Five things to look for in the company you buy your Southern goods from. good Southerner knows that you don’t buy your Southern goods from just anybody. That’s the surest way to make sure that the barbecue you’re eating isn’t that great or that the pickled eggs you’re throwing down haven’t been done quite right. No, instead you have to make sure that the company you buy your Southern goods from really knows what they’re doing and the stuff they’re producing is actually Southern. While this might seem like an easy task, once you leave the South it gets a great deal more difficult. The people out in California are wonderful, but they have no idea how to make Southern food. They might try their hardest and look everything up online, but the Southern food they’re producing just won’t cut it. The same goes for the rest of the country.

So you have to be really picky and really know what you’re looking for when you start looking for Southern goods outside the region. Here are five things you should look for in the company you go with. You should try to use this list as a guideline. At the very least it should help.

1. Small. It’s always better when you can buy your Southern goods from a small business because you know they’re taking their time when they’re preparing their goods. It’s not true across the board, but small businesses generally produce higher quality products.

2. Locally owned. See if you can find a place that’s locally owned, or a place that’s owned by the people that sell their goods there.

3. Sustainable. If at all possible, you should always be doing your best to think about sustainability. There are plenty of great places that offer Southern goods that do so while offering products that don’t destroy the environment.

4. Organic. Finally, see if you can find a store that offers Southern foods that are organic. It’s easy today to produce organic foods, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding such a place in your area.

5. Cost competitive. Lastly, try to see if you can find a place that offers Southern goods at a competitive price. There are plenty of places out there that are going to try to charge you way more than the goods are worth because they know you can’t just find them anywhere. Don’t fall for this nonsense.

If you live outside the South and after reviewing this list can’t find anybody that matches the criterion, you could always just order your Southern foods online. There’s plenty of great places these days that offer truly authentic Southern cuisine online. You just click a few things here and a few things there and it all shows up at your house. As I said, there are lots of options out there, but you can’t go wrong with Heirloom Provisions. Not only do they offer incredibly tasting Southern food to people anywhere in the country, but they also offer only organic and sustainable foods. Thus, you’re doing good by the planet and by your body when you order from them.