Finding fresh, locally grown food is not difficult in North Carolina. There is an abundance of fresh produce, meats and cheeses available throughout the year, and particularly in the summer months. But, keeping track of what’s in season and where to find it can be difficult. Here are three resources you can use throughout the year to find local food near you.
1. N.C. Farm Fresh
The website, managed by the department’s Marketing Division, allows you to search for farms, farmers markets, roadside stands and garden centers near you. The database includes 158 farmers markets and more than 700 certified roadside stands. You can search for specific commodities, such as peaches, or search by location. You can use the location parameters to find a new market near you, or visit a market on the other side of the state while you’re on vacation.
2. Produce Availability Chart
If you are new to North Carolina, or just need a reminder of the growing seasons in the state, download the produce availability chart. The chart is a handy guide to keep on your refrigerator and lists the growing seasons for 25 major N.C. commodities. This is particularly helpful if you’ve moved to North Carolina from a state with slightly different growing seasons. It also can help you plan meals around in-season produce.
3. State Farmers Markets
The five state-operated farmers markets offer a bounty of locally grown food. In addition, farmers markets host special commodity events, contest and other activities throughout the year. For example, the Piedmont Triad Farmer Market will host a craft fair this weekend with more than 50 craft vendors. Later in the summer, markets will host Peach Days, Watermelon Days and more. Markets are located in Asheville, Charlotte, Colfax, Raleigh and Lumberton.
These are some of the resources available from the department. What resources do you use to find locally grown food?