yellow summer flower

The wind carries faint aromas of hamburgers on the grill, and the sound of firecrackers striking the pavement fills the air. Fireflies riding the lofty breeze illuminate the night, making it apparent that summer has officially begun.

Family vacations, pool parties and evening barbecues are underway, and with the Fourth of July holiday quickly approaching, it’s time to drag those summer-time recipes out of the cookbook and into the mixing bowl. No summer event is complete without the right dish, so it’s imperative that food options are not only expansive, but delicious. Here are a few recommendations right from the NC IDEA portfolio that are sure to spice up your summer!

Eat Glean!

Healthy eating habits don’t have to be put away like your winter coats and sweaters.

Glean's Beet Powder

Your commitment to cleaner eating can easily be incorporated into your summer cuisine.

Glean, founded with an innovative approach to reducing farm waste, provides value-added health foods such as vegetable flours and powders, purees and natural snack foods. Eating Glean allows for a diverse offering of summer-time snacks and meals. Check out some Glean recipes here.

“Have Your Salad, and Eat It, Too!”

Many of us have done it—ordered a salad to distract from the unhealthy entree coming when the server returns to the table. By the end of the meal, the salad mostly remains minus a few bites.

Tracy Gourmet's Dressing–Aloha Kick!

With Tracy’s Gourmet® dressings, you can have your salad, and eat it, too!

Made using quality natural and organic ingredients without added sugar, dairy, soy, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, your salad can be an enjoyable part of your meal. Visit Tracy’s Gourmet and learn how to bring new flavor to your salad this summer!

Refresh Summer Traditions!

Traditional summer feasts that include hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken can now be a thing of the past.

No Evil Food–El Zapatista

No Evil Foods makes meat from nothin’ but plants, helping hungry mouths everywhere make the connection between food, kindness to self and others, and environmental impact.

As leaders in the global gastronomic ecosystem, No Evil Foods creates Plant Meats that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with traditional proteins, while using methods that are sustainable, simple, kind and always compromise free. Reinvent your summer menu by visiting No Evil Foods’ website!

Eat More Candy!

From the frequent neighborhood visits from the ice cream truck to the abundance of sugar-filled treats at amusement parks, avoiding harmful sugars can be a challenge.

Tom & Jenny's Classic Soft Caramels

Tom & Jenny’s, founded by a dentist and her husband, developed a new kind of candy that’s both delicious and great for teeth. The company’s unique formula and process results in an all-natural, sugar-free caramel that is preferred over sugar caramels by 60% of blind taste-testers and provides a great alternative for those with diabetes, looking for sweet tasting sugar-free options. Tom & Jenny’s candies are distributed online and through local NC retailers and healthcare offices. Check out their website for fun ways to keep your summer sweet and sugar-free!


Summer provides many opportunities, and many more places, to make bold statements: the pool, the beach, the park and even the kitchen. Abandoning conventional means of cooking and seasoning is a great start to a bold summer.

Neomega Nutrutionals–Avocado Oils

Neomega Nutritionals produces infused avocado oil made for high-heat culinary applications like sautéing, grilling and stir fry, without losing its flavor or nutritional benefits.

Whether it be on a salad, in a cold soup or on food on the grill, Neomega Nutritionals aims to enhance your dining experience by being a product that’s good for you, the planet and the future. Take a look at the bold flavors of avocado oils offered by Neomega here.



These companies are dedicated to ensuring that the food on your plate, and in your pantry, provides nutritional and supplemental value for you and your family. Working to redefine today and reshape tomorrow, the businesses in the NC IDEA network exemplify the entrepreneurial ambition that fosters economic development in various communities across the state. Learn more about them here!