Local Goodness - Patterson Farms
Imagine the taste and smell you experience as you’re biting into a fresh, sweet strawberry, dipping crisp, bright green peppers in homemade dip and chopping up freshly-picked tomatoes for lunch on a summer day. All of these items and more are found at Patterson Farms in China Grove, N.C. It’s a never-ending cycle at the farm that grows fresh produce available at 556 area Food Lion stores throughout the summer months. Patterson Farms is one of the more than 60 local suppliers that are proudly featured in Food Lion stores through our Local Goodness effort, which offers customers a chance to shop at their local Food Lion for products made or grown near them.
Since 1919, an abundance of time and effort has been put into Patterson Farms “This is our 100th year growing,” exclaimed Doug Patterson, one of the third generation of Patterson Farm owners. With everything grown in a two-mile radius of no more than 20 acres of land in a field, Patterson Farms is currently growing bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. However, the farm may be best known for their delicious red strawberries, which marks the beginning of summer to many.
“Farming is your own business. You are always at work, yet if you do your job the way you’re supposed to do your job you’re going to do well,” Doug shared. Raising his family steps from the packaging area and watching the farm grow into where they are today has been very fulfilling for him.
One thing that has remained constant within Patterson Farms is the relationship with Food Lion. “Granddad was one of the first investors with Food Lion. Our relationship started when Food Lion started. It goes from the very beginning. He sold tomatoes and bushel baskets.” Of the strong relationship between Patterson Farms and Food Lion, Patterson said, “We take care of each other.”
While Food Lion and Patterson Farms take care of each other, Doug expressed supporting any local business and farm is very important. “It is important to support any local farmers because in many areas they are what makes up your community,” Doug said with passion. “You want fruit and vegetables that are nutritious and if were being honest, we all want to buy produce that looks the best. The freshness of the produce, the longer it sits on a truck or in the warehouse, the quicker it loses its nutritional value. You can tell when produce is fresh by the crispness and the smell. If you can’t smell it don’t buy it.”
“When we deliver strawberries to the store, we can sometimes pick in the morning and have them in the store by lunch time.” For other items, since Food Lion picks up produce from the farm every day in season, they are delivered to local stores within days, meaning customers have their choice of some of the freshest produce around.
That’s important for Food Lion, and you could tell it’s important for Doug Patterson as well.
“Days start around 6:30 in the morning and go until 11 at night for about 6 weeks in the summer,” Doug leads his team to harvest and sell the most fresh, beaming, and local produce. Everyday passion and determination is something Patterson Farm’s will always exceed when it comes growing produce.
Click here to learn more about Food Lion's partnership with local North Carolina farms and companies.