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May 30, 2013

~ Commissioner of Agriculture says his secret to great grilling is starting with local products ~
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Whether he’s tending a fire in the pit or a sophisticated gas or charcoal grill, nothing pleases many Dad’s taste buds better than something hot off the fire. It could be a freshly-caught fish sizzling over an open fire at the campsite or a marinated roast turning on the rotisserie. Either way, there’s something primal about Dad cooking in the great outdoors.

If your Father’s Day celebration for Dad involves a meal cooked on the grill, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has plenty of suggestions. And all of them feature locally-available products that support the state’s 46,000+ farmers.

As the father of two, VDACS Commissioner Matt Lohr knows a little something about the joys of grilling. “Whether I throw a couple of quick burgers or some hot dogs on the grill or grill my specialty, a ribeye, my kids love anything that’s cooked over a flame,” Lohr says. “One of these years, I’m going to celebrate Father’s Day by turning the spatula over to my daughter or son and share with them my secrets of great grilling. I will not share one secret, however. Often I get them to eat their vegetables by cooking them in a special way on the grill. They love sweet corn roasted in their husks or baby vegetables strung on skewers kabob style.”

Lohr says he always begins with Virginia grown or raised products. “We have such a great diversity of products in Virginia,” he says, “and I have tried to instill in my children the importance of buying local. Of course, sometimes the beef or the sweet corn is so local that we produce it on our own farm.”

If going to your fields or freezer isn’t an option for Virginian grown products, here are some suggestions on how to find the freshest, tastiest and the most close-by products ever:

“Father’s Day is probably second only to the 4th of July as one of America’s greatest grilling holiday,” Lohr said, “and I encourage every Virginian to head to a farmers’ market, roadside stand, pick-your-own farm, clam shack or orchard to buy Virginia grown products for a special meal for Dad this year.”

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