Buying NC Local: Why It Matters

Buying NC Local: Why it Matters

By Kimberly Hoffman

Sweet potatoes, pecan pie, Bojangles Chicken 'n Biscuits, Krispy Kreme, Pepsi-Cola - the list of North Carolina-made products goes on and on. But why should you purchase products made in the Tar Heel State?

Buying NC local shows your North Carolina pride, keeps your money here in the state, and helps the economy by saving jobs and keeping tax dollars in your community.

And that doesn’t even cover the freshness of food made here or the eco-friendly benefits of less packaging and fuel costs spent hauling items here.

A pie made from pecans grown on North Carolina trees just tastes better. Bonus: There’s no need for a cardboard or paper box to ship it in -- just pull the pie out of the refrigerator.


6 Ways Buying NC Local Makes a Difference

1. Shows your North Carolina pride

Few places have earned bragging rights like the Tar Heel state. Home to three U.S. presidents, Bank of America, Texas Pete hot sauce, Lone Star Steakhouse (sorry, Texas), Fresh Market, and Food Lion grocery stores, everything you need is right here.

That’s where NC Made comes in. NC Made celebrates the artisanal foods made here, and ships tastes of North Carolina to friends and family all over the world. That’s why it’s worth noting that NC Made’s new curator is one of North Carolina’s own success stories.

A true Southerner, Tonya Council grew up in Chapel Hill, where she watched her grandma crack pecans for pies. Mildred Council – better known as “Mama Dip” – was a culinary legend in North Carolina, praised by celebrities, athletes, and presidents. She knew the importance of buying local.

Tonya followed in grandma's footsteps, cracking pecans, flipping eggs, and waiting tables. Today she continues the Council family tradition as the founder of Tonya’s Cookies and Sweet Tea & Cornbread.


2. Keeps your money in North Carolina

When you spend your money on locally-made goods at local stores, your tax dollars stay in North Carolina. That's money that pays for schools, libraries, roads, fire and police departments.

Buying NC local also saves local jobs. Small-business owners create opportunities for local residents to work in the community. With local restaurants taking a hit during the current pandemic, it's more important than ever to spend every taxable dollar in the state.


3. Tastes fresher from farm to table

By shopping local, your food doesn't have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your table. Your produce and baked goods will be days old, not weeks old.

Buying NC local gives you access to fresher, more nutritious food.


4. Benefits the environment

Since your food and goods don't need to travel far, it needs less packaging and takes less fuel to arrive at your home.

Buying NC local means less packaging, which translates to less waste in our landfills.


5. Celebrates NC’s diversity

Ever notice most malls across the country have the exact same chain stores? Locally owned shops offer a unique flavor all their own. Many of these businesses are minority-owned and offer a wide range of cultural diversity to your neighborhood.


In addition to overseeing her own businesses, Tonya actively promotes black-owned businesses. She buys local, but offers NC Made gourmet foods to an international market.


People from all over the world can now enjoy the Old North State's rich and diverse influences from African Americans and Western and Eastern Europeans.


“Seeing how hard it was to get in certain stores, I wanted to make it easier for other people to be able to showcase their brand as well,” she told the Triangle Tribune. “Life lessons came daily. The biggest lesson is trying to give back to the community whenever possible.”

6. Supports your neighbors

Perhaps the best reason to buy NC local is because you're supporting your neighbors. You're more than just another customer to the local merchant: You're his lifeblood.

Maybe that's why the customer service is often friendlier at your local stores.


Kimberly Hoffman is a restaurant critic and avid traveler who searches for the best restaurant in every city she visits. You won’t find her dining in any chain restaurants, preferring to sample the local cuisine in every city. The chefs in her favorites are willing to share their recipes with her.

December 15, 2020 by Tonya Council

NC Made Guide: Tiny House Getaway in the NC Mountains

The chill in the air has us dreaming of brisk walks through the woods and breath-taking Blue Ridge views, so we're planning a trip to a tiny house in the North Carolina mountains!

February 05, 2020 by Cathleen Cueto

9 Ways to Use Asheville Grey Tea


How do you take your tea? We usually prefer ours with cream and Cloister Honey, but the distinct flavors of Calendula and bergamot in our favorite Asheville Grey Tea have inspired us to think beyond the mug.

January 13, 2020 by Cathleen Cueto


We pride ourselves on finding the best NC foods, but when it comes to our gift guide we don't stop at the snacks. This year's list has even more of our favorite non-perishable products by NC makers we adore. 

December 08, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto
Tags: gift guide

Recipe: Blueberry Jam Crumble Bars

Recipe: Blueberry Jam Crumble Bars

We used My Neighbor's Blueberry Jam from Crow Bar Farm Foods to make this sweet treat that is equally wonderful squared up as an afternoon snack, or warmed, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. 

November 10, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto
Tags: recipe

NC Food Road Trip: Top 5 Food Destinations in NC

We're probably not alone in admitting that we plan all of our trips around meals, but this time we're putting food first in our list of the top five food experiences worth traveling for, found all across our great state.

October 01, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto

Recipe: Sweet Potato Snacking Cake

Sweet Potato Spice Snacking Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

The glorious sweet potato! North Carolina is one of the most prolific producers of this absurdly versatile tuber, so we created a dessert to celebrate its divine wonder -- here's our most requested recipe!

September 03, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto

NC Made Guide: 5 Best Swimming Holes in NC

Sennett Hole aka Turtle Hole

There are loads of hidden quarries and waterfalls tucked all over North Carolina -- we've rounded up our top 5 with suggestions on where to stop for a bite to eat while you're at it. 

August 06, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto

NC Made Cookbook Club: A Baker's Year

NC Made Cookbook Club: Bakers Year

The newest chapter in the NC Made Cookbook Club saga had us flipping through the flour-dusted pages of Tara Jensen's beautiful cookbook/memoir A Baker's Year with eager eyes and watery mouths. 

July 09, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto

NC Food Road Trip : 15 Best Food Festivals in NC

North Carolina is full of incredible restaurants, world-renowned chefs, and unique food experiences -- including local food festivals! We've rounded up a short list of all the best food festivals in NC.

May 31, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto