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March 4, 2013

~ See for St. Patrick’s Day food festivals ~
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Many days in March are devoted to food. Peanut Butter Lover’s Day March 1, Poultry Day March 19, Something on a Stick Day on the 28th and Clams on the Half Shell Day March 31. But St. Patrick’s Day reigns supreme as spring’s favorite food day. People celebrate with green beer and traditional Irish foods, and we grow or produce many of the necessary ingredients right here in Virginia: beef brisket for corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, lamb for stew, meat for shepherd’s pie and apple cider for braising your beef.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages everyone to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Virginia style, even if your name is not O’Leary or O’Brien, Murphy or McLoughlin. Begin your day with a full Irish breakfast: bacon, sausages, black and white pudding, fried or scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, potato bread and baked beans. Add a pot of Virginia’s Finest tea or coffee, and you’re off to a great start.

Both lunch and dinner could start with a soup featuring potatoes, cockles, smoked fish, parsnip and apples, or peas and ham, Virginia grown products all. The main course could include any or several of the following: Irish stew, Hunter’s Pie, bacon and boiled cabbage, potato champ (also known as mashed potatoes), spiced beef or turnips. For dessert, try Sweet Yellow Man or Irish apple pie.

A traditional recipe for Irish Coddle features many Virginia products:
1 pound bacon slices
2 pounds pork sausage links
2 large onions, sliced
2 whole cloves garlic
4 large potatoes, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
1 large bunch of fresh herbs, tied with string or in a cheesecloth bag
Black pepper
Apple cider
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Lightly fry bacon in a skillet until crisp; drain. Crumble the bacon and place in a large pot. Pour off
most of the bacon grease. Brown sausage in the skillet. Remove and add to the pot with the bacon.
Soften sliced onions and whole garlic cloves in skillet over medium-low heat, and then add to the pot
along with potatoes and carrots. Bury the bunch or bag of herbs in the middle of the mixture.
Sprinkle with pepper. Cover with cider. Cook 1-1/2 hours over medium-low heat; do not boil. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 6.

For more menu ideas and seasonal food and beverage products, visit and For food festivals, including those for St. Patrick’s Day, click here.

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