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February 18. 2013 7:45PM

North Country Farmers Co-op to mark incorporation with party

WHITEFIELD - You can enjoy the bounty of the northern New Hampshire's agricultural lands at many spots in the North Country. On March 24, the group that has been working on the system to ensure smooth ordering and delivery of farmers' and bakers' goods will make it official and incorporate as the North Country Farmers Co-op.

The signing and celebration takes place at the Mountain View Grand from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The farmers, bakers, restaurant owners, chefs, organizers and funders will be on hand to meet and greet those attending.

The funding, which came from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, USDA Rural Development, the state Department of Agriculture, Markets and Foods, and several private funding sources enabled farmers in the North Country to increase their sales through better business plans and marketing planning.

The group reported $4,664 in sales in the summer of 2008. In the summer of 2012, sales were over $25,000.

The delivery route now involves two trucks twice each week. The trucks deliver from the end of July through the Labor Day weekend.

The co-op is planning three regional Chef's Challenges. The regional challenges will take place Sept. 8 in Littleton, North Conway and Colebrook, with farm tours the day before. The final cook-off will be held at the Mountain View Grand Oct. 20.

The co-op comes thanks in part to Julie Moran of Colebrook, who in 2008 developed a 176-mile pick-up and delivery route in rural Coos County.

In the Weekly Market Bulletin of Feb. 20, 2008, Commissioner Lorraine Merrill of the state Department of Agriculture said Moran and cohorts "have ambitious goals for reinvigorating North Country agriculture."

On March 24, elected officials and the general public are invited to come to the Mountain View Grand and see how far the co-op has come in accomplishing those goals.

syoungknox@newstote.com



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