead, it partnered with Craven Community College and began renovations of the main building at the old electric utility yard, branding it as the “Volt Center” with the plan to offer college courses there.
But behind the scenes, city staff never let go of the idea of creating a farmer’s market.
The city partnered with Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden and sought a grant to pay for improvements at the old utility yard to create the farmer’s market.
The city sought a $200,817 (and fifty-cent) grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund to begin work on a farmer’s market starting Nov. 1, with a completion date on April 15, 2020.
The deadline for the grant application was March 8. The city beat the deadline by two days.
According to a statement for the Volt Center contained within the grant application, “the mission of the Volt Center is to provide access to workforce development classes, as well as an incubator and commercial kitchen, farmers market and agricultural center focusing on direct sales to the City of New Bern.
“… New Bern seeks to attract public and private reinvestment in downtown and distressed neighborhoods by offering the kinds of amenities, including workforce development opportunities, that transforms communities. New Bern seeks to develop a public/private partnership with broadbased community support.”
Two things were key to the grant application: Base Camp involvement, and broadbased community support. It is doubtful the city ever had “broadbased community support,” and now it lacks Base Camp involvement, as well.
Other points in the application amount to stretches of truth if not flat-out lies.
The application claims that the Volt Center/City Market is in Downtown New Bern. It is not; it is a full mile from the edge of downtown.
There is no mention at all that the facility would compete with an established farmer’s market.
The city has been claiming an effort to decrease traffic on Second Street, when in reality it was working behind the scenes on a project that will significantly increase traffic.
And the application said a “Market Committee of farmers and area stakeholders has been established to advise the City on the process and start-up operations,” yet no one from the existing Farmers Market has been involved, nor was the alderman from one of two wards most affected by the project.
The list goes on. Here are some excerpts from the executive summary contained within the grant application:
The City Market, located at the renovated Volt Center (the City’s former utility complex), will be a modern facility incorporating a farmer’s market featuring 32 stalls, a market café and incubator kitchen and training space for workforce development and educational programs, City Market is a partnership between the City of New Bern, Craven Community College, Veteran’s Organic Garden and Craven County. As co-applicants, the City and CCC secured grant funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the Bate Foundation, and Golden Leaf Foundation to renovate and repurpose the Center as a training facility and farmer’s market. The farmer’s market space also includes a café that will provide kitchen space and serve as an incubator for start-up businesses ranging from bakeries to food trucks. The City asks the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to join with other community partners to complete the City Market project, a first of its kind in downtown New Bern, N.C.
Partnering with the Veterans Organic Garden, the City of New Bern seeks to create a farmer’s market that will highlight and support agribusiness in Craven, Carteret, Jones, and Pamlico Counties. This market will be a permanent, year-round farmer’s market offering selling opportunities for farmers Wednesday thru Saturday with the ability to accommodate 32 farmers. The City Market will provide local, healthy food to consumers of all income levels and will enrich the community with opportunities to increase farm receipts and other food sales, employment, and cultural as well as educational offerings. The market will charge a low rental rate (approximately $40 per week for 4 days of selling opportunities) for farmers, as to entice participation. City Market’s mission is to create and maintain a market that supports area farmers through increased exposure to the consumer and additional revenues from the direct sale of produce.
A wide variety of fresh products will help insure the success and sustainability of City Market. The Market seeks not only produce farmers, but seafood, dairy, and egg vendors as well. A Market Committee of farmers and area stakeholders has been established to advise the City on the process and start-up operations. Farmers will be involved in making decisions about hours of operation, setup and layout design, etc. A Market Manager will also be hired to oversee a point of sale, market and café operations and education and special event coordination. Thus, farmers will have significant input in the development of the Market prior to its opening. A “soft opening” of City Market is set for the 2019 Holiday Season. A Grand Opening with farmers selling to consumers is targeted for the Spring of 2020.
In addition to expanding and enhancing the economic strength and viability of Eastern NC farmers, City Market will contribute to the education of city and county residents. With its location within the newly repurposed Volt Center, City Market will also be an Education Center for the community. Here, farmers will have access to small business classes specifically geared to agribusiness. Partnering with NC Cooperative Extension offices in each county and Craven Community College, City Market will be a vehicle for farmers to attain specific certifications, workforce development training programs and community education. NC Cooperative Ext will present a series of classes on the nutritional, environmental, and economic value of buying local sustainably-produced farm products.
Youth education will also be a focus with after school learning opportunities beginning at the preschool age. The area’s local Boys and Girls Club is also located less than 2 blocks from the Volt Center enhancing educational opportunities for these “at-risk” youth. Education and business development will interface at City Market’s Incubator kitchen and Café and training. Here, the Market will allow workforce development opportunities to train hospitality workers for mobile food carts and trucks, and encourage culinary events to take place at the market. Many new chefs, bakers, and food artisan are looking for ways to launch their businesses in New Bern, and the City Kitchen. In addition, the Market will promote the “farm to table” concept among local restaurants offering special selling opportunities for farmers to sell directly to restaurants. The incubator kitchen will give entrepreneurs affordable commercial kitchen access as well as collaborative space in which to launch their businesses. The kitchen collective has the potential not only to help put amazing and delicious food into the hands of those living in the greater New Bern community but, create jobs, help launch new and exciting culinary businesses, and assist in helping businesses incubate and grow in the tri-counties.
Increased healthy foods in food deserts which New Bern is classified.
Increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
Strengthened local and regional food systems.
Improved local economy.
City Market’s central location between the main thoroughfare to New Bern’s downtown commercial and historic districts and Hwy. 70 offers access to local commuter traffic as well as visitors to the region. Through a targeted marketing approach, the City of New Bern seeks to capture at least 2% of this traffic which will have a significant impact on farmer’s direct sales. It will promote City Market as a tourist attraction and community center featuring special events that draw shoppers to the farmer’s market and provide entertainment and activities for all ages. Located within walking distance of several economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, Five Points and Duffeyfield as well as 2 public housing projects, City Market will increase access to healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Our farmers hope to place their price points below the grocery store prices to encourage participation. The City hopes to strengthen local food systems, and contribute to a livelier pedestrian environment. City Market will promote healthy eating, and encourage a diet filled with rich whole foods, while highlighting local farmers’ beautiful produce, dairy and meat products. City Market will enrich the lives of many in the tri-counties. Community beneficiaries include residents of multiple New Bern Area neighborhoods, farmers, veterans and residents of all ages, chefs, restaurant-owners and business owners in Craven, Pamlico and Jones Counties.
… Sales for the Café opened 4 days per week will generate $180,000 (avg. $900 per day x 4 days per week) which equates to $12,000 in state tax. Food trucks (4) will estimate $24,000 generated in state tax.
… With increased support from the City of New Bern, the Incubator Kitchen and Farmers Market will produce an economic driver for local farmers, will give entrepreneurs affordable commercial kitchen access as well as collaborative space in which to launch their businesses to encourage economic stability. The City Market will bring business to neighboring stores. Spending money at farmers markets keeps your money in circulation within the local community, preserving and creating local jobs. Selling at the market allows City Market start our business slowly and focus on building our brand and customer base, where its impossible to do so at the big chains.
… Shopping at farmers markets that offer seasonal, locally grown food may reduce fossil fuel energy used to produce, process, and transport food, and can reduce the energy intensity of and individual’s diet if more plant-based foods are consumed in place of animal products. Shopping at farmers markets that offer seasonal, locally grown foods may reduce fossil fuel energy used to produce, process, and transport food.
Our farmers reduce the environmental and health impacts of pesticides by eliminating them or selecting effective materials with fewer known environmental health hazards. They treat animals humanely and strive to preserve the soil, water and wildlife habitat for future generations.
… City Market through the Volt Center will offer multiple educational initiatives for all ages. By exposing youth to farming and agribusiness, as well as educational opportunities and activities, they will be able to better envision a career in farming and will be more likely to choose this as their life’s work. Thus, City Market will continue to perpetuate future farmers and contribute to the stability and future of farming in the tri-county area of Craven, Pamlico and Jones Counties.
… City Market, through its numerous community partnerships and its marketing plan will bring awareness to the importance of farming and food production among all area populations, thus promoting and highlighting the significance of farming as an industry as well as promoting The Market as a community retail and gathering place. In addition, several neighborhoods adjacent to the Market are considered food deserts. The Market will help alleviate these food desert areas and increase the availability of fresh delivered produce to our disadvantage neighborhoods, by using targeted farmers.
Establish the City Market, a community market that will provide tangible support of local growers and producers in Craven, Jones, and Pamlico Counties, enhance greater New Bern’s economy and tourism industry. Through its partnerships with area nonprofit, government and educational institutions, the City of New Bern will create an easily accessible, centrally located, self-sustaining, community based farmer’s market. The City Farmers Market will promote the accessibility of fresh produce by capturing local and tourist traffic traveling on State Highway 70, which is one mile from the City Farmers Market Center location and brings NC residents from Raleigh and central NC to the coast and outer banks.
The City of New Bern is in the final stages of retrofitting the City Market complex with 16 anchor bays for farmers to display produce, dairy, seafood, and meats to be sold directly to consumers. Total vendor stalls when the Market is operating at full capacity is 32. The Market complex will be complemented by a Café and Training/Incubator Kitchen.
The City Market will be a market for farmers with strong farmer input. The City Market Stakeholder Committee, a committee of community farmers, business, education and nonprofit leaders, has been formed and is assisting in planning, raising awareness and encouraging participation in the City Market by area farmers.
In 2012, in Craven County, there were 256 farms comprising 70,632 acres and 276 acres on average. In addition to acreage producing grains, etc. Craven County farmers planted more than 35 acres in vegetables such as sweet corn, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. City Market and its Stakeholder Committee will reach out to those farmers and recruit them as City Market vendors. Reasonable rental rates and a strong marketing campaign and a single point of sale are supportive services the Market will provide that will encourage their participation. Local farmers can steer pricing and give guidance to ensure success and high farmer engagement in the Market. Currently, Craven ranks 28th in cash receipts from crops and livestock. Ultimately, selling and marketing of farm activities and production will bring awareness to NC Farms and improve the overall economy of NC.
The tri-counties’ proximity to MCAS Cherry Point, Camp LeJeune and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base make this area attractive to veterans. Approximately 10% of the 150,000+ people living in Craven, Pamlico, Jones Counties are Veterans. Many are choosing farming as a second career. The City has partnered with the Veteran’s Employment Base Camp (VEBCOG) is a non-profit organization designed to reintroduce unemployed, disabled veterans back in to the workforce as a productive, employable individual. VEBCOG will provide temporary employment and training during the post-war transitional phase. Urban farming is incorporated in the program as a peaceful means of rehabilitation for the veterans, who have previously faced more trying and violent situations while in the service. These veterans will especially be encouraged to sell at the Market and use it as incubator for their farming initiatives. City Market and its Stakeholder’s Committee can provide much needed support and mentorship for those new to farming.
The City Market will increase area farmers’ revenues from direct sales. Regional (eastern North Carolina) estimates for small farmer’s market’s gross sales (12 farmers) on a Saturday morning are approximately $1,000 per hour for a 3-hour period. By increasing the number of days and hours farmers are able to sell their products directly to consumers to 4 days per week for 5 hrs. per day, City Market’s goal is to increase farmer’s revenues from $250 per week to approximately $1500 per week over the next 2 years.
Scholarships for Market rent will also be available for new farmers and those needing that financial support. City Market will target its marketing efforts to capture commuters returning home from downtown offices, local residents of the adjacent neighborhoods as well as the Downtown Historic District and Ghent Neighborhoods and tourists frequenting the Greater New Bern Area. 12,000 cars travel on First Street on their way to or from downtown New Bern every week. In addition, an average of 101,000 thousand cars pass by on Highway 70E each day. The City of New Bern seeks to capture 2% of this commuter market and position itself as “a neighborhood market” for those residents living within walking distance of the Market. The City will advertise, market, and raise awareness to ensure high visitor volume and success of City Market by adding in-kind advertising dollars. If only 2% of the commuter traffic passing by the Market makes a $20.00 purchase, the overall gross profit to farmers and ranchers annually will be $106,000.
Increase domestic consumption of and access to locally produced agricultural products to all residents. City Market will work with NC Cooperative Extension and other entities to educate the community, engage families in the Market and promote these healthy food choices. The City of New Bern received a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in 2015. The Choice Neighborhoods area is adjacent to the City Market location. 36% of the population of these neighborhoods lives at or below the poverty level. However, during the planning period, 30% of the population surveyed indicated they wanted access to fresh produce. Thus, City Market hopes to impact low income neighborhoods with increased availability and proximity of fresh fruits and produce, meats, and diary products. The Market is in walking distance to 3,300 people living in the Greater Five Points areas. City Market will educate these neighbors about healthy eating and food choices as well as having market vendors accept SNAP benefit cards.
Performance Measure #1 100% of Anchor Bays filled by Dec. 2020
Performance Measure #2 Increase in Dollar value and percentage of increase in sales of one or more specialty crops as the result of marketing and/or promotional activities happening at the City Market. Farmers will establish baselines of sales using sales @ farmers’ markets in Lenior and Pitt Counties to determine performance measures. As stated above, a measurable outcome of the Market will be increased sales revenues for farmers
Performance Measure #3 80% of Total Market Bays filled by Dec. 2021.
Performance Measure #4 City Market will work with NC Cooperative Extension to track growth in acreage planted in vegetables and produce and livestock sold/meat production.
… Target Market patrons will be downtown New Bern residents, business owners and employees during the week commuting home from work. The goal is to capture 10% of daily traffic on “Market Days”. The Market will draw from surrounding pedestrian neighborhoods including people living in the Greater Five Points Areas, New Bern Historic District and Ghent Neighborhoods (approximate 5,000 area population). (*Please note that populations have shifted due to Hurricane Florence flooding and it is difficult to project exact #s).
Weekly Market Draw: Individuals living in Jones, Craven and Pamlico counties, as well as, tourists traveling on Highway 70 headed to the Crystal Coast Beaches. Daily Market patrons targeted at 100 per day on average.
The farmers’ market will be self-sustaining. The City Market will have stall rental revenues (estimated total revenue @ $760 per week for the first 2 yrs.) as well as income from rental space for events and conferences. Some performance events will also charge a base fee. The City will continue to support the market with in-kind donations, and a board of producers will be responsible for managing and promoting it. When the Market is operating at full capacity, the City anticipates that Farmer’s Market rental fees generate approximately $1240 per week in income for the Market.
City Market is establishing a City Cafe as well as an Incubator Kitchen and Training Space located within the Market Complex. Market Café and Kitchen will serve agricultural producers, food product companies, caterers and food trucks, as well as students and instructors at the Volt Center. This model of clients will create jobs at the Cafe, and encourage entrepreneurial startups. Farmers will be able to sell directly to the Café and entrepreneurs operating there.
City Market farmers from Craven and surrounding counties will benefit from technical support and business assistance, as well as packaging, and marketing help with product line expansion. Meeting space included in kitchen design will serve as a training room for farmers and the public. Local vendor certification and Market training events geared toward vendors, and food handling classes will be conducted in the space. The Community is encouraged to use the space for education, as well as a central location for fundraisers and special events.
The City Market will create a first of its kind Incubator kitchen/restaurant to compliment the Farmer’s Market. The kitchen will serve as a instructional space for educational partnerships with Craven Community College, as well as local nonprofits. The Café space has been created, bathrooms installed. Grant funds awarded through grants from Golden Leaf Foundation and the EDA have enabled the City to “rough-in” plumbing, electrical, gas lines and grease trap. Outfitting the commercial kitchen space is still in process. Commercial Kitchen equipment and supplies are still needed. The dining space (indoor and on the porch) will seat 30 people focused primarily on lunch service.
Cooking classes and adult education space are also included in the kitchen design. Individual food lockers for bulk storage for entrepreneurial upstarts will be provided as well. Kitchen will be a certified USDA kitchen, and meet all standards set by the Craven County Health Department.
As per the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Eastern NC only lists two other incubator kitchens in the region; they are Burgaw Incubator Kitchen, Burgaw, N.C., and Eastern Carolina Food Ventures, Warsaw, N.C. The City Market’s kitchen will bring this innovation to Eastern N.C.
The City Market will create economic engines that will operate as profit-driven enterprises creating direct and indirect employment, and job creation through nonprofits, food trucks, and catering companies. Farmers seeking to create additional product lines can also increase personal revenue and create vertical sale opportunities.
Additional business incubation will be supported by a Maker Space that will also be located in the Café space for entrepreneurs developing prototypes and other innovative endeavors.
Direct positions created at the City Market would be 2 full time positions and 3 part time positions during Year 1 of operation. As the success of the City Market grows, positions once absorbed by the City of New Bern will be hired directly by kitchen revenues.
Indirect jobs for additional seasonal selling help in bays would be between 10 and 20 part time positions paid for by foundation grants and donations. Additional jobs can come from nonprofits such as Wash Away Unemployment, a nonprofit that seeks to train kitchen employees on safe serve and culinary arts.
Food trucks who need to use a USDA kitchen can create jobs by accessing the incubator kitchen. Start-up catering companies requiring commercial kitchen space will create culinary positions by using the kitchen for their events.
The Community encompassing the City of New Bern and surrounding counties will benefit from a meeting space located in the City Cafe.The Cafe will increase community cohesiveness by serving as a central meeting area. Hurricane Florence took its toll on the residents of New Bern, and many seek to rebuild and restore the amazing sense of community found in our small southern town. The City Cafe will create community cohesiveness allowing all income levels to gather together while supporting the great farmers and budding entrepreneurs of our area. Performance Measure
Performance measure #1 Point of Sales will be used to measure performance in the City Cafe. Performance Measure #2 Monthly vendor surveys will be taken asking to report sales for grant and performance review.
Performance Measure #3 Price strategy can be reviewed in Kitchen depending on sales, and marketing of Cafe.
The entire City Market site will focus on training, education and workforce development with a goal of improving the population’s job skills and improving quality of life. The City of New Bern in cooperation with its numerous community partners will establish educational opportunities and events that increase awareness of the region’s farming industry and the healthy foods it produces. City Market will become a community center that features an array of activities for all ages found through classes, events, and specialty dinners.
Develop adult education programs that enable current farmers and those entering the industry to continue to be on the cutting edge of this changing industry. Partnerships with NC Cooperative Extension, healthcare providers and CCC in this centrally located complex will insure that training and continuing education opportunities are easily accessible the greater New Bern community (City Market is within walking distance of more than 4,500 residents of the City of New Bern).
Grower and Farmer-focused certifications and education classes offered by NC Cooperative Extension such as training in the use of particular pesticides, will be available through City Market. These will be offered at the Volt Center classroom. Farmers will also be able to access classes on proper procedures for selling produce and other products in the Farmer’s Market environment adhering to sanitation and health standards. They will also have access to the Small Business Center with business classes offered through the Volt Center.
Well-trained hospitality workers are key to capturing eastern North Carolina’s tourism market. NC Cooperative Ext. will partner with City Market to offer workforce development classes geared to the hospitality industry. Serv safe classes will complement food preparation classes (food handling/food safety courses) offered by food safety specialists that will be taking place in the Market Kitchen. City Market has set a goal of 700 adults participating in some form of continuing education at the Market in 2020.
General education and enrichment includes events happening at the Marketplace and Café. Demos and tastings, hands on classes showcasing downtown Chefs, and workshops on various cooking styles will just be some of the offerings. Special events during Farmer’s Market hours will also be held to support farmers’ selling in the marketplace.
Youth Education includes:
Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Gardens (VEBCOG) in partnership with NC Cooperative Extension will conduct 4H programming to provide hands on experimental classes at the City Market. VEBCOG will have an activities calendar with monthly programs to increase the number and types of educational events. The site will bring agricultural opportunities to the market so that youth can engage and learn about the different types of farming practices.
“Give youth a chance to meet farmers at the City Market” will provide a targeted audience to introduce children and their families to an amazing array of produce not always offered in the average supermarket. Special events will offer opportunities for children and youth to meet and talk with farmers while parents buy directly from them gives farmers a better return for their produce.
Students will also be educated on farm animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets. Preschool children, school age children, and high school students will experience the excitement of tasting new, fresh colorful foods. Students will be introduced to farming and be entertained by special events focused to their appropriate age group.
City Market Summer day camps and field trip opportunities for area county schools (Craven, Pamlico, Jones, Carteret and Onslow) will also be planned.
The City Market Cafe and Kitchen will play a strong role in community educational opportunities hosting adult education events, culinary classes, and workshops showcasing the bounty of New Bern farmers and artisans. The Café features a training center where Safe Serv and food prep classes will take place. Partnering with NC Cooperative Extension to expand its availabilty of classes, the City Market Kitchen will offer Cooksmart/Eat Smart Classes. Monthly cooking classes featuring our downtown chefs will be offered using prepared items from the City Market. Product tastings, pop-up events, community dinners, and community supported agricultural programs will be held in the Market Kitchen. The Cafe seeks to make food feel like an adventure, and encourage new ideas in healthy meal planning for families. The Cafe will host classes including free and fee-based options.
… Performance measures will be assessed based on adult education initiatives vs. children and youth education. The number of certificates and credentials obtained through workforce development initiatives w/CCC, VEBCOG and NC Cooperative Extension will be tracked to determine numbers issued. The number of new workers trained will also be tracked.
Class instructors will provide curriculum for teachers and others bringing students to City Market. Reviewing the day with teachers, counselors, preschool instructors, and daycare teachers, students will be quizzed as to what was learned the day of the visit. Feedback from these educators will be sought by the Market Manager to learn how to improve programs. Classes filled quickly will be noted. Literature will be passed out so to encourage repeat visits with their guardians.
Currently there are waiting lists for Agriculture programs offered by the extension agency. These classes fill quickly with only 25 students able to attend. The City Market will increase frequency and class sizes and monitor attendance compared to Ag extension classes. Class graduations and credentials issued will be benchmarks for success.
… The goal is 700 adults educated in Year 1. Children and youth visiting the Market for educational events, school trips, etc. is also at 1,000 during Year 1.
Children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods within a one mile radius can visit the City Market, and discover fun activities, as well as learning about healthy food choices.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America will use the City Market as an opportunity to sell their products for fundraising activities.
Boys and Girls Club location is within walking distance to the City Market. Youth can explore the market activities for the day and participate in afterschool activities.
YMCA summer and after school programs can experience the City Market through educational activities, as well as day trip offered for Agri-tours to the farmer’s farms. YMCA is also located within a 2-mile radius.
10 Preschools are located within an 8-mile range, and activities offered after preschool for parents and their children can be a great way to encourage family togetherness.
West Craven High School has the Future Farmers of America program and can offer selling opportunities for their produce as fundraisers at the market.
4-H, classes will be offered by 4 H volunteers to bring all the wonderful programming into the city.
These classes have an attendance issue for disadvantaged youth due to the location of the classes.
This will allow wonderful agricultural programming to be available for all children.
… Adult educational programs will be tracked by class attendance, numbers of certificates awarded and jobs obtained as a result.
Survey distributed to parents whose children visited the market can inform the staff on how the programming was received. Staff can adjust length and content based on parents and school teachers surveys.
… CCC will track students completing workforce development training programs at City Market and then, ascertaining jobs to determine the success of adult education programs.
Before attending the City Market activities, instructors should prepare students as they would for a regular class. This gives the students areas to pay attention to when visiting the market. Age appropriate materials will be given to instructors. City market event director is especially interested in the data learned, and what captured the attention of the children. Improvements will be made as needed during monthly farm meetings.
How will data be collected? (For example: a survey, sign in sheet or financial records) The Market manager will work with his/her education partners (CCC, NC Cooperative Extension, CarolinaEast to capture this data. Surveys will be administered.
Field trips will be especially important to the education of children, and hopefully a repeat visits by parents. City Market staff will provide age appropriate worksheets and lectures before attending the City Market event. This will give the children and idea as to what they will be seeing and what they need to pay extra attention to once they are at the market. Feedback from instructors will be given in an email survey to City Market Manager. Manager then can make improvements on field trip events.
If the project is to continue beyond the grant period, describe how the project will continue to be funded and/or be self-sustaining.
The City Market will offer both free and fee-based classes to adults and children of all ages. Parents and guardians will be pay a fee associated with a few of the classes to cover costs. Grants and donations will cover scholarships for adults who meet financial criteria and disadvantaged youth to participate in classes.
Personnel Amount includes fringe benefits $45,500.00
Equipment Amount $130,350.00
Administration Amount $3,700.00
Capital Improvement Amount $5,000.00
Supplies Amount $16,267.50
City of New Bern Personnel
Economic Development Staff and Community Development Staff: Wages $28,750, Benefits $8625
3 Picnic Tables ADA Compliant Wheelchair Accessible: $2,658.54
4 Picnic Tables Square: $3,300
7 Patio/Cafe Umbrellas: $693
NCTTFC will be recognized as a supporter of the City Market Project on the City of New Bern, Veteran’s Employment Base Camp and the newly developed City Market websites. Press releases sent to local, as well as regional new media (tv and newspaper), social media posts and PSAs on public radio and other radio stations will also mention NCTTFC’s support. The City also has its own television station (Ch. 10 in New Bern) that airs public meetings and local event information. City Market will be promoted on that station.
City Market brochures promoting the Market will also include NCTTFC’s name and logo. 15,000 of these will be printed initially and will be distributed through Craven County TDA and State rest stops and visitor centers. Market bags may also be printed and will include NCTTFC’s logo.
PROJECTED IMPACTS BY ENDING DATE:
Total # Jobs Created (Permanent/Temporary) 7
Total # Jobs Sustained (Permanent/Temporary) 7
Number of Workers Re-Employed 10
Quota Holders Assisted 10
Current or Former Tobacco Farmers Assisted 10
Amount of New Income for Former Tobacco Workers $307,200
Number of Workers with Upgraded Skills 60
Persons Receiving Increased Educational Training 700
Total Number of People Served 12,000
Acres of Farmland Protected/Impacted 6,000
Volume of Product Produced/Distributed/Sold 30,000
Value of Product Produced/Distributed/Sold $217,192.00
You’ll want to get your taxes done and your schedule freed up for the myriad of events and activities in and around Downtown New Bern the weekend of April 12-14. The weekend is packed with home tours, a concert, art gallery tours, a 5K run, and wine, beer and spirits tastings.
“What’s nice about it is that it brings all kinds of elements together,” said Lynne Harakal, director of Swiss Bear Inc., the Main Street organization for Downtown New Bern.
Whether you’re a local or coming in town for the weekend, there are opportunities for a lot of different activities, she said.
New to Downtown New Bern are Saturday arts and music events that use Bear Plaza as their venue. Starting in April and continuing through MumFest in October, music and arts events will be held in Bear Plaza.
Saturday Sessions, a music event, will be held on the first and third Saturdays. Art-themed events will be held on second and fourth Saturdays. Rare fifth Saturdays will alternate between music and the arts. All events will include arts and story-time activities for children.
“Overdue for a community like ours is to have something like this,” Harakal said. “We should be having regularly scheduled music and arts downtown.”
Event hours are 1-5 p.m. Saturdays at Bear Plaza, which intersects with Middle Street between South Front and Pollock streets.
Early risers can start at Farmers Market, have lunch and then catch music or arts. Late risers can start at Bear Plaza, have dinner downtown, and then catch a play at New Bern Civic Theatre or enjoy cocktails, beer and wine at Downtown New Bern’s numerous night spots.
Coming from out of town and want to stay for the weekend? Not a problem. New Bern has a wealth of hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts that will suit all tastes. Go to https://www.visitnewbern.com/where-to-stay-new-bern-nc/ for more information.
Colorfest will hold its annual event, Night Out With The Arts (NOWTA), on May 10 at the New Bern Golf & Country Club.
Attendees will be introduced to the Colorfest Team, sponsors, and learn more about the things that Colorfest aspires to do in the community. The event will also feature live music by Songstress Rasheeda Waddell and Band, comedy, art exhibition from local artist, live painting and an art auction. All proceeds raised go towards paints, supplies, art scholarships and to the community Colorfest serves. Dinner will also be served.
Those who wish to become a sponsor can call 404-725-3053 or email email@example.com by March 20.
Night Out With The Arts
Date: May 10, 2019
Time: Doors open at 7 p.m. Show is 8-11 p.m.
Location: New Bern Golf & Country Club, 4301 Country Club Road, New Bern
Cost: $30 General Admission (include entertainment, meal and one complementary raffle ticket)
On the web: www.colorfestinc.org
Since 2011, founder, Derrick Bryant has come back to his hometown and helped beautify the area by painting murals downtown on Queen Street in 2011 and 2016. He’s developed an event/program for youth to tackle problems and have fun at the same time.
Colorfest is an event for youth of all ages to come out and take part in helping to beautify the city of New Bern. Future Colorfest projects are being planned to reach the communities in Eastern North Carolina and Georgia.
A main focus of the Colorfest Team is to break chains in impoverished communities. It sees the arts as a way to give young artist positive ways to channel their creative energy and talents.
“For many years we have seen the decline of funding in schools for art based programs, causing children to lose access to curriculum that would otherwise enhance and nurture the creative process,” Bryant said in a news release.
Colorfest Inc. active sponsors 2018-19 include Walmart, American Airlines, Kiss 102, Baker’s Kitchen, Bern Investment Group,The Tiny Tornado, and B.L.U.U.
I read an article the other day about who makes the best cheeseburger of the top three burger chains, Wendy’s, McDonald’s or Burger King.
The reviewer gave Wendy’s and McDonald’s a tie for first. However, it was an unfair contest. More on that in a second. Anyway, I repeated the test and came up with my own result.
The reviewer compared regular cheeseburgers from Wendy’s and Burger King, but the Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s, which gave an unfair advantage to McDonald’s. The Quarter Pounder with Cheese is one of McDonald’s premium menu items, and why the author chose it over McDonald’s regular cheeseburger, I don’t know.
Obviously, comparing apples to apples, the comparison should have included McDonald’s regular cheeseburger.
Duplicating the online article that I read, McDonald’s QPWC was the clear winner. It had more of everything, and in just the right amounts. And now that McDonald’s is preparing its premium beef patties the way its competitors are, it is no longer disadvantaged.
The Wendy’s and Burger King cheeseburgers were sorry little affairs and their beef patties were overwhelmed by the same thing, pickles. The only exception was BK’s — its charbroil flavor was the first thing I tasted, and it seemed almost artificial it was so distinct and long lasting. The flavor still lingers now, 40 minutes since I ate it.
I eat McDonald’s plain cheeseburgers all the time. I prefer Wendy’s of the top three burger chains, but I do occasionally eat at McDonald’s, and when I do I order the double cheeseburger meal.
Had I included McDonald’s regular cheeseburger instead of the QPWC, it still would have won.
As for premium burgers, I prefer Wendy’s singles or doubles, and really would prefer not to eat Big Macs and Whoppers. Also, I am fond of Sonic’s burgers and not fond of Cook-Out’s, although I don’t understand why. Cook-Out burgers have all the right things, but there is just something a little off about them.
Did you go by the new Harris Teeter since it opened on Wednesday? Odds are pretty good that you did.
In a small town like New Bern, folks here can be relied on to try something new. Remember when Cook Out opened?
On opening day, I saw city officials including Jeff Odham, in whose ward the new Harris Teeter is located, and City Manager Mark Stephens proudly roaming the vast floor space of the gleaming new store.
Coke Mann, a partner with Columbia Development Group, developer of the shopping center, was quoted in the Sun Journal crediting Odham and Mayor Dana Outlaw for their bringing the super-expanded HT to New Bern.
I saw lots of regular people combing through the almost 100,000-foot feet of shopping space, which is more than just a simple supermarket. (Some say the store actually has 105,000 square feet of floor space.)
We are not wedded to a particular grocery store. We shop at Publix most often, but not exclusively, and mainly due to its modern and wide selection coupled with its less crowded aisles.
With the opening of the new Harris Teeter, that may change.
The store replaces a 55,000-square-foot store on South Glenburnie Road, which closed the day before the new store opened.
It is claimed to be the largest Harris Teeter out of the chain’s 246 stores. Some media outlets have called it the largest in the world, but since its world is pretty much contained within Southern states, that’s a somewhat pretentious claim.
Still, it’s plenty big, and within it are sections that by themselves are impressively large.
There is a Starbucks inside the Harris Teeter, just as there was at the old location, but this one has a dining area that has to make this particular Starbucks one of the largest in the world, and that’s saying something.
Then there is the food court, contained within an area that could be a nice-size grocery store all by itself.
There is a bakery, fresh produce and meats, a deli, a sushi bar, a buffet, a burger bar, a specialty bar with changing themes, and a bar-bar. Yes, a bar … where you can get beer and wine by the glass.
As for the grocery aisles, they are so long they are subdivided, with a third row intersecting at the middle. Looking from one end toward the other, the aisles extend almost as far as the eye can see.
Filling all those aisles with merchandise must be a challenge by itself. I have not looked deeply into it, but the few places I did look showed a much-expanded variety of brands and varieties.
Staffing this store must be equally challenging. I counted six people working at the Starbucks counter, four at the burger bar, three at the beer and wine bar, and so on.
I am not sure if they staffed up for opening week or if they plan to maintain that staffing level.
Sarah, Mark and I went there on opening day and had dinner. We bought a couple of items from the grocery aisles before going home.
We returned on Saturday to find the same buzz one encounters when surrounded by hundreds of happy people. The store is large enough to accommodate a thousand customers without feeling overly crowded.
Sarah got several selections from the sushi train and described the quality as good as any restaurant in New Bern. I went for simple–a burger and fries. The way I figure it, if you can’t do a burger and fries right, then what can you do right?
And boy, did they do it right. It paired nicely with the glass of Mother Earth pale ale that I got at the bar.
While waiting for my order, I ran into four people I knew, and that’s the great thing about a venue like this. It’s a magnet that draws people together, and for more than one purpose.
Before, you would go to Harris Teeter for groceries. Maybe you might grab something from the salad bar or deli or the Starbucks counter, but there was really nothing that set it apart from any other modern grocery store.
This Harris Teeter is not just a retailer, it is a community amenity. You can literally spend the day there, enjoying a fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a couple of glasses of beer or wine later in the day before actually doing any grocery shopping.
Note: the beer and wine bar opens at 10 a.m. daily except Sundays, when it opens at 11 a.m. But who’s judging?
The parking lot is large and full but sufficient and well laid out. Other stores in the shopping center, which is called New Bern Marketplace, round out the remaining two-thirds of retail floor space at the 34-acre, 325,000-square-food retail venue.
One thing it has over Downtown New Bern: parking is not limited to two hours.
So what can you expect at the Teeter?
Greeting you as you arrive at one of the entrances is the floral counter managed by Mary Gierie-Merrell, who Mayor Outlaw has described as New Bern’s unofficial mayor.
At that same entrance, off to the right, is the Starbucks counter with its spacious and open dining area. It is equipped with tables and booths and two big-screen TVs. The window-wall is lined with a long counter with tall chairs for computer users and enough USB ports and electric sockets for every two chairs.
Beyond is the amazing food court, and to its left, the expansive grocery aisles.
One glitch was WiFi. Though it is provided, I was unable to connect to the internet using it. Another quibble is that if you want to sit at a table and plug in your device or computer to a power source, there are just two tables within range of just one wall socket, and they are right underneath a big-screen TV. That may be by design. It is understandable why a store would not want its tables taken up by people using computers all day.
The impacts of the new Harris Teeter on New Bern will be interesting to see.
It will undoubtedly cut into business of other existing grocery stores. But being so large, it will draw shoppers from outside New Bern and maybe from outside Craven County.
When the N.C. 43 connector is extended from U.S. 70 to U.S. 17 in the next few years, it will make access to New Bern Marketplace easier to reach from Pitt and Lenoir residents. It’s already the easiest retail center to reach in New Bern from Jones and Onslow counties.
As I said, this Harris Teeter is not just a store, it is a community amenity.
Harris Teeter’s previous largest stores, measuring at 80,000 square feet of store space, are located in Pinehurst and Charlotte.
The New Bern store is only the second location to have a juice bar.
It is the first to have a build-your-own burger bar.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by a severe winter storm moving through the southern U.S.
The National Weather Service reports that a strong storm system crossing the Southwest early Friday morning will likely take a southerly track across the southern plains to the South and then to the southeastern U.S. coast through the weekend. Snow and freezing rain is forecast in eastern New Mexico and the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles by late Friday, and continuing into early Saturday.
Heavy rain is forecast across southeast Texas. The rainfall rates are expected to be high at times, increasing the threat of flooding. Flash flood watches are in effect for this region. A slight risk of excessive rainfall exists through Saturday night for the central Gulf Coast region.
Through late Sunday, a swath of accumulating snow and ice is expected to extend from eastern Oklahoma to the southern Appalachians. Winter storm watches are now in effect from the Texas panhandle to the Ozarks of northern Arkansas, and also for the southern Appalachians and adjacent Piedmont region.
Winter storms present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.
Steps to follow in advance of losing power:
• Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
• Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
• Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
• Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
• Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
• Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
• Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination from thawing juices.
• Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Food safety after a flood:
• Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
• Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
• Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.
Food safety during snow and ice storms:
During a snowstorm, do not place perishable food out in the snow. Outside temperatures can vary and food can be exposed to unsanitary conditions and animals. Instead, make ice by filling buckets or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Use this ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
• Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
• Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
• Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
• Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
• When in doubt, throw it out.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. Infographics on FSIS’ Flickr page outline steps you can take before, during and after severe weather, power outages and flooding. FSIS provides relevant food safety information during disasters on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.
If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.
Valley Fine Foods, a Forest City, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 35,516 pounds of heat-treated, not fully cooked meat and poultry products that may be adulterated due to presence of spoilage organisms that have rendered it unwholesome and unfit for human food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The heat-treated, not fully cooked, refrigerated meat and poultry products were produced on various dates from Aug. 15, 2018 through Oct. 4, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:
• 12-oz. tray packages containing “SIMPLE DISHES™ Chicken Penne Alfredo” with case code #19034, case UPC code 1-07-42753-34709-0, and “BEST IF USED BY” “10/09/18” through “11/25/18”. Unit UPC 7-42753-34709-3.
• 12-oz. tray packages containing “SIMPLE DISHES™ Chicken Primavera” with case code #19033, case UPC code 1-07-42753-34708-3, and “BEST IF USED BY” “10/09/18” through “11/25/18”. Unit UPC 7-42753-34708-6.
• 12-oz. tray packages containing “SIMPLE DISHES™ Italian Sausage Ziti” with case code #19035, case UPC code 1-07-42753-34711-3, and “BEST IF USED BY” “10/09/18” through “11/25/18”. Unit UPC 7-42753-34711-6.
• 12-oz. tray packages containing “SIMPLE DISHES™ Rigatoni with Meatballs and a Mushroom Cream Sauce” with case code #19036, case UPC Code of 1-07-42753- 34710-6 and “BEST IF USED BY” “10/09/18” through “11/25/18”. Unit UPC 7-42753-34710-9.
The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “ P-22102B” or “M-22102B” on the side of the product package. These items were shipped retail locations in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina.
The problem was discovered on Oct. 4, 2018 by the establishment’s research and development department during routine internal testing. FSIS was notified on Oct. 10, 2018.
There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.
FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumer’s refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.
Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Valley Fine Foods customer service line, at 844-833-6888.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The National Hurricane Center expects storm surge and hurricane force winds in portions of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Heavy rainfall from Hurricane Michael could produce flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and southeast Virginia.
Hurricanes present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.
Steps to follow in advance of losing power:
Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Food safety after a flood:
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.
Johnston County Hams, a Smithfield, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The ready-to-eat deli-loaf ham items were produced from April 3, 2017 to Oct. 2, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:
• Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “JOHNSTON COUNTY HAMS, INC. COUNTRY STYLE FULLY COOKED BONELESS DELI HAM.”
• Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham” with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019.
• Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc. FULLY COOKED COUNTRY HAM BONELESS Glazed with Brown Sugar.”
• Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham LESS SALT Distributed By: Valley Country Hams LLC” with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019.
• Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “GOODNIGHT BROTHERS COUNTRY HAM Boneless Fully Cooked.”
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M2646” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia.
On Sept. 27, 2018, FSIS was notified that a person ill with listeriosis reported consuming a ham product produced at Johnston County Hams. Working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health and agriculture partners, FSIS determined that there is a link between the Listeria monocytogenes illnesses and ham products produced at Johnston County Hams. The epidemiologic investigation identified a total of four listeriosis confirmed illnesses, including one death, between July 8, 2017 and August 11, 2018. FSIS collected two deli ham product samples from the Johnston County Hams, Inc. facility in 2016 and in early 2018. Whole genome sequencing results showed that Listeria monocytogenes identified in deli ham both years was closely related genetically to Listeria monocytogenes from ill people. FSIS is continuing to work with federal and state public health partners to determine if there are additional illnesses linked to these products and will provide updated information should it become available.
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.
Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.
FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Rufus Brown, Johnston County Hams plant manager, at (919) 934-8054. Media with questions regarding the recall can contact Largemouth Communications at (919) 459-6457.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, creator and host of the annual NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to be NC Agriculture, announced the 21 chefs selected to compete in its third annual cooking competition.
Among those selected is Antonio Campolio of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
The chefs and pastry chefs, all based in North Carolina, advance after cooking up the highest-rated dishes across three regional competitions. The main NCRLA Chef Showdown event takes place on Monday, Aug. 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte, N.C.
Antonio Campolio, NCRLA Chef Showdown 2018 finalist. He is executive chef at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
From the Persimmons website: At the age of 12, Chef Campolio began washing dishes at his parents’ restaurant. Beginning at age 18, Chef Campolio worked his way through the world famous Greenbrier Hotel’s Culinary Internship Program, learning valuable skills he still uses daily. After his time at the Greenbrier, Chef Campolio continued his career at 700 Drayton in Savannah, Ga. and later at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Co. Before coming to Persimmons, Chef Campolio was the Executive Chef at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Wa., where he lead the restaurant to numerous national accolades including Restaurant of the Year by the Washington Wine Commission. During his time in Washington, Chef Campolio was invited to cook a meal at the James Beard House (named for the legendary American chef) in New York City, one of the highest honors a chef can receive.
Recently becoming a father, Chef Campolio and his wife, Zeljana, were attracted to New Bern as a great place to raise their son. “We visited and fell in love with the town for our family. Then I went to Persimmons and saw an incredible opportunity to really focus on local, sustainable food year-round. It was a perfect fit.”
In his short time at Persimmons, Chef Campolio has already established relationships with local farmers, ranchers and breweries and says the restaurant will feature bi-seasonal menus to highlight the foods that are fresh and at their peak. He wants Persimmons to be a place for “locals and tourists alike — where they can count on fresh, delicious and local food, whether just getting a beer and appetizer or enjoying lunch or dinner.”
“This year’s slate of contenders includes some of the most innovative and talented chefs in our state. At the showdown, these chefs will use North Carolina ingredients to demonstrate their creativity and shine a light on our incredible hospitality industry. Attendees will get a taste of why North Carolina’s culinary scene is one of the best in the nation,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges.
Selected chefs – sorted into two food categories, savory and sweet – are vying for the 2018 “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chefs will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions to event attendees. The dishes, judged by five culinary experts, receive scores on presentation, taste, and use of local ingredients from North Carolina.
NCRLA will crown a 2018 “NCRLA Mixologist of the Year,” as six North Carolina distilleries partner with hand-picked bartenders to craft cocktails for guests and judges to enjoy. Distillery and mixologist teams will be announced in the coming weeks.