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Durham's Farmery is fresh concept in grocery shopping

Posted September 22, 2013
Updated September 23, 2013

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— A lot of people come across an old shipping container filled with plants at the American Tobacco Campus, and they wonder what it is.

“They don’t know if it’s an art project or a floral shop,” said Ben Greene.

Greene and business partner Tyler Nethers grow produce on the converted container and sell it straight from there.

The business, called The Farmery, is an experiment in the future of food. It’s a small-scale demonstration of what grocery shopping could be, the owners say.

“We can connect the customer to the plant's growing, and they have the opportunity to pick the product fresh,” Nethers said.

Right now, kale, cauliflower and collards are growing on the roof, and herbs are growing inside the building. Customers can pick their own.

“The bag is $3, and you just stuff whatever you can into the bag,” Greene said.

The Farmery also carries an assortment of items from other local growers. Greene and Nethers say it’s a great way to promote buying local.

“We can bring local food into the mainstream of our economy,” Greene said.

The shop has been open for a few months, and the concept has been successful so far. The owners are in talks to launch a full-size grocery and café.

“We're kind of getting sniffed at by some large retailers trying to figure where we are and where we're going,” Greene said.

For now, they're trying to show it's possible to grow and sell truly local food in a convenient location.

“It's both an education tool and meeting a need for food in the city,” Nethers said.

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