Introducing the Farm Fresh North Carolina blog

This past weekend I took a trip back to my hometown of Oxford, N.C., to attend the North Carolina Hot Sauce Contest. The festival was fantastic – booth after booth of hot sauce vendors, wineries, and breweries from all over our great state. It’s rare for so many local producers to gather in one area, making the event that much more enjoyable.

Sometimes, though, it’s tough to tell the good from the mediocre (I’m looking at you, vendor who tried to pass off ketchup as “hot sauce”). Luckily, there is a source to guide us through many home-grown producers across North Carolina. Based in Durham, Diane Daniel is a journalist who writes about her travels, studying the history and cultures of communities, including agriculture and food.

She recently coauthored a rundown of Secret Farm Hideaways for Southern Living magazine. I don’t know if I could think of a better weekend getaway for this time of the year.

Daniel has taken her travels to the next level with a unique guidebook. Farm Fresh North Carolina will be published in March 2011 (but you can pre-order now!). The book is “The Go-To Guide to Great Farmers’ Markets, Farm Stands, Farms, Apple Orchards, U-Picks, Kids’ Activities, Lodging, Dining, Choose-and-Cut Christmas Trees, Vineyards and Wineries, and More.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? We know the wait is tough, but to whet your appetite, Daniel has started blogging about her adventures at In her most recent post, she discusses some local options for staying on a farm.

We recommend checking out this month’s Southern Living for Daniel’s sampling of farmstays in North Carolina and beyond!