10 Farm Fresh Items That Will Make Your Desserts Even Sweeter


10 Farm Fresh Items That Will Make Your Desserts Even Sweeter | Ward Realty Topsail Island

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!


fresh blueberries | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Blueberries

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.

Blueberries also make excellent ingredients in any number of dessert recipes, such as this blueberry hand pie recipe or this one for blueberry dump cake.


fresh cantaloupes | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Cantaloupes

Cantaloupe season in North Carolina is July and August, which means that this fruit is best enjoyed later in the summer months.

One serving of cantaloupe is 9.6 calories and contains 19% of your daily Vitamin A as well as 17% of your daily Vitamin C.

Cantaloupe is also sweet enough to eat as a stand-alone dessert, mixes well into fruit salads, and lends itself nicely to light recipes such as cantaloupe ice cream and melon mousse.  


fresh carrots | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Carrots

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.

You'll definitely want to make sure that you have enough carrots on hand to make this delicious carrot cake. Looking for something a little less conventional? Give this carrot custard a try!


fresh cucumbers | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Cucumbers

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!

You may also find this cucumber lime popsicle to your liking, or these frosted cucumber cookies.

Pop Quiz Answer: Both! Learn more about this tricky treat here.


fresh peaches | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Peaches

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.

Peaches are in season here from the beginning of June through the end of September, so finding high quality local produce to satisfy your dessert needs will be a relatively easy task.

Feel free to eat these delicacies raw, or try these baked peaches or this peach pecan crisp.


peanuts | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Peanuts

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.

It's actually an old southern tradition to grab a handful of peanuts, crack open an ice-cold Coca-Cola, dump the peanuts into the soda, swish them around and then drink it all up! We can tell you from experience that this concoction is a dessert in and of itself! You can also try this peanut brittle or these salted nut candy bars.

sweet corn | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Sweet Corn

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. 

It's a well-kept secret that these sweet and starchy agricultural staples make great dessert ingredients. Don't believe us? One taste of this sweet corn ice cream or this corn pudding and you'll be hooked!


sweet potatoes | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Sweet Potatoes

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!

Although crops such as corn and peanuts are heavy hitters for North Carolina's agricultural community, sweet potatoes may very well be NC's edible MVP. Enjoy them as a side with your dinner or in desserts such as this sweet potato cinnamon roll cake or these sweet potato brownies.


fresh watermelon | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Watermelon

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. 

Watermelon season in NC is during July and August. This delicious fruit is perfect for your beach cooler or picnic. Try it the local way (ice box fresh with a dash of salt added) or you can make these watermelon bars or this watermelon sorbet.


yellow squash | Ward Realty Topsail Island

Yellow Squash

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.

This summer squash is in season in North Carolina from mid-May through the end of September. Eat it raw with dip, fry it up with onions, or use it in desserts such as this summer squash cake or this custard pie.


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!

10 Farm Fresh Items That Will Make Your Desserts Even Sweeter | Ward Realty Topsail Island

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