Smithfield & Isle of Wight County Celebrate Their Rich Agricultural Tradition
In 1608, shortly after the Jamestown settlement was established, Captain John Smith crossed the James River and obtained 14 bushels of corn from the Warraskoyack Tribe, first residents of present-day Isle of Wight County. Established in 1634 as one of the original 8 shires of the Virginia Colony, the county remains largely a rural community with its quaint towns of Windsor and Smithfield. Agricultural products, like tobacco, cotton, peanuts, soy, corn and the famous Smithfield Ham have helped sustain the county's economy throughout its history.
Begin your visit in Smithfield at the Visitor Center, also home to the Arts Center @ 319. This unique facility offers tourist information, a gallery/gift shop and the opportunity to chat with resident artists.
Further down Main St. is the Isle of Wight County Museum, with an overview of the county's history, a country store, and the world's oldest ham. Visit the gift shop for souvenirs that reflect the agricultural nature of the area. Stroll down Main St., with its unique shops and art galleries, and stop by the Taste of Smithfield to pick up a little ham for the road.
Darden's Country Store is a classic country store, where visitors can tour the family's smokehouse and farm or work their way through a corn maze. Summer Wind Vineyards & Christmas Tree Farms offer tours, or you can visit the alpacas at Woodland Trail Farms.
In Windsor you'll find the Commonwealth Gin, a working cotton gin offering tours, and the Zuni Gourmet Peanuts store. Indika Farms is one of several Century Farms that have been in operation for at least 100 consecutive years. Many offer tours with advance notice.
The Olde Towne Curb Market, held each Saturday morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with specialty markets monthly throughout the year, is packed with plenty of locally grown produce, handmade goods, and live music.
Museum staff is available for programs with advance notice. Tours are offered seasonally.