June means beachtrips and family vacations, tending to kitchen gardens and, as in any other season of the year, taking time and make considerations to find great local buys. With so many North and South Carolina farms and producers, there are lots of ways to support local by buying local and shopping from local area producers and farmers. Today I share five fabulous local must haves. Each of them make appearances in my kitchen in a regular basis – you’ll want to follow suit and do the same. Remember to #TellThemHeidiSentYou
The Pies Have It – Local Buys from two independent Charlotte bakers
Let”s start with a handful of great little local buys from a Charlotte company called Enjoy Magpies. Born out of the quarantine we all experienced last spring Enjoy Magpies is a Charlotte-based mother-daughter company. When they started, neither mom, Aarti or daughter, Addy really knew much about baking; but it was something they could learn together. In the year that has followed this homespun project has become a business. The two now work out of a commercial kitchen baking sweet and savory handpies each week. These little grab and go treats feature seasonal sweet fillings and several combos of classic savory fillings tucked in between two rounds of rich, flaky homemade pie crust. Perfect for an easy summer lunch for the kids, a great little dessert for the family or guests.
Get your Magpies, handpie fix on Saturdays at the Matthews Community Farmers Market , the Uptown Farmers Market and occasionally at the SouthEnd Farmers Market. During the week, Magpies hand pies and mini sweet pies are available to preorder for deliver in and around Charlotte and surrounding areas. Learn more and place an order for Saturday pick up or mid week delivery here.
You can also add on a select Magpies offerings and pies from the Thoughtful Baking Co. below, when you place your weekly order with my friends at Fresh List. This is another great local company with a focus on stocking and supplying subscribers with lots of local in weekly online shopping options for pick up or limited delivery. Learn more here.
The Thoughtful Baking Company
While we all have our eye on the pie, allow me to share the second in today’s list of Local Buys – delicious, homemade, from-scratch chicken and vegetarian pot pies from chef Mary Jane Wilson the talent and driving force behind the Thoughtful Baking Co. I’ve know Mary Jane for some time and love it when I see local chefs explore the possibilities of striking out on their own. Mary Jane left a long time position as the executive Pastry Chef at Charlotte-based Amelie’s, about this time last year. She slowing formulated a plan and set up her own online bakery.
I love that she sources as much as possible from local farmers and producers so while there is always locally raised chicken in the chicken pot pie, the vegetable fillings change slightly with each season. The veloute sauce that makes a pot pie is spot on and the crust simply melts in your mouth. What’s not to love?
Local Buys: Pot Pies
Mary Jane started her company with a choice of two savory pot pies – one chicken and veggies; and the other just veggies, vegetarian, in fact, both presented in what has become her signature vegan pie crust. As light and flaky and delicious as it’s butter-ful cousins, this crust is what you will find on Thoughtful Baking’s much loved seasonal strawberry pie as well.
Thoughtful Baking Co.’s pies come in two sizes – a personal size, really enough to share, but you won’t want to; and a larger size designed to serve four. Both varieties come fresh baked and frozen. Easy to keep on hand in the freezer and ready for you to pop in a 350 oven just about 2 hours, until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is hot and bubbly to serve t family and friends as if you had baked it yourself. (It’ll be our little secret!
On the Sweeter Side
In addition to the pot pies, Mary Jane also makes sweeter offerings you will love. In season strawberry pies and soon blueberry pies as well.
“The beauty in having your own company,” Mary Jane happily told me, “is that you can make whatever you want.” And so, she’s also featured strawberry shortcake, strawberry cobbler and a strawberry coffee cake this season.
Several options for how to get these sweet ( and savory) local buys at home at your place.
Pre-order online by Monday at 2pm, for Tuesday pick up at Birdsong Brewing Co 1016 N Davidson St. 5-7pm each week.
Or, you can buy without a preorder from Thoughtful Baking Co. at the Uptown Farmers Market every Saturday; at the SouthEnd Market every other Saturday; and at the NorthEnd Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoons.
Find all the details and instructions on how to place an order right now or later this week here.
Next, tww eggs-cellent local buys for easy summer eating.
Symbio Farms Quail Eggs
The best advice I can give anyone shopping at local farmers markets is to stop and have a conversation with the person behind the table as you shop. This is how friendships start and how you get you know your local farmers and producers. It’s the way I meet lots of local farmers and producers and the way I met Sienna Mikel of the brand new this year Symbio Farms.
I was at the SouthEnd Market in Charlotte and the tiny cartons of quail eggs caught my eye. A conversation followed and now I love have the option of quail eggs for catering and cooking class menus. Recently I made this Scotch Eggs for a party – boiled quail eggs peeled and wrapped with local sausage, then breaded and fried and split for serving they make the perfect summer appetizer. You’ll find a spicy beef chorizo version of the recipe here, but any local sausage works. And, before you ask – this recipe includes foolproof how to boil quail egg intructions, as well.
In addition to the quail eggs, Sienna also has chicken eggs for sale. You can find here on Saturdays in June and hopefully through the rest of the summer and into the fall at the Southend Market.
What makes these jewels such great local buys? They are the eggs of pasture raised, organically fed quai; raised at Symbio Farms in Rowan County. Along with quail eggs, eventually Sienna hopes to have turkey and duck eggs and soon, pasture raised quail meat to start. Then in the months ahead there will be pork, chicken and guinea fowl as well. Stay tuned, as with any farm, its a work in progress. But for now, get your hands on a package or two of quail eggs – they are slightly richer than chicken eggs; easy to prepare and fun to serve.
Symbio is a nonprofit farm with a mission of finding more sustainable carbon-friendly feeding alternatives for farms. They have a no waste attitude and are a great place to drop off the clean recyclable containers you are done with that can’t be placed in city recycling bins.
Learn more about this great little farm doing really big things here.
Looking for Local Buys to add flavor? 1 Eatz has the answer
The minute I saw these I thought, “Brilliant!” This new Raleigh-based, woman-owned company has the answer for busy moms, people on the go and singles who don’t want to cook more than they can eat. 1Eatz single serving seasoning packs come in five different delicious flavors. Order Online, select the one or two of your choice – or order the five flavor sampler pack – and let your tastebuds enjoy.
Made with freeze-dried ( not dehydrated) veggies, spices and butter, too, simply add the pack of your choice to two beaten eggs, let the mix stand for 3-4 minutes and then scramble the beaten eggs or use them for an omelette or frittata. You’ll find lots of delicious recipes and the shop for online ordering on the 1EatZ website here. And, when you order, you will also enjoy the free shipping!
Not just for eggs…
First, I tried the mix blended into a bechamel enriched with local egg yolks, that I made for a batch of souffles with great success and then I came up with another idea.
Take your favorite flavor combo and grind about a third of a pack in your coffee or spice grinder… and viola, it makes the perfect rimmer for your next summer cocktail. I used the carrot, celery and chives blend on the rim of a weekend Bloody Mary and it was a hit. You will love it, too!
Ground like this, the 1Eatz packets also offer a great way to dry rub a steak or seafood fillet or use them as the seasonings for your next homemade salad dressing or marinade. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Why, you could even gently blend a ground packet into our last fabulous local product on today’s list of local buys, Carolina Gold Oil.
Carolina Gold Oil from NC Sunflowers
I am always amazed at the ingenuity of farmers. Lee Britt is a fifth generation farmer in Eastern North Carolina. His crops are grown and processed in the coastal plains of eastern at R. Britt Farms located near the small town of Harrellsville, North Carolina in Hertford County. Among the crops Lee grows are about 100 acres of sunflowers. Beautiful while blooming, these stems are not for picking. Lee actually waits for the sunflowers to die back and dry before this crop is ready to harvest. Then is takes the seeds and cold presses them for oil.
Delicious and flavorful, these GMO free culinary oils are a clear clean golden color with a rich slightly roasted toasted flavor.
You’ll find them, as I have, perfect for stir fries and sautes, salad dressing and marinades. And, they comes in several herb-infused flavors for dipping bread, marinated meats and enjoying over freshly picked greens.
In Charlotte, pick up several bottles of these local buys at the Waxhaw Farmers Market on Saturday mornings or order online here. I’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities, but i can’t wait to share more – stay tuned for recipes coming soon.