10 Farm Fresh Items That Will Make Your Desserts Even Sweeter
North Carolina in summer is a fresh food paradise, and Topsail Island in particular represents the best that NC has to offer both in terms of produce as well as local seafood. From eggs to fruits and vegetables to poultry and pork, it is absolutely possible to eat nothing but local, farm-to-table meals all summer long.
North Carolina's agriculturally-based heritage is well represented in the Topsail Island area. From farm-focused operations like Farm to Island to roadside produce stands such as Andrews Produce to mixed offering businesses like Thomas Tackle & Seafood, you can easily find fresh, healthy, NC-sourced ingredients while you're here on vacation.
With all of that in mind, we've put together this list of 10 farm fresh local produce items that you can eat as-is, on the side, or - better yet! - use to make decadent desserts from the comfort of your Topsail Island vacation rental. The fact that some of these items can be used as dessert ingredients may surprise you!
Did you know that blueberries are one of North Carolina's largest cash crops? These delicious fruits ranked 15th out of 20, beating out other natural treats such as strawberries and watermelons.
One serving of blueberries contains 16 calories and provides 4% of your daily Vitamin C as well as 7% of your daily Vitamin K.
Blueberries tend to grow wild around eastern NC, and local children have been known to return home from an afternoon at play with teeth stained purple after snacking on the fruits of a nearby bush.
Carrots are the first vegetable to make our list of locally-grown dessert ingredients, and while carrots may not be a traditional dessert element, when prepared they add their own unique sweet flavor.
One serving of carrots is 12 calories and provides 95% of your daily Vitamin A.
In 2016, North Carolina ranked 5th in the nation for cucumber production, which equated to 8.4% of the total cucumber supply.
One serving of cucumber is 4.3 calories and is 95% water.
Pop Quiz Question! Is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable?
Cucumbers, with their coolly mild taste, make a wonderful refreshment. Stick slices in the freezer for 10 minutes or so (until they're frosty but not frozen), remove, and enjoy!
Pop Quiz Answer: Both! Learn more about this tricky treat here.
Peaches and North Carolina summers go together like Topsail Island and Ward Realty - it's almost impossible to think about one without also thinking about the other.
One serving of peaches is 11 calories and provides 3% of your daily Vitamin C.
Peanuts are another one of North Carolina's biggest crops. In 2016, the state ranked 6th in the nation, with 342 million pounds produced. Peanuts also came in just ahead of blueberries for farm income with a ranking of 14 out of 20.
One serving of peanuts is 161 calories and contains 15% of your daily protein requirements as well as 10% of your dietary fiber.
Corn is another of North Carolina's big money crops, coming in at #7 out of 20 and accounting for 4% of that year's total farm income from sales.
One serving of sweet yellow corn is 24 calories and contains 3% of your daily Vitamin C.
In 2016, NC sweet potatoes ranked 8th for income and 1st in the nation for production, accounting for 54.2% of the national supply.
One serving of sweet potatoes is 24 calories and provides a whopping 80% of daily Vitamin A requirements!
Coming in at 18th out of 20 for income receipts, watermelon is another all-natural sweet treat that supports the North Carolina's farming communities.
One serving of watermelon is 8.5 calories and contains 3% of your daily Vitamin A as well as 4% of your daily Vitamin C.
Yellow squash is another vegetable that you may be surprised to see on our list of local vegetables that can be used to make delectable desserts, but just like carrots, they can be used to create sweet and interesting dessert treats.
One serving of yellow squash is 5.4 calories and provides 9% of your daily Vitamin C.
Article note one:
Nutritional values presented here are based on a serving size of 1 ounce, which equates to roughly 1/8 of a cup.
Article note two:
As of the publish date for this post, 2016 is the most recent year for which certain statistical information is available.
We hope you've learned lots about North Carolina agriculture and how you can use fresh and local products in new ways to create dozens of healthfully delicious desserts!