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North Carolina Food, Drink, Product - Local

I am working on a cook out for media coverage online that is international.

I'd like to feature local products as much as possible.

Cheerwine is made here, so that's the drink. We also have local dairies for churned ice cream and local strawberry farms to top the ice cream off.

Now I am trying to think of other locals for the meat and side dishes or bread etc.

The closest town is Salisbury, NC. That is between Charlotte and Greensboro. Would like to keep it close enough to get some photos if possible. But, I think anything NC would be fine.

Not looking for freebies or anything. Just want to give a shout out to people in this area if possible.

All I have to do is cook out on a certain date. and write about it. Was menu planning in my head while trying to go to sleep. Thought of the local angle. Now here I am online when I should be sleeping.

I need to keep it fairly simple as it's a tailgater and need to carry it all in, but if I could get a few more local products, that would be nice I think. I just thought I could mention the company and maybe get a quote from someone at the company. So - looking for good stuff from this area if possible.

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  1. I think a trip to a local farmer's market would produce lots of possibilities. Specifically, some local producers include Grateful Growers for pork, Bird Brain Ostrich Farm, Poplin Farms for beef, Laughing Owl farm for chicken.

    1. Have you tried the NC Ag Dept.' "Goodness Grows In NC" page? It's a state program that recognizes NC-made food items. There's a link on the Ag Dept. website.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rockycat

        No. Sure haven't. Off to look at that now. Tks.

      2. As far as Cheerwine goes, Food Lion use to carry Cheerwine ice cream and Innes St. Drugs on South Main St. sells Cheerwine Fudge. Apple Baking Co. in Salisbury sells cake slices and other desserts. Lance crakers are from Charlotte. Smithfield ham is from NC. Nesse sauages is from NC somewhere I think. Of course, NC BBQ from Lexington area.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Tanglebriar

          Also, since Food Lion is from Salisbury. What about all the Food Lion brand products?

          1. re: Tanglebriar

            Hey. That's a good idea. I am always getting help from the meat guys at Food Lion across from the mall. Maybe I could get a photo talking to them. We've shopped Food Lion since back when it was one store called Food Town and the motto was LFPINC (-:

            1. re: CyndiA

              Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina. I remember those days.

              1. re: brentk

                Awww.....I'm humming the tune now.....

                1. re: brentk

                  WINK! I wondered if anyone else would know that.

            2. re: Tanglebriar

              As much of a strawberry lover as i am, i would use the strawberries for salad or something else and use Cherrwine syrup over the ice cream. Have you ever had it? Also, there is a winery in Lexington that is close by. I have never been there or tried it.

              1. re: Tanglebriar

                My son was hoping for a strawberry punch bowl cake. Would need to round up another cooler though. Haven't heard of the Cheerwine syrup. Do you buy that or make it? Tks.

                1. re: CyndiA

                  Cheerwine syrup is the syrup that they add to the carbonated water to make cheerwine. Until recently, you could not buy it . I had a uncle that worked there and could bring some of it home. You can now buy it at the cheerwine plant near Rowan Cabarrus Community College. It is so good cold over vanilla ice cream.

                  1. re: Tanglebriar

                    Oh. That does sound good. Will have to check that out. Tks.

              2. re: Tanglebriar

                Yes Neese's sausage and liver pudding are NC, but we have Corriher here in town. Not sure about grilling but maybe sausage in the baked (grilled really) beans. All this has to be road food for down next to the Yadkin River.

              3. For sure you will need hot sauce to cook with...Texas Pete! www.texaspete.com
                Whats a cookout with out some pickles....Mt.Olive Pickles! www.mtolivepickles.com
                Both NC based.

                Not bad for a Yankee huh?

                10 Replies
                  1. re: JoanInNC

                    Thanks for all the ideas everyone!

                    Smile on the Yankee note. Yep. Good stuff you mentioned.

                    Anyone know anything about Carolina Bottling Company out in the country near Mooresville? I think they have blonde beer. Web page does not have much as far as details. Not sure if it's sold in grocery stores here. Will have to look.

                    1. re: CyndiA

                      I am pretty familiar with the brewery and would direct you to the following site for more information:


                      They produce more Mike's Hard Lemonade under contract than they do beer, I believe, but I may be wrong about that. Most of their beers are underwhelming, unfortunately, and the blonde is more of a gimmick than anything else. I know that you can get their beers in Total Wine in Charlotte and, I suspect, many of the grocery stores as well. Not sure whether they make it out to Salisbury.

                      If you really want to add a great local brewery to the mix, I would go to Winston-Salem and get some growlers from Foothills. They make a very nice range of beers:


                      1. re: brentk

                        I have mostly saints and not sinners in the fam (-: If you're small town Southern, you'll know what I mean.

                        My guess is that a 12 pack (or two to be sure) would do the guest list as it stands. Of course, on the Yadkin, I could make lots of new freinds with food and beer.

                        Spirits would not be my area of expertise. So, if you have an idea for something that would be NC or at least Southern, that would be great. I think I'll do a little Jack Daniels in the baked beans. I'm thinking mid afternoon so was beer would be the best pick - maybe. Open to better ideas of course.

                        Tks for the links. Checked those out.

                        1. re: CyndiA

                          A middle of the road, but good, North Carolina beer would be Highland Gaelic Ale, which is brewed up in Asheville. It is widely available in the grocery stores in Charlotte and the Triad (not sure about Salisbury) but you could also find it in the Total Wine in Charlotte just off WT Harris.

                          1. re: brentk

                            Harris Teeter in Salisbury tends to carry a good selection. I'll check there on that first. Would love to road trip it to Asheville. Hum. Thinking on that. Tks.

                            1. re: CyndiA

                              If you are gonna trek to Asheville, you can find many local brews that are better than Highlands (not that Highlands is bad by any means). Pisgah Brewing in Black Mtn. is VERY good and you wouldnt even have to drive the extra 20 minutes into Asheville.

                              1. re: jbplaster

                                Another shout-out for Gaelic and NC beer.

                                Please let me know if I can be of help with NC beer-related info. I maintain a website on North Carolina beer (http://knowyourbrewer.com) and would be thrilled to see NC beer be the showcase beverage.

                                Not to take anything away from Cheerwine, but with 40 breweries and brewpubs, NC is clearly the craft beer state of the South. (In fact, Asheville just tied with Portland, OR for Beer City USA in a recent totally unscientific online poll).

                                1. re: peetoteeto

                                  Thanks for the info and link. Nice site! I'll see what I can do on finding some.

                  2. I don't which part of the state you're focusing on but the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project's website has tons of information about local foods.


                    As far as local meats, you can't beat the Hickory Nut Gap Farm meats. They're even serving their local-made hot dogs at the minor league ball park here. Yum.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Leepa

                      The basic theme is a Southern cook out. I'm from the piedmont near Salisbury, NC. I'm looking local, state, or southern in general.

                      On a side note, my family is originally from the Appalachian mountains - southwest Virginia.

                        1. re: oppland

                          Hickory Nut Gap, aka Springhouse Meats, is a little sloppy with their meat. Their beef needs to be aged. Their steaks look limp and slimey at the local Greenlife Grocery. It's tough and chewey. They're doing everything right except the ageing.

                      1. I second a suggestion for Grateful Growers Farm pork - Denver NC. It doesn't get more local that these wonderful people and their delicious pork products. http://www.ggfarm.com/

                        Serve some of their pork basted with Bone Suckin' Sauce which is made and bottled in Chapel Hill, NC and sold at most local grocery stores. http://www.bonesuckin.com/

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lynnlato

                          Oh yes. I know Bone Suckin' Sauce. We like that. Tks.

                        2. You mentioned you have Corriher. Well get some livermush! Thats about the most local Piedmont-centric food you can get.

                          I agree with the Cheerwine syrup. If you're going to be in the Yadkin valley, wine would be appropriate. But muscadine wine would be perfect...or scuppernong if you prefer. Would be novel to 98% of people you give it to. If the crowd doesn't drink, try cooking the muscadine down to syrup.

                          Find some hoop cheese.

                          Sourdough bread. Not that San Francisco crap, but the dense yeasty NC style. Look for it at local markets and bakeries, you won't find it at the store.

                          Get some good country ham.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: billyjack

                            Maybe I won't tell folks it's livermush (-: Can't get my guys to try it, but I like it.

                            Locally, they just have the hoop cheese in cold weather. But, again, Harris Teeter might have some.

                            The burgers will be on sour dough bread with pimento cheese. There is a Menonite community (sp) about 10 miles from here.

                            I don't think we call this the Yadkin Valley. It's western Rowan County near Cooleemee. The park is on the Yadkin River though. I need to check the list, but I'm thinking most are not drinkers off the top of my head.

                            Country ham is one of my all time favs and local farm that does that - son teaches at the middle school.

                            Tks for all the ideas.

                          2. I sure hope you will post a link when you have finished! Good Luck!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cackalackie

                              Thanks so much. Not sure how links go over here if to our own spaces. My profile has my web page which I just started at the end of last summer. I do all of it, but it is slowly building. For quicker stuff I usually blog and hope it's OK to say that a Google for barbecue master turns me up usually first. It is more grilling than barbecue, but people outside the south call grilling by barbecue. So, I just use both terms. Forgive me my Southern buds. I do know better.

                            2. This isn't quite NC but just over the state line into South Carolina, they make Blenhiem Ginger Ale http://blenheimshrine.com/ the best gingerale/beer on the planet.

                              Also, what about Boiled Peanuts?

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: BlueHerons

                                Oh. That sounds good. Since Cheerwine is from this county, I'll prob do that. But, I will look for the Ginger Ale and can write on that.

                                I love boiled peanuts but I've never seen them here. Go figure. Have to make them myself or go further south. Wonder why we don't do them here? Hum. Odd.

                                But, yes, I am looking at Southern in general. So, it does not have to be right from this area. I just hope to get some local names out there too. Nice to give a shout out to friends and neighbors.

                                1. re: CyndiA

                                  Boiled peanuts are definitely a South Carolina/Georgia thing. My NC family thinks that they're the grossest things on earth, but the SC branch can't get enough.

                                  1. re: Suzy Q

                                    Boiled peanuts are very common in eastern NC, particularly in the northeastern part of the state where peanuts are grown. I used to eat them all the time when visiting my mothers family in that area.

                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                      Wow. First I've EVER heard that. Glad to hear it - now I wish I could just find the darn things up here. Every time I stop somewhere and ask, they look at me like I'm speaking a foreign language.

                                      1. re: Suzy Q

                                        I've had them all over NC, I guess it depends where you are. Definitely easier to find down east where peanuts are growing. Here in Charlotte you can get them at the Yorkmount and Kings Dr. farmers markets, and even at Panthers games. And some of the older filling stations in more "country" areas on up into the mountains. Now they're supposed to be green peanuts in season, but occasionally I'll get some that taste like dried roasted peanuts have been boiled....

                                        1. re: billyjack

                                          I'm piedmont and a very small town. I see some in cans at the grocery store, but I'm not sure how those would taste. They are just with the other nuts like peanuts and mixed nuts etc.

                                          1. re: CyndiA

                                            Ewww, trust me - the canned ones are gross!

                                              1. re: CyndiA

                                                It's easy enough to make your own. Here's a recipe you make in a crockpot.


                                                1. re: Leepa

                                                  Thanks! Hadn't thought of doing them in the crock pot. That sounds simple enough.

                                                  1. re: CyndiA

                                                    Somehow it's just not the same if I don't get 'em from a roadside stand with a hand-lettered sign. :-)

                                              2. re: Suzy Q

                                                Actually, I was desperate one winter and bought the Roddenberry's in a can. First taste? Bleech. I dumped them in a pot and added a bunch of water, cooked them another couple of hours and they passed for the real thing.

                                                Not hole-in-the-wall-roadside-stand real thing but they worked:)

                                  2. re: BlueHerons

                                    Go for Old #3. That will fire them up!

                                    1. re: jbplaster

                                      Sorry. I must be lost on the threads here. Is Old #3 something to drink or barbecue sauce?

                                      1. re: CyndiA

                                        Old #3 is the really spicy version of Blenheim Ginger Ale.

                                        1. re: Suzy Q

                                          Thanks! Got it now. Will look for that.

                                          1. re: Suzy Q

                                            did not know it was called old #3. personally it is the best version

                                    2. Has anyone mentioned Cackalacky Sauce - a zesty hot-ish sauce made with sweet potatoes. I like it on fries!

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: suse

                                        I haven't heard of that. Is it sold at the grocery stores? Tks. Sounds yummy.

                                        1. re: CyndiA

                                          It's sold here and there and unfortunately is a bit pricey. I first tried it at the Federal in Durham. They also have it at Milltown in Carrboro. Check out their website: http://www.cackalacky.com/

                                          1. re: suse

                                            They listed Harris Teeter, so I'll see if they have it at our local one. It's a big store, so I hope so.

                                            1. re: CyndiA

                                              Don't forget Texas Pete products are made here!

                                              Also if you find yourself near Gastonia, pick up some RO's slaw (or "sauce, slaw, and dip" as it says on the label).

                                        2. re: suse

                                          Speaking of sweet potatoes, according to these good folks "North Carolina is the leader in sweetpotato production, supplying 40% of the annual US production of sweetpotatoes" so may want to work them into your menu .


                                          1. re: AreBe

                                            I love sweet potatoes! Thanks for the info and link on that.

                                        3. If you're looking for Gourmet over Gourmand, try Goat Lady Dairy cheeses in Climax, NC (goatladydairy.com). Their Gray's Chapel is exquisite.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jbplaster

                                            I must say that the name of the town is enough to be interesting before even thinking about the cheese (-:

                                          2. You've got wine made in the Western NC area. I think there is a Biltmore Lable. Not familiar with the livermush, but can you sell it as "pate"?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jwg

                                              I looked at my guest list, and I would guess only one person would know the word pate. This is a rural area, and they'd know it was livermush. I find most people either love it or won't try it.

                                            2. I want to thank everyone for all the ideas. I could not get everything for one cook out for about 20 people, but I will keep checking out local products and thank everyone for the heads up on ones I didn't know about (and the ones i know and love too).

                                              Someone had asked about a link to the cook out, but I hate to link out and look like spamming. I am just a hobby person on food with some paid writing gigs but mostly in the tech area like ROI on software.

                                              The cook out turned out great as far as the food and spotlighting some of our locals, but we did have some real drama. My 16-yr-old son was missing. He jumped in the river raging after rain all week to save someone. They went down the river, and I just did not know . . .

                                              My kid is fine. The other one went to ER but was OK too. We went on with the cook out, and it was all the sweeter with being so thankful my youngest was back and safe and a hero to boot.

                                              I think that may be what food is all about - family, friends, love, and heart.


                                              If the link is not OK here, pull it or I can. But, maybe some of all the nice people who shared here would like to know about a kid who jumped in the river when no one else would. He scared his Momma half to death, but she is proud of him.

                                              1. I've spent some time in different parts of NC and I have to agree that Cheerwine rocks and definitely is the drink. When it comes to other products, there is a wonderful farmers market in Charleston. I was there 2 years ago. They had homegrown food and canned goods - chutneys, salsas, etc. Hot sauces too. They had wonderful warm pretzels and goat cheese. I can't remember it all but I also bought some fabulous grits that were from a grist mill outside of town. You must showcase grits!

                                                Also some of the restaurants from around there may give you stuff - such as Jestine's Kitchen - they have the best Coconut Creme Pie in the world! It was even in O Magazine. Oprah adores their pie. I ate it and I have to agree and I'm not big on Coconut Creme Pie at all. They had the best Pecan Crusted Whitefish I have ever tasted.

                                                I hope this helps.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: RisaG

                                                  Just for clarification purposes, Charleston is in South Carolina, not North.

                                                  1. re: Suzy Q

                                                    I was wondering if we had a Charleston in NC that I'd not heard about. I know there are a number of small towns that have names that people associate with another state like the little town where I live. I always have to remind people it's NC, and I still get some mail that has Ohio for the state (but the correct zip code).

                                                  2. re: RisaG

                                                    I do love Coconut Creme Pie, so I'll have to look for that when I get down further South.

                                                    We had the Carolina Cook Out, but I'm always looking for other great Southern foods and places to try them out.

                                                    Tks for the ideas!