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November 18, 2015 - Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services


From now until the start of 2016, festive occasions abound that cry out for local products. Let’s start with Thanksgiving. In every part of the state, consumers can find pick-your-own farms, roadside stands, farmers’ markets and grocery stores laden with local food favorites. Hosting a fall gathering? Try apples; sweet or hard cider; cool-weather vegetables like broccoli or squash; pumpkins for pies or stewing; beef, pork, chicken or turkey; seafood; dairy products; eggs and so much more.

This is a great time of year to add Virginia oysters to your menus. The industry is thriving and you’ll find them at the wharf, straight off the boat or in restaurants from D.C. to Tidewater to Richmond. Or you can follow the new Virginia Oyster Trail to seven distinct oyster-growing regions, each with its unique flavor profile and salinity.

Virginia's FinestNothing says “fall” quite like a colorful display of pumpkins, gourds, hard squash, corn shocks, straw bales, mums and other plants available at Virginia’s many markets and agritourism farms. See for listings. And for snacking, nothing beats Virginia’s Finest chocolates, candies and other confections, beverages, peanuts and other snack foods to satisfy your guests’ sweet teeth.

In November and December, the star of dinner is best bought locally. Virginia ham, turkey, prime rib or seafood not only make sublime entrées, but also make excellent gifts for family members far from home as well. Good news for turkey lovers, Virginia has raised enough turkeys in the Shenandoah Valley to meet demand in the state at affordable prices.

Virginia grownSurrounding these entrées are fall vegetables, winter squash, and white or sweet potatoes from Virginia farms. That time-honored dish of creamed onions is best topped with Virginia peanuts, and a tray of local artisanal cheeses starts dinner tastefully. Regular or sparkling wine, cider, milk, eggnog or specialty beverages sustain that elegant touch. Dessert couldn’t be simpler. Choose from a variety of Virginia’s Finest confections and be sure to buy extra for drop-in guests.

If you’re too tired to cook on New Year’s Day, order from a restaurant specializing in local foods. You’ll find them in every city and many smaller towns. It’s a way to start your New Year with a suitable feast, and in addition, get the satisfaction of knowing that when you buy local products, you contribute to the local economy and help keep agriculture, Virginia’s largest industry, strong.




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