Appreciating all that makes America special

Food: Smithfield Ham

Smithfield is in the middle of peanut country (Planters built its first mass production plant in neighboring Suffolk), and Smithfield hams are peanut-fed. Until recently, that was mandated by Virginia law. Uploaded by

Let’s start off by admitting that Smithfield Ham isn’t for everyone. These hams are dry salt-cured, slow hickory-smoked, and aged for six months to a year. The result is a distinctive country ham that, when sliced thin and piled on, makes the absolute best ham biscuit you ever put in your mouth.

Somebody say amen!

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As you might imagine, Smithfield, Virginia isn’t exactly a tourist destination. Unless you like shopping for pork products, that is. It’s down in Southeast Virginia, not far from Norfolk in the greater Hampton Roads region. That’s peanut country, too (Planters built its first mass processing plant in neighboring Suffolk), and most of Smithfield’s hogs are peanut-fed, which was required by Virginia law until recently.

Now, these aren’t mild hams. They’re salty and pungent, and they can take a bit of getting used to. But their unique flavor is highly prized, and to serve a genuine Smithfield ham is to demonstrate an appreciation for the finer things in life.


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One Comment

  1. Smithfield’s not a tourist destination? When was the last time you visited? Smithfield’s second biggest industry, right behind Smithfield Foods, is tourism! A collection of museums (including one housing the worlds oldest ham!), Historic St. Luke’s Church (circa 1632), and a whole host of Colonial, Victorian, Federal, and Georgian homes with gorgeous architecture, along with tons of art galleries and boutique shops can all be found in Smithfield – and that’s just scratching the surface! Check out their website:
    Come on by. We’d love to have you back to reconsider!