RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While the North Carolina State Fair might be all about the rides and fried foods for some, its roots are in agriculture. That makes the Got to be NC Agriculture Pavilion the heart of the fair in some ways.
The exhibit moved from a tented space into the Pavilion at Dorton Arena this year. It spotlights products made in North Carolina by small, locally-owned businesses. This year it features items like wines, fudges, and jerky.
This is Spicer Sauces’ second time featured at the N.C. State Fair.
“It means a lot to us just to be able to share what we do, share our products so they can get a little taste of us,” said owner Chris Scott.
Spicer Sauces started out with five products and over five years grew to 22 products. Scott has developed rubs, seasonings, and sauces for almost any kind of food you can think to cook. He’s even won some competitions for his sauces.
“We make everything by hand. I know what goes into it. I know how it’s made. Every batch that goes out has my stamp of approval or it don’t go,” Scott said.
Scott said being a small business they not only support themselves, but they also support other businesses by using as many North Carolina-made ingredients as possible.
“That’s getting harder and harder with the prices of everything going up. That’s a hard thing to do,” he said.
He said it’s crucial to support small businesses like his.
“If you took all the small businesses out, our country would fold because that’s what we depend on,” said Scott.
Penelope Morgan agreed. She’s the owner of Gotta Be Penelope. She focuses on hot jellies, but also makes custom bread and charcuterie boards.
“I think the biggest thing that I find with them is that we all know we’re in the same boat. And we support one another. When we, when I go to a store, like, we’ll even talk about, hey, what else can I bring in to help your business? They’ll promote me on their social media platforms, I promote them. I share their pages. I do as much as I can. You won’t get that with the big, big corporations,” she said.
Got to Be NC is a project founded by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Its purpose is to promote state agricultural products and goods.
Morgan said the initiative has been a big help in getting exposure and support for her company.
“Only being two years into this, I’m still learning the ropes, but it’s good. You make some mistakes, and then you gain more knowledge and you just keep doing. So, Got to be NC has been a major,” she said.
The exhibit will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. at Dorton Arena. Click here to see the vendors set up there.