With the pervasive COVID-19 virus making our world less predictable, we are all making sacrifices in order to ensure the safety of everyone in our communities. Those in areas where farmers markets are closed miss visits with local farmers, the produce fresh from the earth, and a reason to be outdoors. With spring upon us, Got to Be NC, a marketing program of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has been busy connecting N.C.’s agricultural community with its consumers while everyone stays home. You’ve probably seen Got To Be NC’s golden “Goodness Grows” logo at your favorite restaurants or at the annual Got to Be NC festival held at the state fairgrounds each May (this year’s event has been cancelled). In February 2019, Got to Be NC’s website got a facelift that makes finding these local food growers, producers and restaurants an easy scroll. If you’re craving the seasonal bounty of North Carolina’s spring, here are a few of the assets you’ll find when browsing the updated site from the comfort of your couch.
Everything from berries to beverages can be found HERE. The state’s vast network of farmer’s markets are conveniently listed HERE. Before making the drive, make sure to research whether your local farmer’s market’s hours have been modified by coronavirus-related regulations.
The site features a database containing over 300 restaurants, some of which have transitioned to curbside take-out and delivery service to stay afloat during state-mandated sheltering measures. All of the businesses, which source products that are NC-grown, are searchable by restaurant type, city, and county. That’s just one of the new site’s innovative offerings.
The vibrant colors and bold images highlight seasonal, fresh produce and locally-made fare. The options range from fruit preserves to dairy products--all North Carolina’s own. Jamie Hall, marketing manager for the Got To Be NC program, says, “We have created evergreen content to inspire consumers to buy N.C. local products through the use of inspirational articles, videos and recipes.” If you click on the “Inspiration” tab, you will be directed to a variety of “local dish recipes” which feature North Carolina-grown ingredients and Carolina-grown personalities. The collection from WRAL’s “Local Dish,” segment is co-hosted by Lisa Prince and Brian Shrader. WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner shared a quick and kid-friendly prosciutto and peas recipe that she says is one of her daughter’s favorites. WRAL anchor Joe Fisher shares a family dessert he calls “Special K Ice Cream Cake,” that’s guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.
The website’s “Inspiration” section offers a panoramic view of our state’s vast regions through articles and videos with a personal touch. One article profiles the North Carolina Cheese Trail, which consists of more than 30 creameries spanning from the state’s Triad region to eastern North Carolina. Catfish and trout farms are highlighted in an article that celebrates the state’s seafood industry. Fishing farms, like Buck Creek Trout farm whose applewood-smoked trout has reportedly converted non-fish eaters. Buck Creek is just one of several family-owned fish farms that welcomes visitors for recreational fishing and picnics.
As you’re hunkering down at home, we recommend taking a moment to browse the new Got To Be NC website. We’re sure you will be inspired.