Perhaps you recognize the catchy slogan or logo, “Got To Be NC.” It’s the state’s brand for agricultural products and is a quick and easy way to identify something that has been made using products grown in North Carolina. Previously known as “Goodness Grows in North Carolina,” the program has been supporting local producers for more than 30 years, making it one of the longest-running state-managed identity programs in the country.
This umbrella brand benefits both producers and consumers. According to North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services marketing specialist Paul Jones, “North Carolina has a reputation for being a strong agricultural state, creating high-quality products, so it gives farmers and producers of all sizes that collective marketing capability to say, ‘I am a Got To Be NC member.’” It also gives them access to vital business development resources. On the consumer side, it helps people identify products that support the local economy and local farmers.
There’s no shortage of goods to choose from, either. North Carolina is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation, with the climate and soil providing fertile ground for a large variety of crops. There are endless possibilities for unique products.
See more: North Carolina’s Top 10 Ag Commodities
“Many specialty food companies start with a family recipe that is able to grow into a small business, which snowballs into a larger business,” Jones says. Take Elijah’s Xtreme Gourmet Sauces, for example, which was created by a father-son duo who loved growing hot peppers and experimenting with hot sauce recipes. There’s also Slawsa, a Waynesville company using North Carolina ingredients in their relish-meets-salsa condiments.
“Peanuts are another example. North Carolina is a top-five producer of peanuts in the nation. There are a lot of custom peanut butter makers now that are using North Carolina peanuts to make craft peanut butters, like Big Spoon Roasters in Durham,” Jones says. Dairy and honey also provide a variety of opportunities. Simply Natural Creamery sources milk from their own cows to make delicious ice cream, while Bee’lixir uses green tea and local honey to create a healthy kombucha drink.
So next time you’re shopping, look for that Got To Be NC label or discover some new stores and products on gottobenc.com. With such a large variety of offerings, you’ll find, as Jones says, “It’s easy to support local in North Carolina.”
See more: Where to Find Local N.C. Products