White’s Farm of Vanceboro, NC grows with E-Commerce by Accelerate Rural NC & Barn2Door

Opening up right before Christmas

Holly White Hardee, a second generation farmer couldn’t believe that her farm was now able to sell products online. “My dad is going to be amazed that we can do this!”

White’s Farm was started in 1986 and specializes in growing strawberries and flowers along with other crops. They are located about 5 miles from New Bern, NC.

They offer strawberry and other jams along with homemade ice cream to the delicious products now available online. Typically the selling season ends in early November when the on-premise retail operation closes. Adding online sales has resulted in sales continuing through the Christmas season to customers in Greenville as well as helping their restaurant customers to order online instead of by telephone.

Holly enrolled in the first cohort of Accelerate Rural NC, a virtual accelerator hosted by East Carolina University’s Crisp Small Business Center and funded by a grant from NC IDEA. The experience was 100% virtual and included Zoom meetings 5 days a week. Holly was introduced to a leading e-commerce service partner of ARNC called Barn2Door. They specialize in helping farmers open online farm stores. More than 2,000 farms across the USA are successfully using the software to offset the impacts of Covid-19 by selling farm products directly to consumers. They offer full service consulting including extensive onboarding and assistance in opening up an online farm store. Holly like most farmers is extremely busy on a day to day basis. Taking time out to build and launch an online store seemed impossible until ARNC and Barn2Door showed her how easy it could be.

White’s Farm is busy planning for the traditional Spring selling season but are adding new marketing programs because of their new E-commerce capability. One of their goals was to figure out a way to reach the attractive New Bern, NC retirement community. Partnering with a popular country club they are offering special programs via the club’s newsletter, website and social media to be redeemed at the farm’s web store. Special drop offs and delivery options are being considered. Additional options are being considered with Greenville Produce to enable even more delivery options all the way to Raleigh and the Outerbanks!

We believe that every farm can benefit from developing an e-commerce store. Accelerate Rural NC will be offering our second cohort this February and encourage farms and farm markets to apply to our free program!