Local Lovin’

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in North Carolina, why not celebrate with North Carolina?

The Produce Lady, a program that advocates bolsering the state economy by purchasing locally grown foods, has collected a list of treats from right here at home that will make your Valentine smile — and feel a lot more personal than a drugstore box of chocolates.

“There’s a common misconception that local foods — particularly fruits and vegetables — are not available during the winter, especially here in North Carolina,” says The Produce Lady co-director Leah Chester-Davis. “In reality, several farmers markets are open through the winter months, and local foods are available year-round.”

For starters, North Carolina has more than 100 wineries, and nearly three-quarters of them are in the Piedmont. Attend a Valentine-themed event, plan a trip to tour a winery, or just pick up a bottle to toast the evening.  

Oodles of farms, farmers markets, nurseries and other agriculture producers sell gift items, from roadside stands to pick-your-own farms. Pick one item, or bundle several of your favorites into a personalized package.

The Produce Lady’s recommendations include gourmet pastas from Boone-based The Pasta Wench; pecans from Elizabeth’s Pecans (dark chocolate, orange crème and even jalapeno are among the choices); the namesake product from Farmers Roasted Soynuts; and sweet potato crackers in five flavors from Polka Dot Bake Shop in Charlotte.

Beyond the edible, learn a bit about state history with a romantic getaway to Old Salem or Biltmore Estate.

Learn more about The Produce Lady program at theproducelady.org.


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