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Cuba Set To Gobble Up Tar Heel Turkey

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DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. — A thawing of the once frozen trade market between the United States and Cuba is under way in a Duplin County warehouse.

That is where cases of frozen drumsticks and ground turkey are being loaded into trucks headed to Cuba.

Overall, close to 1 million pounds of turkey from the Tar Heel state are headed south in the first trade deal completed since

North Carolina agriculture leaders

met in Cuba this summer.

"The Cubans understand poultry, it's part of their diet. They look forward to using our products," said Joel Coleman of Carolina Turkeys.

Coleman plans to ship 16 truckloads of turkey between now and January.

Drumsticks and ground turkey are being sent because it is preferred over white meat.

While restrictions are still in place with Cuba, limited trade is allowed for some products.

"We can sell any agricultural product and that would be anything from the raw product up to the end product, the food product," said Meg Scott Phipps, state agriculture commissioner.

Phipps sees the $350,000 deal, and others that may follow, as a real bonus for North Carolina farmers -- especially since Cuba must pay cash for U.S. products.

As the trade freeze continues to melt, the cash will continue to flow into North Carolina's economy.


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