Fry Family Farm has granted $10,000 to Thrive to support Rogue Valley farmers in producing high quality produce during the hot summer months. The funds will be used by Thrive to reimburse farmers for the construction of on-farm refrigeration. The Fry Family Food Hub will serve as a resource for wholesale produce distribution that can be used by farmers throughout the Rogue Valley.

“We are grateful to be working with Thrive to expand the wholesale produce market in Southern Oregon,” said Amber Fry of Fry Family Farm.

Thrive and Fry Family Farm work closely together to promote locally grown foods through the Rogue Valley Grown program. In an attempt to increase the amount of wholesale produce grown in the Rogue Valley, Thrive is offering the Cold-Chain Reimbursement program. This program will reimburse up to six qualified farms up to $1,500 each to build cold storage units on their farm or buy an ice machine to keep the produce chilled at the correct temperature on the farm until it gets ready to be delivered.

“The objective of the reimbursement program is to help local farmers improve their post-harvest handling and cold chain system through improved on-farm refrigeration to increase the amount of Rogue Valley Grown produce available in area grocery stores and restaurants,” explains Elise Higley of Thrive.

Thrive's Rogue Valley Grown project increases the availability of locally grown foods in Jackson and Josephine county grocery stores and restaurants. Thrive works with farmers in both counties to increase their capacity, seasonal crop planning, and facilitate sales. In addition, Thrive staff and volunteers educate shoppers with seasonal recipes and food samples in the stores with an aim at increasing shoppers' confidence in cooking with fresh produce.

The Rogue Valley Grown project is part of Thrive’s mission to strengthen and connect businesses and community members in the greater Rogue Valley who share a commitment to creating an economy that preserves community character, promotes social justice and protects ecological health and diversity.

As part of the Cold-Chain Reimbursement project, OSU Small Farms/Extension will offer a workshop on how to build a cold storage unit using a Cool-Bot unit. The workshop will be taught by the inventor of the Cool-Bot unit, Ron Khosla, who lives here in the Rogue Valley.

For more information on the project, workshop or to receive an application for the Cold-Chain Reimbursement please email Elise Higley. Applications are due December 31, 2015.

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