Skip to Content
Agencies | Governor
Search Virginia.Gov


Click here to e-mail this page to a friend.

October 16, 2013
~ Expanding industries such as red crabs, oysters and hard cider add an exotic touch ~

Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

From now until the start of 2014, festive occasions abound that cry out for local products. Let’s start with October. 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 for eating or bobbing, cider, cool-weather vegetables like broccoli or squash, pumpkins for pies or stewing, beef, chicken or turkey, seafood, pork, dairy products, eggs, honey and so much more.

New this year are red crabs and a rejuvenated oyster industry. Try oysters straight off the boat at crab shacks on the Rappahannock or in restaurants from D.C. to Tidewater to Richmond. Or look for oyster/wine pairings at many of the state’s wineries. Virginia’s hard cider industry is not new but it is expanding every month. Two of the newest are Blue Bee Cidery in Richmond that had a Grand Opening in July and Old Hill Cider in Timberville that opened officially in September.

Nothing says “fall” quite like a display of pumpkins, gourds, hard squash, corn shocks, straw bales, mums and other plants available at Virginia’s many markets and agritourism farms. See agritourism or VirginiaGrown sites for listings. And for Halloween parties, nothing beats Virginia’s Finest chocolates, candies and other confections, beverages, peanuts and other snack foods to satisfy your guests’ sweet teeth. For one stop shopping, see VDACS' Buy Local site.

In November and December, the star of dinner is best bought locally. Ham, turkey, prime rib or seafood grown or raised in Virginia not only make sublime entrées, but also excellent gifts for family members far from home as well. Surrounding them are fall vegetables, winter squash, and white or sweet potatoes from Virginia farms. Did you know some Virginia farmers grow squash into January? 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, hard or sparkling cider, coffees roasted in Virginia, milk, eggnog or specialty beverages sustain that elegant touch. Dessert couldn’t be simpler. Order ahead from the Virginia’s Finest menu of selections and be sure to buy extra for drop-in guests.

If you’re too tired to cook on New Year’s Day, order from Virginia’s Finest or 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.

VDACS posts all of its news releases on Facebook and Twitter. To receive immediate updates, follow us on Twitter@VaAgriculture or like us on

Copyright 2014, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For Comments or Questions Concerning this Web Site, contact the VDACS Webmaster. WAI Level A Compliant
Web Policy | Contact Us