Dole Foods money going into strawberry growing research

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

By Frank DeLoache

Salisbury Post

When someone mentions David Murdock and Dole Foods, most people think of the millions Murdock is spending on the new Core Lab building rising from the site of the former Cannon Mills Plant 1 in Kannapolis.

But Dole Foods also is quietly investing in other ways in Rowan County and other parts of the state, which holds promise for more jobs and income for North Carolinians.

Last year, Dole Foods provided a $110,000 grant that is supporting research in the commercial growing of strawberries and blueberries.

About a third of the grant paid to build a half acre of “tunnels” that Dr. Jim Ballington is using to grow strawberries in colder weather.

If successful, Ballington says, growing strawberries in the plastic-covered tunnels could extend N.C. farmers’ growing season for the berries and also produce a better, sweet tasting strawberry that consumers will learn to demand.

For complete details, see Saturday’s Salisbury Post.