UNC-TV’s ‘Flavor, NC’ program showcasing the diversity of North Carolina agriculture and excellence in food statewide
“Flavor, NC” marks its third season on UNC-TV, and this popular show focusing on North Carolina agriculture, food, chefs and restaurants that feature local fare is as popular as ever. The crew has already started filming episodes for Season 4, which is slated to begin airing in September.
Host Lisa Prince is excited about exploring new parts of the state, discovering new culinary creations and visiting the farms where all the good food gets its start.
“I am proud of what we are doing, because I see the impact it has,” she said. “The people and businesses we feature always see a spike in calls, sales and orders when a program airs, so that is positive. We are helping chefs, farmers, producers and artisans all across the state, not just one area of the state.”
The show has literally traveled from the mountains to the coast with stops in between as it highlights small farms, restaurants, bakeries, aquaculture operations, food manufacturers, and even breweries and distilleries.
Always the focus starts on local. And after three seasons, the ideas for shows don’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, Prince said the program’s success encourages more ideas. “We get a lot of calls from businesses, restaurants and chefs letting us know they would love to work with ‘Flavor, NC’ on a segment.”
As the fourth-most agriculturally diverse state in the country, N.C. farmers are producing enough different varieties of fruits, vegetables and meats to allow the show to focus on new commodities for a very long time.
Seeing that variety and the creative ways chefs are using these products is part of the appeal of the show, Prince said.
“’Flavor, NC’ features so much variety and it is about getting to know farmers, food producers, artisans and chefs of our state. Those people are the appeal and why the show works,” Prince said. “Viewers get to travel across the state from the comfort of their home learning about all the great agriculture we have to offer. They can make plans to visit a location, order a product, connect with a farmer or find a new recipe.”
Helping promote N.C. agriculture, the wide variety of commodities produced in the state, and local food businesses and restaurants’ featuring local foods are parts of Prince’s job as an agricultural marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Her work just happens to put her in front of the camera. Still, she readily admits it’s a pretty good job – visiting farms, tasting food, meeting interesting and innovative people in the food business and learning new things about cooking and agriculture.
“I have always loved North Carolina, but traveling from one end to the other, I am so in awe of our food producers and how they are always looking to move the industry forward,” she said. “Theses farmers are trying to find a niche and think outside the box, and that impresses me.”
Although Prince grew up with a love for good food and cooking, she is not trained as a chef. Being recognized and associated with televised cooking segments could draw extra scrutiny of her cooking.
“I don’t feel any added pressure when cooking for family. Thankfully, they have enjoyed my successes, and they have smiled and laughed when I bombed,” she said. “In fact, I made yeast rolls for Christmas Eve at my in-laws this year and I let them rise too long. We ended up with foccacia yeast rolls when all was said and done, and they were very sweet about it.”
Cooking for work-related promotions is a bit different. “I feel so much pressure when I take something to a special event. The expectation is too high, and I am not a chef,” Prince said. “I cook just like your mom, sister or neighbor - just regular home cooking.”
Consumer interest in buying local has been a welcomed boon to North Carolina farmers and food businesses. Prince thinks the trend will continue and has a few ideas on what’s next on the local food horizon.
“I think we will see a focus on fresher, simpler foods; letting the raw flavors speak for themselves. I also think we will see more leafy greens such as kale, collards and cabbage,” she said.
Whatever trend is down the road, Prince hopes to continue bringing viewers interesting stories from the fields and kitchens across the state.
Look for “Flavor, NC” on your local UNC-TV/PBS channel on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. The program is sponsored by Got to Be NC Agriculture; Currituck, Outer Banks; Got to Be NC Seafood; N.C. Peanut Growers Association; and N.C. Farm Fresh. You can also like “Flavor, NC” on Facebook.
Some of the recipes from past “Flavor, NC” segments have crept into the culinary cycle of Prince family favorites. She has picked a few below to share.