New farmers market offers fresh, local produce in Granite Quarry

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 10, 2022

GRANITE QUARRY — A couple in the heart of Granite Quarry had a mission: to offer a one-stop-shop for fresh, Carolina-grown produce while bringing business to local farmers.

In March, Rype & Ready Produce brought that mission to life, offering  an array of  fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products all sourced from the state.

Kelly Robinson, co-owner and founder of the market, grew up on a farm with a football field-sized garden providing produce that her family sold at their farmers market, Angie’s Fresh Produce in Southport, N.C. Her husband, Bryon Robinson, worked on a garden with his grandfather as a child and took several agriculture classes while in school. Now, he maintains a garden where he grows produce to sell at the market.

In considering their retirement, in addition to income from Bryon’s construction company, R&R Home Improvement, the pair wanted to go back to the  roots of a fresh market. The spelling of “ripe” in the name came from the Southern drawl pronunciation letter “I,” which to the ear resembles more of a “Y.”

Around 20 local farms sell to Rype & Ready Produce, including an assortment of produce, meat, honey, eggs, dairy goods, sweets and organic hygiene products. The market works closely with the community, from offering delivery service within 10 miles of the store to purchasing products from growers who come in looking for a place to sell their items. The market even offers unique farm goods not available in conventional grocery stores such as duck eggs, yellow watermelon and habanero-infused honey. The newest addition to the market is Cruse Meats.

Kelly says tomatoes are the No. 1 seller at the stand as “everybody always wants fresh, local tomatoes.” This includes a variety of standard, cherry and heirloom.

If customers choose home delivery, they can call the farmers market, place their order and as long as it reaches a total of $20, it is delivered for free. The only thing that is suggested is that homeowners tip the delivery driver as gas prices are still near an all-time high.

“To us, it isn’t only to help the community itself, but it helps the market expand and grow at the same time for smaller farms,” Kelly said.

She takes a truck to hand-pick each piece of produce from various vendors across North Carolina and some surrounding states. To keep watermelon all the way into the fall, a farmer in Florida is able to supply the summer favorite to keep the bins stocked.

On the weekly produce pickup, which is a two-day process, a truck could carry up to 15,000 pounds of produce at a time. Each fruit or vegetable is hand-sorted to evaluate quality because Kelly wants to make sure she knows exactly what she is giving her customers. In between these trips, she visits local farms in Rowan County to pick up their garden goods.

Like most businesses, the farm has had to raise prices on most products because of the wholesale cost of produce and gas for delivery trucks. She said it has been a struggle for the business, but they have  worked harder to make the market a success. They plan to continue doing whatever it takes to keep it that way.

Kelly and Bryon Robinson put in 16 hour days to ensure the store offers customers the best products available, and this includes cleaning and rotating produce several times a day, fetching deliveries and providing the best customer service possible. If a buyer comes home and finds a fault in the purchase, the market offers either a full refund or an equivalent swap.

Kelly gives much of the credit of the success of Rype & Ready Produce to the employees, as they are the ones who run the store while she is on the road. They assist customers, cut up fruit for convenience containers in the fridge section, sort and rotate produce and help with unloading deliveries.

Bryon said he plans to retire from the construction company and focus full-time on Rype & Ready Produce if the business thrives.

The market is located at 144 S. Salisbury Avenue in Granite Quarry and is open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday.