Cabarrus

Business delivers farm produce

Local businesswoman and mother Melanie O'Connell Underwood recently introduced a service to the Lake Norman region that delivers boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables from 25 N.C. farms to companies and homes.

The Produce Box was founded four years ago by a Raleigh mother who wanted farm-fresh food in her neighborhood. The service delivers fruits and vegetables, honey, breads and salsa each week during the N.C. growing season.

Offices sign up

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, off Interstate 77 Exit 33 in Mooresville, recently became the first Lake Norman-area employer to sign up for the service, making it an employee benefit..

Mooresville Internal Medicine Associates also signed up for the program, O'Connell Underwood said.

Farmers pick their produce fresh and deliver it to a central location, where it's packed and brought to Mooresville. The boxes are delivered the day they arrive in Mooresville, O'Connell Underwood said.

Selections vary by what's in season. At least three choices are always available, along with an organic choice and fruit-only choice.

Comparable cost

The cost is comparable to prices at a farmers market or grocery store, and participants can skip weeks anytime with no penalty, she said. Participants also receive a weekly newsletter containing recipes for that week's produce.

Neighborhood coordinators make the deliveries. O'Connell Underwood has three coordinators so far - two in Mooresville and one in Davidson - and is looking for Cornelius, Huntersville and Troutman coordinators.

O'Connell Underwood, who also runs an economic development consulting business, is a longtime friend of Courtney Tellefsen, founder of The Produce Box.

The Produce Box also serves Durham, Wilmington and Winston-Salem, delivering to such companies as SAS, Blue Cross Blue Shield, a Burt's Bees manufacturing plant and the (Wilmington) Star News newspaper.

Details: O'Connell Underwood, 704-650-8212; underwood@theproduceboxcom; www.theproducebox.com.

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