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.
Beekeeping is the care of honeybee colonies, commonly in hives, to stimulate crop pollination and to ensure the production of honey and other hive products, including beeswax, propolis, and royal jelly. The first honeybees in America were likely shipped to Virginia from England in the early seventeenth century.
Because of the Chesapeake Bay’s ideal brackish waters, its oyster population was once one of the most plentiful in the nation, and oyster harvesting was long a booming industry throughout the Bay’s communities. During the 1960s, decades of disease, pollution, and habitat destruction led to a significant drop in the oyster population.
Jay Eagle has been cooking maple syrup at his family farm for years. Portrait taken on Saturday, Sept. 16 2012. (Photo by Pat Jarrett)
Maple Sugaring and Syrup Making
Stunningly beautiful Highland County, Virginia, is the southernmost site in the United States for the production of maple syrup, where “Sugar Camps” have traditionally been small-scale, family-run operations.
Photo Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/buehlerphoto/
Vintage Apple Harvesting and Cider Pressing
Thomas Jefferson experimented with eighteen or more varieties of apples at Monticello, only a few miles from the orchard faithfully tended by the Shelton family in North Garden, Virginia.
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
Food and Community
Food and Community is an exploration of the meanings food has for us as members of communities and cultures. Food is central to our understandings of ourselves, our identities. It’s at the center of all the major events of our lives–from birth through death, food brings us home and reminds us of who we are. […]