RALEIGH — A new program from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is encouraging chefs to dig into locally grown products this summer.

The Dig into Local 90 Day Challenge aims to promote the bounty of the state’s agricultural products available during the growing season by challenging chefs from across the state to create new menu options in their restaurants.

“This 90-day challenge is a great opportunity for local chefs to connect with local farmers, and for consumers to sample the wide variety of foods grown, raised or processed in the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We want consumers to know that whether they are shopping in a supermarket or eating at a restaurant, they can always find fresh and delicious North Carolina products.”

As part of the challenge, restaurants must create a customized menu of dishes featuring products sourced from North Carolina. Each menu must show information about the local ingredients, including the farm, producer or processor. In addition, participating restaurants are required to submit a summary at the end of the challenge with information about their menu creations. Restaurants will be judged on their creations, and the winner will receive a customized marketing package to use in its area.

The challenge runs from June 1 to Aug. 31. Restaurants interested in participating can register by sending an email to DigIntoLocalChallenge@SavorNC.org by May 31. For additional rules and questions about the challenge, contact Tim Parrish at (919) 707-3137 or tim.parrish@ncagr.gov.

-Press release from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shared May 6.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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