There’s a new appreciation for well known fruit and Virginia is leading the way. Heirloom apples, coveted for their nuanced flavor, are in demand for making hard cider. And if a recent tasting is any indication, that demand will surely grow.
Megan McGuire: So this one is called, “Serious Cider.” We compare it to like a brewed Champagne.
Megan McGuire is pouring 5 different varieties of hard apple cider made here at Foggy Ridge Cidery .
There are now more than 240 farmers' markets statewide, an increase of about 180% since 2006.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says if every household in the state spends ten-bucks a week on locally-grown food, it would mean a $1.6 billion dollar investment back into the economy.
You can find a list of farmers' markets across Virginia here.
Nestled in almost every corner of Virginia is a small operation transforming something that's just edible--into a delectably palatable creation.
Some can only be found in mom and pop stores, farmer's markets, and, occasionally, the larger grocer or restaurant chains. But every two years, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services showcases these businesses and their products at the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo.
If Governor McAuliffe agrees, small farmers could operate agritourism activities under less restrictive regulations … thanks to legislation that has now passed both houses of the General Assembly. The new law would prohibit local governments from requiring special-use permits and imposing stringent noise regulations unless there’s a substantial impact on public welfare or safety.
While small farmers embraced this bill, they did not get everything they wanted during the legislative session.
It’s been difficult to attract business and provide more opportunities to some of the more economically distressed parts of Virginia, but there’s hope for those areas through the national tobacco settlement. Although the money is being applied to areas within the Commonwealth’s tobacco region, HOW it's being applied will directly impact surrounding areas and indirectly boost the state's economy.