I stopped because of the name; I liked the sound of Port City Produce—not only the alliteration but it’s so Wilmington-sounding. I was traveling south from Wilmington, NC, to Pleasure Island (the island on the other side of Snow’s Cut Bridge) and here was this charming roadside stand at Monkey Junction. I’m also a firm believer in buying local and getting the freshest produce possible.
What are those hanging plastic bags?
See the plastic bags of water hanging over the produce? These are to keep the flies away. Each bag has a penny in the bottom and the sunlight is reflected and shoots rays in all directions. According to Sam, flies are attracted to light, so the flies are drawn to the bags and not the produce. Then, when the light rays bounce from the bag away from the produce, the flies follow the light off into oblivion.I asked Sam what are these bags called? She replied, “Plastic bags with water in them.”
I’m going to find a way to rig some up at my next outdoor picnic.
Owners Sven Wallin and Chris Hutchins, two “youngins” as they say in these parts, started Port City Produce wanting to offer fresh local produce to folks. They have another location on Market Street in downtown Wilmington, NC, a lovely antebellum city, a few miles north of this location. I talked with Andrew Cameron, a principal with Port City Produce, who said they were all graduates of Cape Fear Community College and Applachian State University and wanted to give this a go. Into their second year, the business is doing well.
What I really love is how these young entrepreneurs chat it up with the customers. Their welcoming southern-boy drawl pulls you into their arena. They like to find out who you are and what made you stop. They even tried to get some of their customers in the photo with us. “We’re gonna be famous,” Andrew beamed.
Sam helps them out at the register. She is a student at the local University of North Carolina-Wilmington majoring in exercise science. She is fit as a fiddle and pretty as a picture—she obviously eats what she sells.
Port City Produce also carries a variety of jams, pickles and other jarred items (even chow chow!) from D’Vine Foods, Bellew’s Market, and Dutch Kettle. I picked up a jar of Triple Berry Spin Preserves made from a special blend of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries from North Carolina.
Back home, I like to buy local and buy fresh so I can cook with the very best ingredients. Here at the beach, I’m not doing any cooking, but I’m buying fresh and local. In the middle of this blog, I got up from my computer and helped myself to a ripe, juicy peach. My keyboard is sticky with juice but boy was it good!
Check out Port City Produce and if you’re in these parts, stop by and say hey.