RALEIGH — Farmers across North Carolina are in full swing, bringing their fresh fruits and vegetables to market. Those farmers are part of the state’s $78-billion agriculture industry. In recognition of agriculture’s importance as the state’s top industry, Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed July 2014 as Got to Be NC Agriculture Month.
“We created the Got to Be NC marketing program almost a decade ago to help consumers identify local products no matter where they shop,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I’m proud to say that Got to Be NC still stands for quality local agricultural products grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina.”
Got to Be NC, the official state identity program for North Carolina agricultural products, is managed by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The agency works with farmers, agribusinesses, retail partners and foodservice providers to promote North Carolina agricultural products and find new markets to help local farmers.
Several special events are planned during July to celebrate Got to Be NC Agriculture Month, including:
Peach Days at the state-operated farmers markets in Raleigh (July 10) and Colfax (July 18);
Dig into Local Restaurant Week, July 14-23, with participation from restaurants in eight Piedmont counties;
Watermelon Days at the state-operated farmers markets in Charlotte (July 11), Asheville (July 18), Colfax (July 25) and Raleigh (July 31).
“There are a lot of special events planned for July, but everyone can participate in the celebration by supporting local agriculture,” Troxler said. “Visit a pick-your-own farm or farmers market, support restaurants that buy from local farmers and ranchers, try new specialty products and look for the Got to Be NC logo wherever you shop.”
The department offers a variety of free, online directories to help consumers find local food near them. Go to www.gottobenc.com to learn more about the products grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina.