Local News

Tomato sales up at state Farmer's Market

Posted June 19, 2008 4:36 p.m. EDT
Updated June 19, 2008 8:57 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina farmers say they are seeing a boost in sales of tomatoes following a salmonella scare that has prompted restaurants across the nation to pull tomatoes off their menus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that 383 people in 30 states have gotten sick by eating salmonella-tainted tomatoes, and the agency's food safety expert said he does not think the outbreak is over.

Tomatoes grown in North Carolina, however, are among ones from 30 or so states and countries cleared by the federal Food and Drug Administration as being safe.

Sellers say tomatoes are in high demand.

"It's shot business up around here – I mean, incredibly," said Katie Mundt, who sells produce at the Farmers Market in Raleigh.

North Carolina tomatoes were among the first on the FDA's safe list – good news for local growers.

"(Sales are) picking up," another seller at the Farmer's Market, Tammy Parker, said. "I mean, they say it's cheaper and they trust these more than they do in the stores."

The benefit goes beyond a boost at the market.

Some local farmers say more big chain stores and restaurants are buying from North Carolina this year.