Announcing New Project Director for Food & Community in Virginia
Food and Community in Virginia, a project of the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, welcomes Lilia Fuquen as project director for this year-long initiative. The goal of Food and Community in Virginia is to bring people across the Commonwealth together to document, celebrate, and share traditional, contemporary, and emerging foodways. Through diverse food traditions, […]
Some litters include 10 to 12 piglets. Pat Jarrett/VFH Staff
Babes in the Wood, Heritage Pigs
The Tamworth pig is a heritage breed similar to those brought here by English colonists. In Buckingham County, at Buffalo Creek farm, these slow-growing pigs have been reintroduced from England.
Walter Tejada shares a story. Community leaders gathered to discuss food and community traditions at the home of John Andelin and Ginger Geoffrey in Arlington, Virginia. Pat Jarrett/VFH Staff
Arlington Food Memories
Arlington County is the smallest county in Virginia geographically, but it may be the most diverse. Its Columbia Pike region has been called “the world in a zip code.” Close to 30 percent of its residents are foreign-born, and its Latino population has increased a startling 98 percent since 2000.
Hams in the smokehouse at Darden's County Store in Smithfield. Pat Jarrett/VFH Staff
Country Ham Curing: Darden Ham
The Darden family has been curing and selling country hams the old-fashioned way since the 1950s, at their country store in Smithfield, Virginia, following traditions Tommy Darden learned from his father.
Country Ham Curing
There is probably no other traditional food more associated with Southwest Virginia than country ham. Unlike the more commonly known wet-cured ham, which is soaked in brine or injected with a salt solution, country ham is dry-cured and aged over a much longer period. The curing of fresh pork hams takes nine months, usually beginning in November.
Fried Apple Pies
Known as “Fried Apple Pies,” “Dried Apple Pies,” or even “Fried Dried Apple Pies,” these locally made pies seem to have a ubiquitous presence throughout Southwest Virginia, appearing on the counters and shelves of country stores, gas stations, and community festivals. The defining characteristic of the pie is its intense flavor, accomplished through the use of dried apples, which are rehydrated through a long simmering process with brown sugar.
What began, according to area legend, as a communal meal prepared for a hunting expedition on the banks of the Nottoway River in 1828, the cooking of Brunswick stew has evolved into a time-honored tradition—a staple at community gatherings, a source of regional pride, the focus of spirited competition, and a true Virginia culinary art.
A family of five unidentified Mattaponi Indians poses for a photograph by James Mooney somewhere in Virginia sometime in 1900. Courtesy of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
The Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes, located on rivers named for them, have maintained hatcheries for American shad for the past hundred years, but their ties to the rivers and fishing have existed for thousands.