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Grounded by the Farm

Dec 25, 2019

This interview with Virginia farmer and ham expert, DeeDee Darden takes place in Smithfield, Virginia where the family raises cotton & corn and maintains the family smokehouse where they salt cure hams the way it was done decades ago. 

She explains the almost year-long process of salt curing and smoking hams to get the color and taste that is so desirable. As well as some of the history around Virginia and Smithfield hams in particular. 

DeeDee also shows us around the family's farm, telling us about the fall visits by many school groups in the area. Hosting school groups provides a chance for children to learn about cotton (even checking out a cotton picker, playing in corn boxes, seeing various animals, taking a hay ride and picking out the perfect pumpkin in the field! 

DeeDee mentioned an element of laughter with cotton underwear used to provide insight on where clothes come from. I have long blogged about cotton on a site called and had to explain how other cotton farmers soil their undies to demonstrate soil health You can read more here 


Watch a tour of the smokehouse, country store and family farm at 

Check out the Darden Country Store Facebook page at

Visit the Darden Country Store website at