Agriculture keeps Johnston County's economy thriving, and keeps residents and visitors enjoying delicious eats throughout the year
Agriculture keeps Johnston County’s economy thriving, and keeps residents and visitors enjoying delicious eats throughout the year. In addition to being a haven for food manufacturers, the area is well-stocked with fresh produce and several can’t-miss wineries and vineyards.
Year-round Opportunities for Produce
During most warm months, the pick-your-own industry is bustling here. Beasley’s Berries offers strawberries from mid-April through mid-June; Hill’s Peach and Berry Farm & Jan’s Strawberries does as well, along with blackberries, peaches and watermelon in season; blueberries are a specialty at Middlecreek Farm, where trees, birds and cattle also can be had; and Smith’s Nursery in Benson is open year-round with blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in season, and home-produced honey, produce and much more. Want to explore more? The Johnston County Visitors Bureau keeps an up-to-date listing of agribusiness sites and is adding more all the time.
Muscadine Heritage Wine Trail
Comprising Hinnant Family Vineyards, Enoch Winery & Vineyard, Gregory Vineyards and Adams Vineyards, the Muscadine Heritage Wine Trail allows participants to enjoy a variety of wines while also learning more about each family owned and operated facility. To complete the trail, visitors must do a paid wine tasting at each winery and buy one bottle from each winery.
Local BBQ Restaurants
True barbeque fans can’t get enough a Johnston County favorite, known as Eastern Carolina-style barbeque. This particular style of barbeque, which includes a vinegar-based sauce rather than a mustard-based dry rub or a tomato-based sauce, can be found at Johnston County restaurants including Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q and White Swan’s Bar-B-Q.
Food Manufactured Here
Located in Smithfield, Johnston County Hams produces country hams‚ spiral-sliced honey hams‚ smoked turkey, prosciutto, and dry-cured and hickory-smoked bacon. The business was started in 1946 and today the food is sold in specialty markets, delis, catalogs and online.
Often called Packers dogs or Bright Leaf dogs, Carolina Packers hot dogs are a staple food item at North Carolina State University football games. Easily recognizable due to their red color, the hot dogs are produced and packaged in Smithfield. Stevens Sausage is also manufactured in Smithfield, offering a variety of pork products such as country ham, chitterlings and red smoke sausage.
House-Autry Mills in Four Oaks has been creating quality food products since 1812, including corn meal, hushpuppies, and biscuit and cornbread mixes, as well as breaders and coatings for chicken, seafood and pork.
Johnston County Farms Offer Variety of Produce, Workshops
Take Boyette Farms in Clayton, where every fall the Clayton Fear Farm offers a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay playground and Halloween-themed events. Then there’s the Lazy O Farm in Smithfield, which hosts educational tours for children and families as well as special events.
Those looking for a little more colorful experience can stop by Toad Song Farm in Clayton, which grows a broad array of herbs, perennial plants and vegetables, and holds workshops throughout the year. Then mix it up with some friendly critters at Arrowhead Farm, where you can milk a goat, hunt for green eggs and more.
The Atkinson Milling Company is the last water-powered gristmill operating in eastern North Carolina. Take a trip to the historic gristmill north of Selma to learn the rich history and order some quality corneal products.
Still hungry? Learn about more local food in Smithfield, NC.