The harvest of peanuts, corn, and cotton, and the changing leaves create a beautiful drive down our rural highways of the Salty Southern Route. The autumn flavors of fresh peanuts, smoked meats, and warm spices are abundant at the restaurants and local businesses along the route. Visiting the family farms of Southeastern Virginia during the fall can be an unforgettable experience. Here are some places you might want to add to your seasonal plans.
College Run Farms (Surry County)
Turtle Creek Farm (Southampton County)
Darden's Country Store (Carrollton)
Grayson & Emma's Garden Spot (Courtland)
Gurganus Peanut & Buying Station (Capron)
Goose Hill Farms (Franklin)
Virginia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the "Virginia is for Lovers" theme. In honor of this milestone the Salty Southern Route would like to present 50 Destinations to Love. All of them are worth a trip down the Salty Southern Route.
Memorial weekend is when many of us begin to think about outdoor cooking. We stock up on paper plates and charcoal and scrape the dirt and old bits of burnt food off the grill. At the Salty Southern Route we want to challenge you to go beyond burgers and hot dogs this summer. Here are a few ideas to get your creative culinary juices flowing.
Grilling fruit might seem like a strange idea at first, but the unique sweetness of fruit from the grill is a special summer treat. Grilled peaches can be especially good topped with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream
Fresh sweet corn is truly a treasure of the summer. While cooking your burgers or steaks on the grill, throw on a few ears of corn. You can simply put the entire un-shucked ears on the grill. If the grill is nice and hot, turn the ears every 3-4 minutes. The outside leaves of the corn will probably burn and turn black, but the corn itself with be just fine. Let it cook for a 10-15 minutes.
If you want to keep it hot throughout your cookout, put the ears of corn in an empty cooler.
Shuck the corn and serve it with butter and salt.
College Run Farms in Surry has pick-your-own corn. Also look for fresh corn at the Farmer's Markets in Surry, Smithfield, Carrollton, Wakefield, Franklin, Suffolk, and Courtland.
Salmon with firecracker marinade slow cooked on a grill or smoker is a little spicy, a little sweet, a little smokey, and just about perfect.
The smokiness is an important part of this dish, so it is preferable to use a smoker or charcoal grill. If using charcoal, cook the salmon over indirect heat and keep the grill temperature between 225 and 275 degrees. Add wood chips to the charcoal throughout the cooking. There is no need to soak wood chips.
If you only have a gas grill, you can certainly make the this recipe work. It will still be great, just not as smoky as charcoal. Simply keep the grill temperature between 225 and 275 and do not place the salmon directly over the flame.
Smoking fish can seem a bit intimidating if you have never done it. This recipe, though, is quite easy, and a fairly foolproof way to cook salmon. The trick is to watch the temperature of the meat, and don’t overcook it.
Smoked Whiskey Sour
There are lots of variations on a whiskey sour. No matter how you like it, the sweet and tart drink is perfect for summer. Making your whiskey sour with smoked lemons adds a a savory, woody depth to the drink.
Smoked Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is a southern classic with as many variations as there are southern cooks. This recipe tries to capture a bit of summer along with the smokiness of outdoor cooking. If you are wary of smoked and dessert, don't worry. The combination of smoke, raisins, apples, and cinnamon is amazing.
This bread pudding can be divided into smaller cooking dishes (as pictured). Small cooking dishes allows you do decrease the cooking time.
Look for fresh eggs, milk, bread and apples at the Farmer's Markets in Surry, Smithfield, Carrollton, Wakefield, Franklin, Suffolk, and Courtland. You can also find great bread at the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery.
This chilly time of year brings out the “hungry” in all of us! And, just in time for this hankering for a good meal, Smithfield’s 6th Annual Restaurant week is coming up and ready to oblige! The best part about Restaurant Week is that you are hopefully enticed to travel to an establishment that you may not have been to before! If you are in the mood for something new, or to just patronize one of your favorite spots, Friday, February 1st through Saturday, February 9th is a great week to hang out in Isle of Wight County!
That being said, let’s talk about where you are riding The Salty Southern Route to during this delicious week! Also, what is pretty awesome, is that some of these eating establishments you may not even have thought would be on the list for a restaurant week! For instance, have you been to Cure Coffeehouse in Downtown Smithfield yet?! Or, have you had breakfast at the Cockeyed Roaster off of Route 10, or even The Gatling Point Yacht Club for lunch or dinner? And these places are just the tip of the ice burg! All in all, Smithfield’s Restaurant week has 17 participating restaurants/businesses, both inside and outside of the Historic District! These places include, but are not limited to, The Smithfield Inn, The Smithfield Station, Wharf Hill Brewing Company, The Taste of Smithfield, the newly renovated Tokyo & Thai, Q-Daddy’s and Bubba-N-Frank’s BBQ, Captain Chuck-A-Mucks and Darden’s Country Store! These places are featuring a specially priced lunch and dinner option, or options, that features something unique about their menu!
So, what are you doing the first week of February?! Hopefully you will be taking a trip on The Salty Southern Route to Isle of Wight County, Virginia! The food in this charming “Ham Town” is sure to delight!
Check out this link for a full list of participating business and links to their specialty menu for the week!
Alright, let’s talk “salty” this week! So, peanuts of course! A pretty awesome place on The Salty Southern Route is Newsoms Peanut Shop! The Bunn Family in Southampton, Virginia knows the peanut, having a long farming heritage in the county!
Since opening their shop in 1980, Newsoms wants you to know that they make the freshest peanuts, only making their product per order! When you ride The Salty Southern Route to Newsoms Peanut Shop the comfortable feeling of family and country charm takes over the senses! That feeling is only amplified when you walk into the shop and are welcomed by the friendly greetings of family members that have worked their land and product for many years. The walls of the shop is filled with mementos and memories that truly makes you feel that the word family and peanut go together! Blair Bunn, Newsom’s owner, tells the story of his family’s long history in farming over the years on their website. His family lives on part of Turtle Creek Farm, the family farm, where they also raise row crops and cattle. The story of the Newsom Peanut started in his mom’s kitchen where she used to cook famous home-cooked and country packed peanuts! The first summer they would load their truck up with sweet corn, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes and Mom would bring along those delicious peanuts! All these years later, The Newsom Peanut is distributed to people throughout the U.S. and abroad!
Which leads us to, most importantly, the mouth-watering peanuts! Product categories include Home Cooked Virginia Peanuts, Homemade Brittle and Candies, Pecans, Raw Virginia Peanuts, Seasonal Samples, Roasted In-Shell-Virginia Peanuts and The Chocolate Factory! Newsoms products are found and can be purchased for sale in many grocery and specialty shops throughout Virginia! They work with many groups, such as The Boy and Girl Scouts and 4-H, for fundraising and even offer custom or private labeling!
Check them out on Facebook and their website for more information!
Talk next week! Have fun on riding The Route!
This time of year when it’s cold and your outside activities are limited heading out to a new restaurant should be on your list of things to do! One of the restaurants that should be on that list is Wharf Hill Brewing Company! Not only does this place, located on Main Street in Downtown Smithfield, have delicious food, including daily specials, but it is a Brew Pub! As a microbrewery Wharf Hill not only has a full bar and long list of local craft suds, but also features a number of in-house made beers like the famous Isle of Wheat Hefeweizen and the Holy Braille Brown Ale.
When you walk in the main entrance of Wharf Hill Brewery you are met with friendly faces, jovial laughter, a warm welcome by the host or hostess and the overall eclectic and inviting nature of a building that has been around for over 100 years! That’s right, not only is this an awesome pub with delicious food, but it is also filled with history! The building, or buildings, that Wharf Hill occupies was a number of businesses over the years, as they were all part of the town’s African American Business District. These businesses consisted of a barber shop, the Elks Lodge and a funeral parlor. When this restaurant was being built, the owner took pain staking efforts to incorporate as many of the leftover elements from these buildings back into what you see today! And, if he couldn’t find supplies from those buildings he used pieces and structural elements from historical buildings found throughout the town and county!
So what about the food?! Wharf Hill Brewery offers many choices for lunch and dinner, opening every day at 11:30am, switching over to their dinner menu at 4pm. Since we are talking about riding The Salty Southern Route, a must try is their smoked, dry-rub BBQ! And since we are talking about pork, you have to order the Non-Won-Tons! What’s a Non-Won-Ton?! They are three BBQ and homemade coleslaw stuffed egg rolls that are deep fried to perfection and served with the most delicious tangy BBQ sauce! By the way, this is just where the deliciousness starts! With the recent release of a new menu, Wharf now offers a few new items like Dave’s (one of the owners) homemade meatballs for pasta and a devour worthy sub, a new sampler platter that features a little bit of all the awesome apps, Joe’s (one of the chef’s) special BBQ Mac N Cheese and the yummy WHACHOS (Nachos, lol)!
So, are you hungry yet?! Travel down the hill on Main Street in Smithfield “Ham Town,” Virginia and visit Wharf Hill Brewing Company, the perfect place to warm up with a full belly and some local beers on one of these winter days!
Visit the links below for more information about Wharf Hill’s beers, food, the really cool story of how the three current owners were former employees and more insight into the history of the buildings!
Nothing says "Salty and Southern" quite like the peanut and Suffolk, Virginia has been a hub for the production of this delicious legume for years! It all started with Amedeo Obici,, an immigrant from Italy who's story exemplifies the American dream of "rags to riches."
Obici arrived in America as a boy unable to speak English and worked his first job in a cigar factory while going to night school. He then worked a fruit stand that also happened to roast peanuts. It was this first affiliation with the peanut that inspired Amedeo to eventually take large strides in its production modernization!
While this dream started in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, Obici moved his processing operation to Suffolk, Virginia in 1913. This region of Virginia was already leading the way in the farming of the peanut, therefore it seemed natural to bring production closer.
Since this move Mr. Peanut and Planters Peanuts have had a big hand in shaping The City of Suffolk. You can see statues of the lovable character throughout Suffolk and, most certainly, he makes an appearance in front of what was Amedeo Obici's home! (picture above)
This home is the Obici House and sits on the 263 acre Bay Point Farm overlooking the Nansemond River! The mansion is an irregularly planned Italian Renaissance-style house that has been decorated with Italian art, has classical details that include flute columns, brackets and huge windows for gazing at the water. This beautiful abode was Obici's home until his death in 1947 and these days it is a "Nationally Registered Historic Place." It has been opened to the public for a wedding/event venue, the grounds are now a lovely golf course and The Obici House serves dinner on Thursday nights to whomever would like to attend!
From the story that surrounds Planters Peanuts and Amedeo Obici to the impressive house and property that was left behind, this story is worth delving into and The Obici House is definitely worth the visit! Stop by on Thursdays for a delicious dinner or contact them to set up your next event!
Visit these links for more history on The Obici Story, as well as more information about The House and upcoming events!
When is the last time you have traveled to downtown Franklin?! Situated in the lovely and historic Southampton County, Franklin is filled with all the charms of a Southern City. This downtown features edgy industrial buildings and the tales of its once bustling railroad station, the pristine Blackwater River, beautifully large and ornate homes that you know have been passed down through many generations of local families and, of course, a main street filled with locally owned and operated shops and restaurants!
Whatever charming aspect of this community attracts you, while visiting, you must have something local and delicious to eat! As usual, The Salty Southern Route knows just the place! Situated on Main Street, right in the middle of town, is Fred’s! This restaurant and watering hole has been a Franklin/Southampton staple since 1945 when Fred came down to help his uncle run his bakery. Only five years later Fred took over the business and turned it into The Franklin Arcade, a convenience store that sold beer and sandwiches at the bar!
Over the years the business has been remodeled into a cafeteria style lunch restaurant, it has featured a pool room and expanded its main dining room and kitchen. Fred’s has even continued to serve the community after a fire in 1984 and the infamous Hurricane Floyd that flooded downtown Franklin in 1999.
Now a days Fred’s has kept all the charm and sense of community of its past and features a large dining room, full bar, comfy booths, a full scale menu featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner and even an all you can eat breakfast buffet and fish fry on the weekends!
Need we say more? Put traveling to Franklin/Southampton County on your list of fun things to do this winter and while you are there be sure to dine at Fred’s!
P.S. Since you are traveling on The Salty Southern Route, your pork and peanut thematic driving trail, be sure to try The Eggs Frederick, a split biscuit topped with country ham over medium eggs and/or the VA Ham Steak for dinner!
107 South Main Street Franklin, Va 23851
Check out these links to their website and Facebook for hours and more information!
Hey! Be sure to check out the bar top when you stop in! When the restaurant re-opened in 2000 after the flood, the original Fred's sign was made into the bar top and customers were allowed to autograph it! Pretty cool, huh?! (Featured in the picture below)
Are you looking for some simply southern and delicious cuisine? If so ride The Salty Southern Route to Suffolk and stop by Holland's! Starting with the growing and sale of their own produce in the Old City Market downtown, this family business has been serving fresh and tasty food for over 40 years.
Convenietly located on the corner of East Washington and Commerce Street in Suffolk’s downtown, this newly renovated corner shop is the perfect mixture of modern and warm charm. As you walk through the door you are greeted with an inviting host/hostess and drawn into a space that includes a number of welcoming tables and small bar where you can order food for dining in or whet your palette while chatting it up with good friends. You may also catch the sweet scent of country hams being cooked on site in their ham room by Mary Lou, who has been cooking up deliciousness at Holland's since their beginnings!
While Holland's is very different from the produce stand of 40 years ago, it has kept an endearing feeling of community that so many businesses are missing these days! And they have only added to their services over the years! Holland's services now include in-store dining, off premise full-scale catering, and a long list of classic country to-go items prepared fresh from scratch every day.
So stop by Holland's and grab yourself a mouthwatering pork chop or BBQ platter, a ham or catfish sandwich and a homemade cake or pie! And these items are just the tip of the iceberg! They even sell breakfast!
Open Monday through Saturday from 8am until 4pm.
Closed on Sundays.
Check out these links to view Holland's hours and full dine-in and catering menus!
As you travel along The Salty Southern Route through Surry you are sure to come across Edwards Ham Shop! Situated off of Rolfe Highway, just outside of Surry's downtown, this shop has been providing locals and visitors alike with high quality ham products since it's opening in the 1980s! But, this Virginia staple didn't just start with the shop! When you purchase an Edwards Ham or ham product, you can rest assure that you are purchasing from the experts! Since Sam Wallace Edwards Sr. started selling ham sandwiches on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry in 1925, the name Edwards and ham has gone hand in hand.
Edwards built his first smokehouse in 1926, after the success of those first sandwich sales, and as his family continued to grow so did the business. Over the years, the family business would add additional smokehouses, develop smoked bacon and sausage, as well as work on perfecting the pork curing process. The Edwards smokehouse products has expanded from their first and very successful Wigwam Ham to include Surryano ham and most recently adding dry cured lamb!
These days you can order Edwards products from anywhere, but you can't beat the feeling of charm and tradition as you peruse the shelves of Edwards hometown ham shop in Surry. Here you will find friendly service, an array of sandwiches and snacks that can be purchased, a whole spread of their ham products for sale, as well as peanuts, jams and locally themed gifts.
And what better time of year than now, the holiday season, to treat you and your family to one of the best hams around! Stop by Edwards Ham Shop and discover part of what makes Surry and its surrounding counties special!
Check out Edwards website and Facebook to learn more about their history and for more product information!
The Salty Southern Route
is a joint tourism effort of the towns of Franklin and Smithfield, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex Counties, and the city of Suffolk, Virginia.