Polk Fresh Foods plans to be self-sufficient next fiscal year

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2015

After just a few years, a local food hub plans to be self-sufficient by next fiscal year.

Polk County has been granting Polk Fresh Foods seed money for the past few years to the tune of $122,000, but will no longer be needed after next fiscal year.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners has approved amendments to the agreement the past two meetings.

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John Britton, chair of the Polk Fresh Foods Board of Directors presented the organization’s financial report during the commissioners’ June 1 meeting.

Polk Fresh Foods is a food hub initiative that began in 2011 to help open new markets for Polk County producers of vegetables, value-added products and protein.

 Buying groups order local food and products through Polk Fresh Foods with Britton saying the organization recently added Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

Group orders are delivered to the buying clubs’ neighborhood.

The first year, Polk Fresh Foods had $53,000 in sales; in 2012 sales doubled to $103,000; in 2013 sales stayed steady at $108,000 and in 2014 sales tripled to $307,000, according to Polk Fresh Foods’ presentation to commissioners.

During the county’s June 1 meeting, commissioner Ray Gasperson said this was an initiative and it looks like it’s working fantastic. Chair Tom Pack said Polk Fresh Foods has tremendous growth and the county’s grants helped get them started.

In fiscal year 2014, Polk County granted Polk Fresh Foods $47,000. In 2015, Polk granted them $40,000 and in fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1, the county will grant Polk Fresh Foods the remaining $35,000 to end the grant.

For more information about Polk Fresh Foods, visit www.polkfreshfoods.com.