New store helps meet demand for local produce in Winston-Salem neighborhood

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- For years, people in the Ogburn Station neighborhood in Winston-Salem have had limited access to fresh produce.

They would have to travel outside their immediate area to get fresh fruits and vegetables – until recently.

Paula McCoy and her husband Jerry Anderson opened The Village Produce and Country Store at 4219 N. Liberty St.

“Since this was a food desert and the work that I do has been in community development, I knew how important that was to be able to be a provider,” McCoy said.

Now people in the area don’t have to travel far to find healthy options.

Customer Stephanie Martin likes the convenience of the store given that she lives a little more than a mile away.

“To be able to come across the street and get my fresh vegetables and fresh fruits and any canned items that I may need,” Martin said.

Local farmer Vern Switzer has been working with the store to provide produce in that community.

“I think people are learning now that healthy eating starts with good local produce,” Switzer said.

“That’s the idea, to be straight from the farm to our customers,” McCoy said.

The store had a soft opening in late October and a grand opening Nov. 12.

The Village Produce and Country Store works with a wholesaler for items that aren’t grown during winter, but during summer, the hope is to have all produce provided by local farmers.