local food products

For the Love of Eating and Drinking Locally

For those of you who follow this blog regularly – or follow my social media, you know I’m a big fan of eating and drinking locally.

It is so easy to support local producers and farmers as you shop day to day, week to week. The Carolinas have so many wonderful products and producers, I’m happy to say that the call to shop and support local is not a hard task. In fact, it’s quite delicious, as is evidenced by the six sensational North Carolina products featured in today’s post.

group of local products

Heidi is Eating and Drinking Locally on Charlotte TV

It was my pleasure to share all six of these delicious finds on the Charlotte midday TV program, Charlotte Today. It was tons of fun working with co-host Beth Troutman who like me, loves all kinds of local eats and drinks. I zoomed in all from my living room, to yours via the team at WCNC-TV. The segment first aired on Wednesday January 19, 2021. In case you missed it you can watch it here.

As a follow up to the taste of all the local you enjoyed in the video, get all the delicious details below. .

Stay tuned for more recipe and food-centric travel info below. Subscribed to the blog and every post comes right to your inbox! Boy, eating and drinking locally really couldn’t be any easier.

Eating and drinking locally with Lusty Monk Mustard from Asheville, NC

Lusty Monk Mustard is one of my favorite condiments. It comes in three delicious varieties – Original Sin, Temptation Honey Mustard and a spicy Burn in Hell variety. its the only mustard, you’ll ever need. Each one offers different delicious nuances to anything you are cooking, eating or drinking.


I’m a mustard kind of girl, and so I love it on sandwiches, of course; but I’d like to suggest you try it to flavor sauces or to add a kick to your weekend Bloody Mary. Its also a superb addition to any marinade or rub for tofu or tempeh, beef, chicken or your favorite seafood.

In Charlotte, you’ll find Lusty Monk in the cheese section at all the newly opened EarthFare stores, at local cheese shops like The Loyalist in Matthews and Orrman’s Cheese at 7th Street Market.

Lusty Monk Mustard is also available at all three Charlotte locations of Pasta & Provisions.

If you are not in or near Charlotte, then order direct from the Lusty Monk website.

Eating and Drinking Locally with Phillips Brothers Ham from Asheboro, NC

When I travel, I’m always on the lookout for delicious local products. Early in November, Tom and enjoyed a fun and delicious 3 day getaway to Asheboro, NC. Most of our activities were enjoyed out of doors, making it a safe and socially distanced adventure. I can’t wait to write all about it soon.

One of our food-centric stops, was at Phillips Brothers Country Ham, an incredible local company curing salt and sugar cured local hams since 1947!

country ham

Phillips is obviously doing it right. This is the best country ham I’ve ever tasted and I know you will love it, too. You might remember that I featured Phillips Brothers Ham in a previous blog post and video cooking class on how to make buttermilk country ham biscuits and cheesy rice grits.

You’ll find Phillips Brothers Ham at their shop in Asheboro, a longtime must stop shop for Randolph County locals. Phillips Brothers products are also for sale at The Berry Patch in Ellerbee, NC. You’ll remember I wrote about the fabulous homemade ice cream they have, there – another delicious way to eat local.

You can also order Phillips Brothers whole hams and cuts of all sizes online for home delivery. Let your fingers do the walking and visit the Phillips Brother’s Website here.

Eating and Drinking Locally with Shanti Elixirs Jun from Asheville, NC

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this next way to drink local.

It’s Jun, a delicious good for you probiotic and prebiotic, locally brewed beverage from Asheville, NC.

Jun is a fermented drink similar to Kombucha, but not. Kombucha is made from black tea and sugar and to be honest, no matter the brand, kombucha is not one of my faves. But Jun, is a totally different story.

shanti elixirs

Jun is made from green tea and raw honey and it’s delicious.

All of the flavors of Shanti Elixirs’ locally produced Jun, are available at all the newly reopened locations of Earthfare in and around North Carolina. Shanti Elixir Juns are also available at the Oakwold location of Common Market, located on Monroe Rd. in Charlotte.

I’ll be writing more on this great local beverage soon, so stay tuned. For now, take my word for it and go treat yourself to a bottle or two soon.

For more info, visit ShantiElixirs.com online.

More Eating and Drinking Locally coming at ya, right here!

With that, we’ve hit the first half of today’s Eating and Drinking Locally line up. More follows with Tidewater Grain Co, Carolina Gold Rice from Oriental, NC; a trio of delicious salad dressing and a killer hot jam from Vegetable Kingdom in Asheville, NC ; and some excellent NC wine from Zimmerman Vineyards in Trinity, NC. Like I do, I’m sure you will love it all. And all of these products are available to order online!!

Eating and Drinking Locally with Tidewater Grain Co. from Oriental, NC

This is another local product you’ve heard a lot about in recent posts on these digital pages. Tidewater Grain Company is a relatively new NC product, with 2021 their second big harvest. Its heirloom Carolina Gold Rice, grown in NC first the first time in 127 years!

The beauty in cooking with Carolina Gold Rice is that is works beautifully in any recipe. If you need a light a fluffy rice – its your go-to. If the recipe you are using calls for more of a sticky rice, well then Tidewater Grain Co Carolina Gold is once again the way to go.

Here are links to several Tidewater Grain Co. Carolina Gold Rice recipes I’ve featured at HeidiBillottoFood. Enjoy these cheesy rice grits and two plays on stuffed rice cakes, here and here.

TidewaterGrain.com from Oriental, NC

In The Charlotte area you can purchase Tidewater Grain Co.’s for retail sales from Freshlist and at Coddle Creek Farm’s Mooresville, NC. Chefs anbd restaurants can find it for wholesale purchases from Inland Seafood and Freshlist as well.

At Freshlist, order online by 3 pm on Tuesdays for Charlotte area home delivery or pickup at qa specified pick up location. You’ll find all the details and see all of the wonderful local products in the FreshList shop online.

On Monday, Feb 1, FreshList’s chef, the talented Matt Martin will be teaching an online cooking class on how to make risotto with Tidewater’s Carolina Gold Rice. The class details are in the Fresh list store. The final dish, pictured on Freshlist’s Instagram feed, looks delicious!

The Coddle Creek Farm store is in Mooresville, NC at 114 Ledgewood Lane. Coddle Creek Farms is also bringing Tidewater’s Carolina Gold to the SouthEnd Market at Atherton and the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market (Bldg C) on Saturday mornings. While you are there, be sure to pick up a variety of Coddle Creek’s Mama Young’s Nut Butters, you can thank me later!

If you can’t find Tidewater Grain Co. near you, visit their website and simply order online for home delivery. Free shipping on orders over $20.

Eating and Drinking Locally with Vegetable Kingdom from Asheville, NC

Looking for a delicious line of products to help make meal time easy-peasy? Look no further.

Vegetable Kingdom produces an entire line of soups and sauces to heat and serve and enjoy. They make each one from scratch in small batches, just like you would at home. Enjoy them as they are from the jar, or you can beef them up with your favorite plant or animal proteins.

While the soups are delicious, these salad dressings are great to dress up any component of any meal. There are three dressings in the line, a Greek-Style feta dressing, a French Style Mustard Vinaigrette and a Japanese Style tofu dressing. Perfect for your next veggie or fruit salad, or as a marinade or dipping sauce for anything hot off the winter grill.

salad dressings
Vegetablekingdom.com from Asheville, NC

Team the dressing with Vegetable Kingdom’s Smoky Pepper Drizzle and you’ve got a winning combo. The drizzle is great as a glaze on tofu, tempeh, seafood or poultry, or use in blended with broth to finish off your next stir fry. It’ll add just the smoky hit you are looking for to take things up to the next notch.

Order all of these products online from the store at VegetableKingdom.com for easy home delivery. And if you happen to be in the Brevard, NC area on a Saturday morning, drop by the Transylvania Farmers Market and buy direct at the Vegetable Kingdom booth.

Eating and Drinking Locally at Zimmerman Vineyards in Trinity, NC

Remember my November trip to Asheboro where I discovered Phillips Brothers Ham? Well, that same food-centric adventure also found us at the top of Mt. Shepard in Trinity NC, nestled in the Heart of North Carolina.

tasting wine

Trinity is home to the picturesque Zimmerman Vineyards, producers of some mighty fine NC wine. Tom and I enjoyed a private tasting with the Zimmerman team led by owner and head “Wine-Know” Leslie Zimmerman.

Leslie is all about supporting local, and having a delicious experience for wine lovers that is safe and socially distanced. To that end, this season there is a beautiful outdoor fire pit and a heated and tented outdoor patio. The winery and tasting room offers fabulous moutain views and trails to walk the property. in addition, there are several private picnic sites to be enjoyed with a bottle or two of Zimmerman vino.

These are delicious whites, roses and reds – we came home with a case if that gives you any indications, and have loved drinking our way through the delicious variety from the Zimmerman cellars.

If you are ready for a fun socially distanced outdoor weekend adventure, head up the mountain and enjoy. The winery and tasting room is open every weekend. On Sundays in January, you can also enjoy Soup on Sunday featured locally made soup each weekend to warm up and enjoy with your wine.

To far away to visit right now, no worries, you can order any of the Zimmerman Vineyard collection online for home delivery. That’s enough to make your stand up, smile and say Cheers!


  1. Hey Heidi wanted to catch you up on Nicholas Chavez. He is now Executive Chef at Porter’s Neck in Wilmington. He is doing some great things there and recently putting some Cuban cuisine on their menu. Touch base with him. 😊

    1. Clara,
      Thanks so much for the update. I love the way Nick cooks. Porter’s Neck is lucky to have him there. I’ll be sure and look him up the next time I am at the coast. Thanks so much!

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