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What Better Way to Kick Off Fall Than with an Apple Festival?
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 12:45:19 PM | Stefanie
Succulent Granny Smith Apples

Succulent Granny Smith Apples

It’s prime time apple season, so check out a festival and pick up some juicy goodness!

Apple Butter Celebration in Shenandoah National Park – Skyland Resort, Luray
Sept. 20
Freshly made apple butter, apple crafts, apple food …. apples are just everywhere! Celebrate at Skyland Resort as the staff sets up the copper kettles and stokes up the fire for a day of apple boiling. Watch the process, give the kettle a stir and try a delicious sample. Then take home some fresh-from-the-kettle jars of apple butter. Enjoy some quality time with the family and make sure to try out some apple-smoked BBQ, grilled chicken with an apple salsa, Granny Smith Apple cole slaw, apple cobbler, apple cider and more! The Apple Butter Celebration is a great way to kick off the fall season.

Apple Harvest and Apple Butter Festival at Drumheller’s Orchard – Lovingston
Last Weekend of September
Third Weekend of October
9am-5pm Daily
Drumheller’s Orchard prides itself on non-pasteurized apple cider, while also featuring traditional apple recipes and cookbooks to great them when you go home! Bring the family the the festival and enjoy hayrides throughout the orchard, corn mazes an apple slingshot, music, and more!

Carter Mountain Orchard Apple Harvest Celebration – Carter Mountain Orchard, Charlottesville
First 4 Saturdays and Sundays in October
8am-7pm Saturday, 9am-6pm Sunday
It’s their biggest celebration of the year! The Apple Harvest Celebration at Carter Mountain Orchard is widely known for their apple picking selections. Take in the crisp, fall air and enjoy music, hayrides, wine tastings, and of course, apples! Local apple butter, apple pie, cider, donuts… all things apple!

Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival

Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival

Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival – Graves Mountain Lodge, Syria
First 3 weekends of October
10am-4:30pm Daily
Come and see nature’s way of blanketing the mountains with beautiful fall colors at the 44th Annual Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival. Enjoy fun-filled days complete with Graves famous food, live Bluegrass Music & Cloggers, arts & crafts, hay maze & Hay Mountain, hayrides, horseback rides, Pick-your-own apples and tour the family’s working educational farm, visit the animals and more. Experience farm days of yesteryear, watch kettles of apple butter cook over an open fire.

Apple Butter Makin’ Festival at Silver Creek and Seaman’s Orchard – Tyro
1st and 3rd weekends of October
10am-4:30pm Daily
For more than 30 years, Silver Creek and Seaman’s Orchard has had their Apple Butter Makin’ Festival. You will find both the Flippin and the Seaman family members working throughout the day, making their apple butter the old-fashioned way in large copper kettles. Products for sale include apples, apple butter, jams, jellies, cider, cookbooks, gifts and more. Pick your own apples, children’s games, food and crafters, and of course, live music.

Apple Day at Pharsalia – Pharsalia, Tyro
Oct. 11
Enjoy mulled cider, food, apple butter making and music to go along at the second annual Apple Day in Pharsalia. Spend the day out in the country with talks and demonstrations about different apple recipes and more!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Apple Day: A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage and Arts & Crafts Fair – Douthat State Park, Millboro
Oct. 11
Douthat State Park‘s Apple Day and the Arts & Crafts Fair are combined this year. Enjoy crisp mountain air and beautiful fall foliage. Celebrate the fruits of fall. Enjoy games, hay rides, bluegrass music and great food, and observe apple butter making, pelt displays, campfire cooking, clogging, and traditional Appalachian artisan and craft demonstrations. The Art and Craft fair features artisans and crafters from throughout the region. See quilts, birdhouses, ceramics, candles, wood crafts, jewelry, photography, baskets and more.

For more apple festivals and picking goodness, check out the apple picking page!


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13 Notes About Virginia’s Music Heritage
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 8:39:21 AM | Casey

What do you think of when you consider Virginia’s music scene? You may not realize just how robust and varied the genres are that originated here, or which big names got their start in Virginia.

Fife and Drums Corp at Colonial Williamsburg.

Fife and Drums Corp at Colonial Williamsburg.

In honor of September being declared Virginia Music Heritage Month, consider these music notes.

1. The first musician came to Jamestown in 1618. Apparently he fiddled up quite a storm as it was in that year that dancing, fiddling and cards were banned on the Sabbath.1

2. Eighteenth-century Williamsburg indeed incorporated music into their everyday lives. According to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, “It is not surprising to search the inventories of these early citizens and find listed among other effects spinets, flutes, guitars, violins, violin-cellos, fifes, French horns, drums, harpsichords, organs, harmonicas and pianofortes.”2

3. Speaking of Colonial Williamsburg, have you seen and heard the signature Fifes and Drums in person?

Carter Family Fold.

Carter Family Fold.

4. Bristol, TN/VA is known as the Birthplace of Country Music thanks to the 1927 Bristol Sessions, which the legendary Johnny Cash called, “the single most important event in the history of country music.”

5. Speaking of Johnny Cash, did you know that his wife’s family (June Carter Cash) were the pioneers of country music? The Carter Family Fold, an acoustic-only venue honoring A.P. Sara and Maybelle, is located in Hiltons, Virginia, and you may visit for live concerts. Also check out the A. P. Carter Museum for artifacts and memorabilia.

6. Patsy Cline was born in Winchester and you can visit her home, as well as her grave, where you’ll find sweet mementos and pennies left for her.

7. 2014 was the year of Happy and “24 Hours of Happy,” the world’s first 24-hour music video by Pharrell Williams, the hip hop artist and producer from Virginia Beach.

8. Regarding Coastal Virginia talent, Williams’ Neptunes production team sidekick, Chad Hugo, hails from Virginia Beach, too, while hip hop queen Missy Elliott is from nearby Portsmouth and rapper/producer Timbaland is just a stone’s throw away in Norfolk.

9. Old time and bluegrass listeners readily know the name Ralph Stanley. He and his brother, Carter, are perhaps the best-known recorders of Man of Constant Sorrow, a track made popular by the film O Brother Where Art Thou, starring George Clooney.

Virginia is for Music Lovers®

10. If you ever “listen to the Mandolin Rain,” you’re listening to Williamsburg son Bruce Hornsby, a popular easy-listening/pop artist most renowned among baby boomers.

11. “The Most Awarded Act in the History of Country Music” is Staunton’s The Statler Brothers. They sang backup for Johnny Cash before breaking out with Flowers on the Wall.

12. The most recognized military bugle call is Taps, the resounding call to extinguish light at the day’s end. In 1862 while encamped at Harrison’s Landing (Berkeley Plantation), Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield with the help of bugler Oliver Willcox Norton, wrote Taps. 3, 4

13. Ella Fitzgerald, “The First Lady of Song,” was a jazz singer from Newport News who garnered 13 Grammy Awards over her career, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 1992.


Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a Free Travel Guide or Download the eGuide.


1 “Was There Music in Jamestown in 1607?” The Colonial Music Institute.
2 Eighteenth-Century Music and Dance. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
3 “24 Notes that Tap Deep Emotions: The Story of Taps“. Villaneuva, Jari.
4 “How Taps Became Associated with Funerals“. Villaneuva, Jari.

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Smooth Operator: Virginia Bourbons to Celebrate a Delicious Heritage
Friday, September 12, 2014, 9:37:06 AM | PEvansHylton

September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, a time for folks to enjoy an imbibe that is truly American.

The celebration was set aside by a Senate resolution in 2007 and reads in part:

“Whereas the history of bourbon-making is interwoven with the history of the United States, from the first settlers of Kentucky in the 1700s …”

As a Virginian, I couldn’t agree more, for when the first settlers came to that region, that region was Virginia. In fact, it was Virginia until the commonwealth of Kentucky was established in 1792.

The geographical area today famous for the spirit – Bourbon County – was Virginia until this separation.

Re-enactors making whiskey at George Washington's Mount Vernon.    Photo:

Re-enactors making whiskey at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Photo:

And the man noted as the father of modern bourbon, Elijah Craig, was born in Orange County, Va. in 1738 and began distillation in that region in 1789 in charred oak casks that, he writes, is “a process that gives the bourbon its reddish color and unique tastes.”


But the road to bourbon began before the 18th century.

The process of making distilled spirits using grain mash (from barley, rye and wheat, among others) as a base is millenniums old. Among the round-up: gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey. Bourbon is a type of whiskey.

Corn, being a New World agricultural product, was new indeed to European settlers coming to the Americas. And bourbon is made from a mash of corn.

A key crop for Jamestown settlers, corn cultivation and use was introduced to the English by Native Americans. It was used to feed livestock, and to feed people.

Another use was found around 1620 by preacher, physician and surgeon George Thorpe, at Berkeley Hundred (now Berkeley Plantation,) just a short distance northwest of Jamestown along the James River.

Wee have found a waie to make soe good drink of Indian corne I have divers times refused to drink good stronge English beare and chose to drinke that,” he writes.

Not exactly bourbon, but a good start to crafting truly American whiskeys in the developing nation.

Virginia fostered this corn whiskey, and many farmers found that they could make about three gallons from a bushel of corn, and that the price they could fetch on their distilled spirits surpassed that of the corn at market.

This tradition made its way as the frontier opened up into the Shenandoah Valley, and across the Allegheny Mountains into what is now West Virginia and Kentucky.

A proposal to tax this drink to cover war debts from the Revolution caused the Whiskey Rebellion in those parts, the first armed conflict between citizens and the newly formed American government.

But it wasn’t just farmers that got in on the act; what would become Virginia’s largest commercial distillery of the day opened in 1797 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Rye and corn grown on the estate was used in the mash, and production leapt from 80 gallons the first year to 11,000 gallons the following year. By the early 19th century, however, the distillery ceased operations.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery

A. Smith Bowman Distillery

In 2006, the site was excavated and a reconstructed distillery was built on the foundations, and tours are available as well as limited productions of whiskey using George Washington’s recipe. 

Whiskey was in abundance during the 19th century, but by the early 1900s Virginia moved towards Prohibition, adopting laws in 1914 that forbid alcohol production, sales and consumption across the state. The whole country went dry in 1920.

Although A. Smith Bowman Distillery began operation in 1935, shortly after Prohibition’s repeal, quality production of bourbon and other spirits were slow on the return, but the Old Dominion now has more than a dozen distilleries now offering artisanal quaffs flavored with history.

And what’s better than enjoying some of the imbibes from across Virginia than actually visiting some of the businesses, seeing the operations, and speaking with the distiller themselves? We’ll raise a glass to that.


Be it bourbon, or another distilled spirit, that calls your name when 5 o’clock comes, Virginia has more than a dozen distilleries offer quality quaffs for enjoying in a cocktail, on the rocks, or served neat.

Look in state ABC stores for the offerings.

Many distilleries offer tours to see the process up-close. Check with distilleries for details as not all are open to the public.


Stillhouse Distillery at Belmont Farm

Stillhouse Distillery at Belmont Farm

Belmont Farm Distillery
13490 Cedar Run Rd., Culpeper

Offerings: Kopper Kettle Virginia whiskey, Kopper Kettle vodka, Virginia Lightning corn whiskey (original and apple pie or cherry flavors.)


A. Smith Bowman Distillery
1 Bowman Dr., Fredericksburg

Offerings: Bowman Brothers Virginia small batch bourbon, John J. Bowman single barrel bourbon, Abraham Bowman small batch whiskey, George Bowman small batch Colonial Era-style dark rum, Deep Run small batch vodka, Sunset Hills small batch gin, Virginia Gentleman bourbons.


Catoctin Creek Distilling Company

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company
120 W. Main St., Purcellville

Offerings: Roundstone Rye, Roundstone Rye 92 Proof, Watershed Gin, Roundstone Rye Cask Proof, Mosby’s Spirit (rye), 1757 Virginia Brandy, Pearousia (pear brandy), Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy,


Chesapeake Bay Distillery
2669 Production Rd., Virginia Beach

Offerings: Blue Ridge Vodka, Chick’s Beach Rum


Cirrus Vodka
1603 Ownby Lane, Richmond

Offerings: Potato-based, hand-crafted, small-batched vodka.


Copper Fox Distillery

Copper Fox Distillery

Copper Fox Distillery
9 River Lane, Sperryville

Offerings: Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky, Copper Fox Rye Whisky, Copper Fox VirGin, Wasmund’s Single Malt Spirit, Wasmund’s Rye Spirit, Wasmund’s Barrel Kit (to craft your own whiskey at home.)


Laird & Company

Although based in New Jersey, the company obtains all its apples from orchards in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where it owns a distillery. It has been distilling apple brandy since 1780.


Offerings: Laird’s Applejack (apple brandy)


Reservoir Distillery
1800 Summit Ave., Richmond

Offerings: Bourbon, Wheat Whiskey, Rye Whiskey


Silverback Distillery
9374 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Afton

Offerings: Beringei Vodka, Strange Monkey Gin, Blackback Whiskey, Blackback Bourbon, Blackback White Whiskey, Beringei Sweet Tea Vodka (coming soon.)


Virginia Sweetwater Distillery. Photo: Jason Barnette

Virginia Sweetwater Distillery. Photo: Jason Barnette

Virginia Sweetwater Distillery
760 Walkers Creek Rd., Marion

Offerings: Virginia Sweetwater Moonshine, War Horn Whiskey


George Washington’s Distillery
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon

Offerings: a limited production is offered at the distillery – sign up on the website for email notifications when new batches of whiskey become available; folks can also get a taste of George Washington Rye Whiskey Estate Edition through a partnership of Mount Vernon and Hillrock Estate Distillery (


Woods Mill Distillery
1625 River Rd., Faber

Offerings: Woods Mill Harvest Apple Brandy; note – a bourbon is in the barrel aging and should be available within a year


Also of note for your travel plans: the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop


So you’ve visited Virginia and toured several distilleries. You have a couple of bottles of bourbon as souvenirs. Now what? It’s cocktail time. Here are three of my recipes for making some drinks that will carry you back to the Old Dominion with each sip.

Of note: one of the most famous bourbon cocktails, the Mint Julep, is also a Virginia native: the first reference was in 1803 and described as “A dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.”

The classic recipe is attributed to The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, then in Virginia, now in West Virginia.

Bourbon Slush

This party punch puts local spirits to good use and satisfies the southern palate for boozy, sugary drinks with equal parts bourbon, lemonade and sweet ice tea.

This recipe is from my cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia.


  • 4 cups Virginia bourbon
  • 4 cups lemonade
  • 4 cups sweet ice tea
  • 1 cup ginger ale (like Virginia’s Northern Neck Ginger Ale)


Combine the bourbon, lemonade and tea in a 9-by-13-by-2 inch baking dish. Freeze overnight.

Remove the frozen mixture from the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Break up the mixture slightly and transfer to a punch bowl. Add the ginger ale. Stir until a slushy consistency is reached and serve immediately.

Yields 12-16 servings

The Virginia Highland

Virginia is the southernmost state that produces maple syrup, and we combine that delicious flavor with Virginia bourbon, complimentary orange bitters and garnish with a tasty slice of Virginia bacon just because.


  • 1/2 ounce Virginia maple syrup (from Southernmost Maple)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 ounces Virginia bourbon
  • 1 slice extra crisp Virginia bacon slice


In a highball glass add the maple syrup and bitters and stir. Add one or two ice cubes and add bourbon. Garnish with Virginia bacon slice

Yield 1 cocktail

The Winchester Wink

Winchester is the Apple Capital of the World, and we combine Virginia bourbon with Virginia cider along with complimentary flavors of lemon and ginger in this cocktail.


  • 3-4 thin slices of fresh, peeled ginger
  • 2 ounces Virginia bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Virginia cider


Add ginger, bourbon and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker; fill with ice and shake to combine. Strain into a highball glass and add one or two ice cubes. Fill to the top with Virginia cider.

Yield 1 cocktail


- One of the first Native American tribes that English colonists encountered is named after food.

The Chickahominy, whose name translates to “The Coarse Ground Corn People,” is today among the 11 officially recognized by the state.

The Chickahominy River, named after the people, feeds into the James River just to the west of Jamestown.

- Congress declared bourbon as “America’s Native Spirit” in 1964, making it the only spirit distinctive to this country.


Patrick Evans-HyltonPatrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at


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Seven for the Season: Destination Restaurants to Visit this Autumn
Friday, September 05, 2014, 9:26:49 AM | PEvansHylton

Labor Day has come and gone, and with the first of September comes the meteorological start of autumn.

It may still be a few weeks before trees across Virginia light up in fiery reds, brilliant oranges and stunning yellows, but change is definitely in the air. Days are a little bit shorter, nights a little bit cooler, and shadows a little bit longer.

Add Skyline Drive to your route to The Apple House.

Add Skyline Drive to your route to The Apple House.

Now is a great time to get out and explore Virginia, one bite at a time. Here are some ideas to guide you along your path.


Autumn means heartier dishes; food to warm the body and soul. Across the state there are many wonderful offerings. Here are three that showcase a trio of Virginia’s culinary calling cards: apples, oysters and Brunswick Stew.

The restaurant:

The Apple House
4675 John Marshall Hwy., Linden

The dish:

Apple Butter Donuts


At the northern entrance of Skyline Drive, in the middle of Virginia apple territory, The Apple House opened in 1963 selling ethereal rings of fried goodness.

These treats, donuts made from apple butter and adorned with a sprinkling of cinnamon, are still offered today. A location in Front Royal also offers the donuts.

Grab a dozen and enjoy the fall views along the byways here at the cusp of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


The restaurant:

Island House Restaurant and Marina
17 Atlantic Ave., Wachapreague

The dish:

Fried Oysters


We don’t need it to be an “R” month to enjoy one of Virginia’s gifts to the culinary world, but there is something about oysters in the fall, when they are plump and juicy.

They are great on the half-shell, but equally awesome in a light batter and deep fried until golden brown and delicious. The generously-portioned oyster dinner comes with two sides and housemade sweet potato biscuits.

Island House is designed after a 19th century life saving station; after dinner climb spiral staircase to lookout tower for stunning views of the surrounding marshes, tranquil and still in the autumn air.


Old Chickahominy House

Old Chickahominy House

The restaurant:

Old Chickahominy House
1211 Jamestown Rd., Williamsburg

The dish:

Brunswick Stew


First opened in 1955 by Melinda Cowles Barbour, this restaurant and antique store/gift shop offers many Virginia-centric dishes, including Brunswick Stew.

The stew, a richly flavored amalgamation of lima beans, corn and other vegetables with chicken and seasonings in a tomato broth base is sold with hot biscuits or crackers; or as part of Miss Melinda’s Special which also features a country ham biscuit, fruit salad, homemade pie and coffee or tea. It’s also offered to go by the pint or quart.

While in town, walk through Colonial Williamsburg under soaring trees adorned in golden leaves to get a taste of 18th century Virginia.

—   —   —


Sometimes its not just the destination, but also the journey. Of course journeys are made all the better knowing there is some delicious food waiting for you at the end.

Here are some favorite places where getting there, and eating there, are rewarding anytime, including the fall.

The restaurant:

Charles City Tavern
9220 John Tyler Memorial Hwy., Charles City

The view:

Located about halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg, Charles City Tavern is just off Route 5, also known as the John Tyler Memorial Hwy. This ribbon os asphalt follows the curves of the James River, and is a gorgeous drive any time of the year, including the fall, when the colors come alive.

Stop before or after your meal at one of the famous James River Plantations along the way for a real treat. Berkeley Plantation, where the first bourbon in America was distilled and this country’s first Thanksgiving was celebrated is just four miles away.


Located in a charming 1889 farmhouse on a 2,000-acre working farm, views of the surrounding countryside are afforded from the dining rooms and screened in porches.

At dinner try the Eastern Shore Crab Cakes with Ragout of Sweet Corn and Virginia Ham.


Chateau Morrisette

Chateau Morrisette

The restaurant:

Chateau Morrisette
287 Winery Rd. SW, Floyd

The view:

Immediately off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Chateau Morrisette is widely known for the quality vintages that the winery produces.

But there is also a restaurant on-site serving up seasonal dishes and spectacular views. Opening up towards the west from the lodge-style dining room are gorgeous panoramas from the rolling hills and farmlands in the valley below to blue-hued mountains lit up in fall hues beyond.


It’s not just the incredible views once you get to Chateau Morrisette, but the ones along the way down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take extra time to stop and snap photos.

Enjoy the Pork Tenderloin, which is infused with locally grown oregano, grilled and drizzled with roasted pepper and tomato coulis, and served with rice, fried green tomatoes and house collards. Pair it with a Cabernet Franc from the winery next door.


Hunter's Head Tavern

Hunter’s Head Tavern

The restaurant:

Hunter’s Head Tavern
9048 John S. Mosby Hwy., Upperville

The view:

Route 50, also called John S. Mosby Highway, cuts an east-west path through scenic horse country in Virginia and offers many spectacular vistas, especially heading away from the Washington D.C. area where the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains loom on the horizon.

Both Upperville, where the tavern is located, and nearby Middleburg are scenic towns, providing a good opportunity to stop and take a walk exploring antique shops and galleries.


Hunter’s Head Tavern is located in the historic 1750 Carr House, which began as a log cabin when this part of Virginia was on the western frontier of the nation. There are charming colonial features throughout.

Enjoy the Stuffed Rainbow Trout with House-Cured Bacon and Local Mushrooms; the trout is sustainably harvested seafood. The bacon and mushrooms are locally sourced; organic meats and produce come from neighboring Ayrshire Farm, which raises only Certified Humane animals.


Peaks of Otter Lodge Restaurant with seating overlooking Abbott Lake

Peaks of Otter Lodge Restaurant with seating overlooking Abbott Lake

The restaurant:

Peaks of Otter Lodge Restaurant
85554 Blue Ridge Pkwy., Bedford

The view:

Nestled in the mountains, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter Lodge, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is a perfect place to enjoy nature, especially when the surrounding landscape comes afire with fall color.

The trip to the lodge is filled with scenic opportunities, as is the view from the lodge dining room. The space here opens up onto an expansive vista onto Abbot Lake and the rolling Blue Ridge in the background.


Blue Ridge Half Chicken, fried or roasted, and served with caramelized apples, cranberry relish, garlic mashed potatoes and housemade gravy. The fried chicken is done low and slow; it’s cooked to order and you’ll have to wait about 20 minutes but it’s essential in a perfect crispness.

On Friday nights there is a seafood buffet that includes crab legs, shrimp, clams, fish, oysters and even frog legs.

—   —   —


This dish was created in 1828 in Brunswick County, according to legend, and is open to interpretation and inspiration as ingredients go. Rabbit and squirrel were once the primary components, while today chicken and pork are used. Most Brunswick stews are tomato based and augment an animal protein with lima beans, corn, potatoes, and often okra.

The result is a rich, thick, hearty stew with complex and complementary flavors ranging from savory to sweet to smoky. Make a big pot; the leftovers taste even better as the ingredients mesh and meld and become more unified. Cornbread is the quintessential accompaniment.

Chicken Ingredients

1 large (4–5 pound) boiler chicken

1 large onion, unpeeled and quartered

3 carrots, unpeeled and quartered

3 celery stalks, quartered

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed

1 small bunch fresh Italian parsley

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon sea salt

Stew Ingredients

4–6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

3 pounds new potatoes, quartered

2 medium onions, chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

6 cups stewed or canned crushed tomatoes

2 cups prepared lima beans

2 cups corn kernels

1 tablespoon sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 teaspoon ground red pepper

4 tablespoons butter


Make the chicken. Place the chicken in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and sea salt. Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow boil and cook until the chicken is tender and the meat is falling off the bone, 45 to 90 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit for 10 to
15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board to cool; do not discard the broth. Debone the chicken and shred or chop the meat. Strain the broth; cool, and skim off the fat.

Make the stew. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, in a
large stockpot over high heat until cooked. Add 4 cups of the reserved chicken broth to the stockpot. (If you don’t have
4 full cups, use additional chicken or vegetable stock, or water to make up the difference.) Add the potatoes and onion, and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until the potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste. Add the reserved chicken. Reduce to a simmer and add the tomatoes, lima beans, corn, sugar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add additional broth or water if needed, but stew should be thick.

Remove the stew from the heat. Stir in the butter until it melts and serve immediately.

Yields 8-12 servings

This recipe is from my book, Dishing Up Virginia (Storey Publishing, 2013)

Patrick Evans-HyltonPatrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at


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13 Places to Satisfy Your Buckwheat Craving
Wednesday, September 03, 2014, 3:52:11 PM | Casey

Buckwheat is considered a superfood, as it’s packed with more protein than corn, rice or wheat, and it’s gluten free. Like many things, Virginia and buckwheat go way back. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew the crop in rotation on their respective farms at Mount Vernon and Monticello.1,2

Mabry Mill Restaurant Buckwheat Cakes

Mabry Mill Restaurant Buckwheat Cakes

While buckwheat is no longer one of the more common crops of Virginia, it is still celebrated, available on the menu in select restaurants, and packaged for mixing at home.



Monterey - The Highland Maple Festival is held two consecutive weekends annually in March, and buckwheat pancakes are the perfect recipient of the sweet maple syrup. Now celebrated for nearly 60 years, the festival was designated a “Local Legacy” by The Library of Congress in 1999, and designated the Official Maple Festival of Virginia in April 2014. The sugar camp tours, maple donuts, and buckwheat cakes draw roughly 50,000 visitors to the Allegheny Highlands each year.

Meadows of Dan – Pancake Days is an annual celebration held the third and fourth Saturdays of October at the Volunteer Fire Department. It’s an all day breakfast feast with regular pancakes, buckwheat cakes, sausage, and more! 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.



Fontaine Caffe & Creperie

Fontaine Caffe & Creperie

Not only is Mabry Mill the most photographed site on the Blue Ridge Parkway, their restaurant has some of the most famous buckwheat cakes, too. Even better, you can order them all day! Buckwheat flour is available for purchase as well.



Woodson's Mill

Woodson’s Mill

Raphine – Wade’s Mill is a working mill producing stone-ground grains for your at-home consumption. Visit to get a package of Jim and Georgie’s Wade’s Mill Buckwheat Poundcake Mix, or other buckwheat mixes.


Where in Virginia do you like to eat and buy buckwheat? Comment to share.

Virginia is for Lovers
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1. Jefferson and Soil Improvement, Part 2. Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden. March 13, 2011.
2. FAQ > Mount Vernon, Virginia. The Papers of George Washington.

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