Support Your Farmers. Buy Local!

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Local farmers’ markets are filling up as locally-produced foods overflow the stalls.  Customers flock in to pick their fruits and vegetables from the massive offerings.  Eating fresh food, especially when it’s locally grown, is one of the sweet pleasures of Spring. Eating locally-grown, fresh produce is a pleasing rite of the new season, and Spring produce is rich with varied offerings.

Have you ever heard of the “Spring mix”?  These are leafy greens that are ready for harvest in the Spring.  Varied in color, texture, and nutrients, this mix makes a perfect leafy green salad mix.   While iceberg lettuce remains a staple for salads, adding leafy greens such as arugula, spinach, and romaine will round out your salad in texture, flavor, and nutrients.  The more colorful your salad, the healthier and more varied nutrition you will get.  The best idea is to eat them as fresh as you can- the more time lapses between harvest and ingestion, the fewer nutritional benefits you will receive.

There are plentiful fruits and vegetables that are ready to eat in the Spring:  asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, collard greens, and oranges are just a few of the vegetables and fruits that are ready to eat in the Spring.  Herbs such as chives, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, and oregano mature in time for Spring.

Eating foods fresh, when they are in season, helps your body to gain the most nutritional support from the foods.  The nutritional value of a food starts to decline when it is picked.  The fresher you can get the food, prepare it, and consume it, the more nutritional value you will receive.  Eating fresher foods also means that you will get the best flavor from the ingredients.  As foods move further and further from their harvest time, the flavors they hold get weaker or change.

When eating out, it’s best to choose restaurants which use locally produced foods.  This will provide better food with better nutritional value.  It also helps ensure that you will not be consuming preservatives or additives, because the food is fresh.  Overall, you will have a better dining experience with a better quality of food when you choose a restaurant that uses local produce and meat.

Want to support your local farmers but can’t make it to the market? Check out Farm to Front Porch. Their mission is to provide a fresh new way for the Charlotte area to think about local food. Their unified market and fast home delivery services will make it simple to buy the very best in farm fresh with absolutely none of the hassle.

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Support Charlotte’s Economy. Buy Local!

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Have you heard the buzz about supporting small businesses?  Small businesses feed right into the local economy, so when you shop a small business, you’re helping your own community.  A few years’ back, an initiative to help local communities called “Small Business Saturday” was started.  Instead of shopping huge franchises where most of the profit goes elsewhere, shoppers are encouraged to shop small businesses.  Small businesses get a boost in sales, which feed right back into their local community.  Sales increase, jobs increase, and taxes paid to the local community increase.  All of these things add together to boost the local economy.

Dine Out Charlotte is another opportunity to boost the local community.  Instead of spending money at a restaurant franchise, you can choose to spend your money at a locally owned restaurant.  These restaurants feed right into the local economy.  They provide local jobs and they pay local taxes.  They employ local people.  They purchase food supplies such as produce and meats locally.  The revenues feed right back into the local economy.

When you choose to spend money on a franchise owned restaurant, most of the revenue goes to the corporate location.  Unless the corporate offices happen to be in Charlotte, most of the money you spend to visit the restaurant ends up going to another community.  The foods purchased come from elsewhere, because most franchises purchase all of their food at the same place, freeze it, and send it to each of their franchises.  Unless that food location happens to be Charlotte, Charlotte does not benefit at all from the food purchases.

When you add up all the factors, it’s simply logical to see that supporting locally owned businesses is better for the local economy than dining at a franchise.  When choosing where your money will be spent, remember that supporting small businesses is supporting Charlotte’s local economy.

Dine Out Charlotte is the perfect opportunity to discover your new favorite, locally owned restaurant.  Taking advantage of a great deal is ideal for supporting local restaurants.

Spring has arrived!

Spring is here! It seems that the snow and ice are behind the Queen City. The cherry trees are blooming, the leaves are budding on the trees, and the sweet smell of renewed life is in the air. The days are longer, and the stores are full of bathing suits, sun hats, and sunblock. All over the city, people are emerging from a cold winter’s hibernation.

Springtime in Charlotte is a wonderful time to explore. Ride the train into downtown and spend a day walking the streets. You will find downtown’s offerings to be plentiful and various. What’s best about downtown Charlotte is that you will find lots of local restaurants. These restaurants are not part of a national chain; rather, they create, refine, and nurture a local flavor with a professional chef in the kitchen. Choosing which local restaurant you will patronize will be difficult, but you can’t go wrong! If you’re looking for a fresh flavor palate, you should definitely choose local. Look for a restaurant that offers al fresco seating. After all, it’s the best way to experience Charlotte in the Spring.

Drop off the kids with a sitter, meet your best girlfriends, and enjoy a night out on the town. Hibernate no more! It’s time to kick back, have a glass of wine, and relax with your friends. A night off of kitchen duty is just the thing to celebrate the start of warmer weather.
If you choose a restaurant featured in Dine Out Charlotte, you can take advantage of an awesome opportunity while supporting Second Harvest Food Bank. First, you will get a great discount, which makes a perfect opportunity for trying a new restaurant. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but with these discounts, you can choose a restaurant that you haven’t visited before. A portion of your meal cost will go to Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves the Charlotte area. With all these positives, you can’t go wrong!

Introducing “Spring Restaurant Week” – A Charlotte First!

If you are like me, many times your distinguished palette and your pocketbook are not in sync. You love to experience the epicurean offerings and fine dining delights that the Queen City has to offer, but instead of treating yourself to the hottest new Uptown eatery, your budget beckons you to turn into the same ole local chain. It’s time to let your taste buds rule and give your wallet a pleasant break!

 

The week of April 12-21, grab a friend and take advantage of local, upscale cuisine for an affordable pre-fixed price, during the first ever Spring Restaurant Week sponsored by Dine Out Charlotte. Love the flavors of Tuscany? Enjoy a three-course meal for only $32 at the award-winning Blue Restaurant & Bar located in Uptown Charlotte or get both your Italian and your music vibe on at Osso Restaurant & Lounge located at the NC Music Factory. These are just two of the many locally owned and operated restaurants that are offering their chef’s finest during Spring Restaurant Week.

Not only will you be treating yourself, but your participation will stimulate the economy – reward local independent restaurant owners and more importantly, while enjoying some of Charlotte’s best cuisine, you will benefit those who are less fortunate. The creators of Dine Out Charlotte wanted both to reward local independent restaurateurs and also to give back in a big way, so they teamed up with a local charity. During Spring Restaurant Week, when you dine out at one of the participating venues, $2 of every meal served will go directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina which will be primarily targeted to feed hungry children.

Check out the participating restaurants at http://dineoutcharlotte.com and make reservations today. Not only is this a wonderful win–win opportunity . . . it’s a fun way to treat yourself and pay it forward!