RALEIGH — This summer, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will unveil a new promotion for diners interested in tasting the best of N.C. agriculture. Dig Into Local Restaurant Week will be held in restaurants across the Piedmont July 14-23.
“Dig Into Local Restaurant Week is not your typical restaurant week promotion,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Instead of fixed-price menus, you will enjoy ‘fixed-source’ menus where each item is tied to a North Carolina product or ingredient. Also, this restaurant week is 10 days instead of seven, to give folks more time to experience these special dishes.”
Each participating restaurant’s menu will showcase at least four North Carolina-inspired items and at least one North Carolina wine. All ingredients with a North Carolina connection also will be identified on the specially designed menus.
The first-ever Dig into Local Restaurant Week will be limited to restaurants in the following 10 counties: Alamance, Chatham, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Moore, Orange, Randolph and Wake. The department hopes to expand the geographic footprint of the promotion as chefs across the state embrace the concept.
The promotion taps into a growing demand from consumers for locally sourced food, whether it’s from a home garden, farmers market, grocery store or restaurant. The National Restaurant Association reports that the top two culinary trends for 2014 are locally sourced meats and seafood and locally grown produce.
“Trends for the past few years now point to the importance of using local foods on the menu,” said Tim Parrish, NCDA&CS foodservice marketing specialist. “Our goal is to recognize that this trend can impact our local economy, promote the diversity of available North Carolina products to chefs statewide, and encourage consumers to support restaurants that feature North Carolina products on the menu.”
Dig Into Local Restaurant Week is a part of the department’s Savor NC on the Menu and Got to Be NC marketing initiatives, and is supported by foodservice distribution companies that supply restaurants across the state. Restaurants interested in participating can find more information at www.gottobenc.com/digintolocal.