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Food in the news: More Farmers Market hours

Being corny

Del Monte Foods Cheddar Corn Casserole

Del Monte Foods Cheddar Corn Casserole

Salisbury Farmers Market will open April 25 with additional hours.

You can shop Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, and now Wednesday evenings, 4-7 p.m.

The market will again be across from Rowan Public Library, at the corner of Fisher and Jackson Streets.

We’re corny and hammy

According to the Del Monte Easter Feast Ranking, North Carolinians turn to ham and corn for holiday meals.  Based on a study of search data from Google Trends and post data from Facebook Insights over the past 90 days, North Carolina residents plan to “ham it up” and “get corny” this Easter season.

North Carolina ranks as the 29th hammiest state. Seems we like corn even more, with a ranking of 24th.

Not sure what this means? Neither were we.

But they sent what they said is Del Monte’s most popular side dish.

Cheddar Corn Casserole

3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, about 12 oz.

2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3/4 cup milk

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sliced green onions, divided

1 tsp. hot sauce

4 cans (15.25 oz.) whole kernel corn, well drained

1½ cups croutons (or crackers), finely crushed (about 3/4 cup), optional topping

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional topping

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, optional topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss together cheese, flour and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

Stir together milk, cream cheese, 1/3 cup green onions and hot sauce in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Add corn and shredded cheese mixture; stir well to blend evenly. Cover and bake 30 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup green onions and optional toppings, as desired. Bake 5 minutes longer.

How local is your food?

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is launching a new contest for restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients on their menus.

The “Dig into Local” Best Menu NC contest is part of an expanding array of foodservice programs offered by the department through its Got to Be NC and Savor NC marketing programs.

“This promotion works well with the trends we see in restaurants today,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Locally sourced meats, seafood and produce continue to be the top-ranked trends in today’s ever-changing restaurant scene.”

Menus will be judged on several criteria, including: clearly identifying N.C. agricultural products, farms and manufacturers; highlighting seasonal produce; identifying items with unique regional connections; offering N.C. wine, beer and spirit selections on the menu; including multiple courses featuring N.C. ingredients; and offering a good balance of N.C. products across protein, grain and produce categories.

Restaurants interested in participating should submit applications by May 31. Department staff will visit each restaurant between June and September to evaluate menus. Online menus also will be reviewed during the process. The top 10 menus will be recognized in October, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top five restaurants.

More information and applications are available at www.gottobenc.com/DigIntoLocal.

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