Farm Fresh Produce: How Buying Local Affects Flavor


June 16, 2020 | Food Lion
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There’s nothing quite like a handful of juicy berries on a warm spring day. But, have you ever bought local strawberries or blueberries from the store and thought, “Wow! These taste amazing, but a little different.”? When buying local, there are a couple of reasons the flavor of your fresh produce could taste a bit different, whether it’s sweeter or simply more flavorful. (Although all fresh produce tastes pretty delicious, right?) 

In this article, we’ll reveal what those reasons are and give you a few recipes to try that incorporate some delicious local flavors. After all, this blog is all about flavor! 

Ripe Peach on Tree

Ripening Time

Since local farmers are right there in your state, they are at an advantage when it comes to giving the produce plenty of time to ripen on the vine, tree, bush, etc. That’s simply because they’re closer to the stores where their produce items will be delivered. So, they can generally be left to ripen a little longer before harvesting to be sent to your neighborhood Food Lion and on the shelf in time for the season. And longer ripening time can result in a more flavorful crop. You’ll typically find fresh produce like berries in the spring months and items like tomatoes and peaches in the summer.

But, when you shop for your produce at Food Lion (local or not), you can shop with confidence that you’ll be satisfied with the quality thanks to our Double Your Money Back Guarantee. Our promise to you is “100% fresh or double your money back”! So, even though local selections of specific vegetables and fruits may not be available year-round, you can rest assured that the produce in our stores meets our high standards for quality. 

Smiling kid eating watermelon

Fresh From the Farm Tast

“Farm to table” and “farm fresh” are two phrases you’ve probably heard before. It’s something that both restaurants and food businesses alike want to achieve and it’s all about flavor! Besides, biting into a piece of fresh local produce is pretty delicious, right? 

We know the ripening time could have something to do with the flavor, but so does the freshness of the produce. Like we detailed above, this has a lot to do with the proximity of the farm to the store. Since the local produce has less distance to travel, that means a shorter time period between harvesting and stocking. 

But, if local berries, watermelon or any other type of produce is not available or not in season, don’t worry! Our high standards for our produce items allow you to enjoy delicious fruits and veggies year-round at Food Lion. Want to learn more about what’s in season when? Check out our handy guide

Recipe Inspiration with Local Flavors

You now know how buying local produce can affect flavor. Want to put that to the test and try a recipe made with some delicious fruits and vegetables? These three recipes are inspired by local flavors within our 10-state footprint and are sure to be a new go-to dish. 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote in red wine syrup

Strawberry Blueberry Compote in Red Wine Syrup

This recipe is perfect for topping a refreshingly cold bowl of ice cream and gives you a chance to use some local strawberries and blueberries. You could even make your own strawberry ice cream if you really want to embrace the local berries! 

Fun Fact: Berries are commonly grown in the state of California, which is why you’ll find strawberries, blueberries, etc. from this state year-round. However, in the spring months, you can find them grown locally in the Southeast, including states like North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. That’s because the climate is just right during that time of year. 

To make this Strawberry Blueberry Compote, you only need six ingredients, so it’s relatively low-cost to make! On top of strawberries and blueberries, you’ll also want to pick up the following from Food Lion: sweet muscadine red wine (like from Duplin Winery), sugar, lemon and salt. And don’t worry - the alcohol in the wine will cook out, so it’s still family-friendly. 

Once you’ve made your compote, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

Tip: You can substitute fresh local berries for frozen if they aren’t in season. 

Southern Chow Chow Sandwich Topping

Southern Chow Chow Sandwich Topping

Our next recipe is a southern staple for topping on hamburgers and hot dogs. Made with red and green bell peppers, onions, grape tomatoes, and cabbage, plus apple cider vinegar, sugar, water and a variety of spices, this recipe gives you multiple opportunities to incorporate local produce. So, if you find any of these local produce items at Food Lion, use it to make this topping recipe truly local. 

Want to make our Southern Chow Chow Sandwich topping? You can find the full ingredient list and instructions on our recipe portal

Georgia Peach Cornbread Coffee Cake

Georgia Peach Cornbread Coffee Cake

Inspired by the Peach State, our last recipe is multi-purpose and can be eaten for breakfast or for dessert (or both). So, when peaches are in season during the summer months, make sure to swing by Food Lion to pick some up to make this delicious coffee cake recipe (plus some extra peaches for eating later). Because, we don’t know about you, but we love eating fresh peaches too. Yum! 

Do you have a lot of peach lovers in your family? Get ready to get baking and snag our Georgia Peach Cornbread Coffee Cake recipe here! Besides being sweet, tangy and delicious, this recipe takes less than an hour to make from start to finish. And if you want to make it a little extra sweet for dessert, make a simple glaze by mixing together milk and powdered sugar and drizzling overtop. 

Tip: Similar to our Strawberry Blueberry Compote recipe, you can substitute frozen fruit here too if it’s not quite peach season in your area. Just make sure to thaw your frozen peaches ahead of time. 

With these three recipes, you’re ready to put this blog to the test. Does local produce have a little extra flavor or that “farm fresh” taste? We’ll let you be the judge! Stop by your neighborhood Food Lion and look for our Local Goodness signage in the produce department to find fresh local fruits and vegetables. 

By buying local, not only do you get to enjoy delicious fresh produce from the state you love, but you’re also supporting your community. And after recent events, we need to stick together and support one another, right? That’s why buying local is more important now than ever. 

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