Memorial Day is often considered the kick-off to summer. For many families, this weekend is spent traveling, enjoying family picnics or having a cookout in the backyard. No matter how you spend your weekend, you can easily incorporate local food into the mix. Here are some tips and resources to get you started:
1. Visit a local farmers market
Spend time this weekend at a local farmers market. Take some time to get to know your local farmers. Ask them questions about their farms and farming operations. If you’re traveling, stop at a farmers market or roadside stand along the way. Or, if you’re staying near home, visit a farmers market you’ve never been to before. You can find a listing of farmers markets and roadside stands across the state at www.ncfarmfresh.com.
2. Sample local products
Last weekend’s Got to Be NC Festival featured dozens of local food products. Sadly, the festival is over, but you can still find these wonderful N.C. products at local retail outlets. Use the North Carolina General Store to search for a variety of baked goods, sauces, frozen treats and snacks produced in North Carolina.
3. Plan a winery or brewery tour
North Carolina has a rich wine industry and a growing local beer scene. Many of these operations use local ingredients in their products. Several also offer tours or special tastings throughout the year. Work a tour in your next vacation. You can search for vineyards and wineries near you at www.visitncwine.com and find a local brewery or brewpub at www.ncbeer.org.
4. Get hooked on local seafood
North Carolina has one of the most diverse seafood industries in the nation. At www.nc-seafood.org, you’ll find an online seafood directory for local seafood, as well as seafood recipes and other helpful information. For the freshest taste, make sure you buy seafood in season. You can download a seafood availability chart from N.C. Sea Grant’s website.
5. Visit a local farm
From barnyard animals and bird watching to pick-your-own vegetables and dining, agritourism farms offer something for everyone throughout the year. An agritourism farm can be a perfect day trip or weekend getaway. To find a location near you, go to our Agritourism website.
These are great resources to get you started, but there are many more ways to enjoy local food and support N.C. farmers. How do you plan to enjoy local food this holiday weekend?