Trump visits Flavor 1st Growers and Packers in Henderson County

President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks on the "Farmers to Families Food Box Program" at Flavor First Growers and Packers, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Mills River, N.C. Ivanka Trump, center and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, right, applaud. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

MILLS RIVER – President Donald Trump visited Flavor 1st Growers and Packers, a food packing and distribution company in northern Henderson County on Monday as part of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, which supports American farmers and families through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“Today we’re here to celebrate the incredible work of the farmers and faith leaders and amazing volunteers who are caring for their community through our highly successful Farmers to Families Food Box program,” Trump said. “I just looked at a couple of those boxes, and I said, ‘I want to have something right now.’

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program was authorized by $3 billion in direct purchasing under the CARES Act and was spearheaded by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and adviser to the president, Ivanka Trump.

Baptists on Mission, a mission organization and auxiliary to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, was awarded a contract through the USDA to help distribute the boxes to 200 nonprofits, food banks and faith-based organizations.

According to the White House, 70 million family-sized food boxes have been delivered to those in need through the first two rounds of the program.

 “During this time of trial, we’ve seen once and again that the strength of our nation lies in patriotic citizens, like everyone here today,” Trump said. “I’ve met so many of you. Each time you deliver a food box to a family, you show them that, in this country, no one is forgotten.”

Earlier Monday, Trump spoke to delegates assembled in Charlotte for the official business meeting of the 2020 Republican National Convention. It was at this meeting that Trump was formally nominated for reelection along with Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke to the assembled delegates as well.

Trump landed in Fletcher on Marine One, with a large crowd gathered to see the president on the tarmac. Supporters and a smattering of protesters lined the roads leading to the Flavor 1st facility.

Perdue said during his remarks that Trump called him early one morning after seeing food destroyed and milk being dumped by farmers as the coronavirus pandemic upended the nation. Perdue said the president’s “business speed, not government speed” helped spur the USDA to design the food box program to help farmers recoup some losses while helping families in need.

In introducing Ivanka Trump, Perdue said the adviser and daughter of the president believes in the program and has been a staunch advocate since the beginning.

 “This is truly a win-win-win program,” Ivanka Trump said. “You can’t say that about a lot of government programs, especially one of this scale that was mobilized so quickly. Incorporating American farmers and ranchers, empowering our workforce, and serving families in need is — is about as good as it gets.”

Flavor 1st traces their lineage in farming back to 1798 when James Noble Johnson began farming in Buncombe County. In 1900, the family moved to Henderson County, and after eight generations, the family continues to grow, pack and ship produce.

“I love North Carolina. And I promised my sister-in-law I would say that with particular emphasis because Lara Trump has told me more about this amazing state than I think just about anywhere,” Ivanka Trump said. “I may know more about North Carolina than I do about New York, and I’ve lived there most of my life. So I love you all. It’s great to be here.”