Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó Two David Murdock-owned companies will help put the farmer back in Farmers Day this year.
Dole Foods and Castle & Cooke have signed on as major sponsors of the 26th Annual Farmers Day to be held July 21. The downtown festival draws an average of 35,000 people who enjoy food, music, dancing and a wide variety of crafts.
“We’re very excited to have their sponsorship,” said Lee Withers, chairman of the Farmers Day Committee.
Withers said it’s a perfect fit. The Farmers Day Committee has been working to restore emphasis to the role of farming in southern Rowan County now and in the past.Withers said Dole and Castle & Cooke want to promote and share information on what they are doing in food research as well as the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.
Company representatives will share information on what China Grove and the surrounding community can expect from their projects.
Withers said Dole and Castle & Cooke displays and exhibits will be a part of the farmers market to be located near Goodman’s Farm Supply on North Main Street.
The companies are contributing an unspecified amount of money to support the annual street festival.
“It’s a a nice amount of money ó thousands of dollars ó which will allow us to do some really neat things, additional things,” Withers said.
He credited Rep. Fred Steen of Landis for helping to secure the sponsorship.
Withers also thanked Lynn Scott Safrit, president of Castle & Cooke in North Carolina, and Peter Gilmore, of Dole Foods, for their support.
Organizers are seeking farmers who want to sell produce or other agricultural products at Farmers Day.The Piedmont Research Station has agreed to participate in the farm exhibit along with Future Farmers of America Chapters from area high schools.
Allen Goodman of Goodman Farm Supply is working to get participation from local growers.
Anyone interested in selling produce or agricultural products at Farmers Day may contact Withers at 704-855-4684, e-mail, or write to P.O. Box 276, China Grove, N.C. 28023.
Rental fees for the farmers market are $5 for an 8-foot booth.
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Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or