Monday, March 18, 2019

Choosing an Easter Ham

Steamship Ham Roast
Sunday, April 21 is Easter Sunday. Looking for an Easter ham? When you want to make an elegant, impressive presentation, our Steamship Ham is the one to choose. Slow smoked and naturally juicy, its uniquely exposed "frenched" shank makes carving a breeze. Heat and serve. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove all packaging materials (including foil bone cover) and place ham on its side, fat side up, in a 2" deep roasting pan. Pour 1 cup water onto bottom of pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 325°F for approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. Remove ham from oven and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes before serving. 
GLAZING: This ham is not glazed. To add your personal glaze choice, please follow the recipe or manufacturer's instructions for glaze preparation.
CARVING: For a restaurant-style carving station presentation – position ham firmly with bone and shank pointing upward. Carve down the sides, similar to a steamship beef roast. For a traditional ham presentation - insert fork into ham to hold firmly. Cut several slices off the side of ham closest to bone. Cut successive slices along top of ham parallel to the cut surface. Remove slices by cutting along the bone across the length of the ham. Be sure to keep the bone and remaining meat for seasoning. This ham roast makes a beautiful carving station presentation, an impressive center-of-the-table entrée or focus of a buffet. If desired, replace foil bone cover before presentation. Use the bone and leftovers to season soups, beans, or vegetables.
Hardwood Smoked Ham
Another great choice for Easter ham is our whole Hardwood Smoked Ham. This is the old-fashioned baked ham you may remember from Grandma's family gatherings. She probably sprinkled it with some brown sugar and placed a few pineapple slices on top. Today's cooks often slather it in their favorite fruit preserves or season with savory spices. Either way, an impressive center-of-the-table entrée or focus of a buffet. Add your favorite glaze for an old-fashioned Sunday dinner ham. Use the leftovers for soups, omelets, or sandwiches. Our smoked hams are fully cooked.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove all packaging materials and place ham on its side, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 325°F for approximately 15-20 minutes per pound, until heated through. Do not overcook! Remove ham from oven and let stand, covered, for 20 minutes before serving.
GLAZING: This ham is not glazed. To add your personal glaze choice, please follow the recipe or manufacturer's instructions for glaze preparation.
CARVING: Insert fork into ham to hold firmly. Cut several slices off the side of ham closest to bone. Cut successive slices along top of ham parallel to the cut surface. Remove slices by cutting along the bone across the length of the ham. Be sure to keep the bone and remaining meat for seasoning. Perfect for sandwiches, biscuits, in salads or omelets. Use the bone and leftovers to season soups, beans, or vegetables. Delicious for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

A spiral ham from Smithfield is a good choice for Easter or any other time of the year. Choose from our spiral cut honey cured or brown sugar cured or glazed or non-glazed for a spiral ham that suits you best. And for your convenience, each generously portioned ham is fully-cooked and spiral cut for effortless entertaining and serving. A spiral ham from Smithfield is a good choice for Easter or any other time of the year. An impressive center-of-the-table entrée or focus of a buffet.
Spiral Sliced Smoked Ham
Please note - we have changed our heating instructions to enhance the cooked product quality (moister, less dry). Preheat oven to 275°F. Remove all packaging materials and place ham in a shallow roasting pan. Whole hams should be cooked fat-side up. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 275°F for approximately 15 minutes per pound, until heated through. Do not overcook! Remove ham from oven and let stand 20 to 30 minutes before serving. 
GLAZING (with enclosed packet): This ham is pre-glazed, but we have enclosed an extra packet of glaze mix for additional coverage and flavor. To use the enclosed packet for additional glaze, remove ham from oven and uncover. Increase oven temperature to 425°F. In small sauce pan, combine 2 tablespoons warm water with glaze mix. Heat on medium/high heat until glaze mix comes to a boil and remove from heat. If desired, use knife to spread glaze between slices. Return ham to oven, uncovered, and bake for 10 minutes.
CARVING: Place the whole ham (flat side down) on a cutting board with the shank (narrow end) to your right. Cut horizontally along the center bone from left to right. This will free the top slices from the bone. To free remaining slices from the sides of the ham, cut along both sides of the center bone. Be sure to keep the bone and remaining meat for seasoning.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The 2019 Maple Season Has Begun

The recent February thaw started the maple sap flowing in the maple trees in Monterey, Virginia. On Feb.4 it warmed up enough for Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard to post a picture on their Facebook page of a tube with the maple sap flowing through it.

Monterey, in Highland County, is located beyond the Shenandoah Valley in an area that boasts the highest mean elevation of anywhere east of the Mississippi.
An enchanting land of high mountains, pristine valleys, and green woodlands awaits you in Virginia’s very own Little Switzerland. The land is marked by high and narrow ridges, reminiscent of a landscape you’d discover in Switzerland.

In March, the Highland Maple Festival, the second largest Maple Festival in the United States, will celebrate the southernmost commercial Maple Syrup producing region in the nation. The Highland Maple Festival features craft shows, dances, sugar camp tours, music and dance performances, and, of course, food, particularly pancakes with maple syrup and maple doughnuts.
Fabulous Fruit Gift Basket

Visit the Highland Maple Festival on March 9 & 10 and March 16 & 17 to learn about their unique maple industry. Designated a "Local Legacy” by The Library of Congress in 199, this festival of 61 years, attracts upwards of 50,000 visitors from across the states. Sugar camp tours provide a unique and educational glimpse of a rapidly vanishing way of rural American life.

We are proud to include Maple Syrup from Monterey in many of our Virginia gourmet food gift baskets.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Peanut Butter Football Cookie

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here… Feb. 3, 2019. Lots to look forward to… the game, the commercials, the party, the food. Here’s a great idea for dessert: A giant football cookie isn't only festive; the rich peanut butter flavor is sure to score big with the fans at your party. Add thick frosting stripes on the ends for a college ball, but leave them off for an official look.


1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch fine salt


For the cookie: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Pulse the oats in a food processor or mini chopper until finely ground. Whisk the ground oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Mix the butter and 1 cup of the granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, using either a hand mixer with a large bowl or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture until the dough is well combined.
Scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, flatten and form the dough into a football shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar over the surface. Bake until the cookie is light golden brown and set, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely, about 15 minutes.
For the frosting: Beat the butter until creamy on medium speed in a medium bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Beat until thick and creamy. Spoon the frosting into a quart-size zippered bag. Snip a small piece from the corner and pipe to create football laces or any other desired decorations.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Gingerbread House Day is Dec.12


Gingerbread House Day is observed annually on December 12. A favorite food of an Armenian monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD and taught French Christians to bake it. Gingerbread was often used in religious ceremonies and was baked to be sturdy as it was often molded into images of saints. We can thank the Brothers’ Grimm for the idea of a gingerbread house through their tale of Hansel and Gretel. It didn’t take long for the German gingerbread guilds to pick up the idea and put it to a more festive use making snowy cottages made from the spicy-sweet treat. It is believed gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century when returning crusaders brought back the custom of spicy bread from the Middle East. Ginger was not only tasty; it had properties that helped preserve bread

The Delicious and Colorful History of Gingerbread House Day

It is believed gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century when returning crusaders brought back the custom of spicy bread from the Middle East. Ginger was not only tasty; it had properties that helped preserve bread. According to a French legend, gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 A.D. by the Armenian monk and later saint, Gregory of Nicopolis (Gregory Makar). Gingerbread figurines date back to the 15th century and baking human-shaped biscuits was practiced in the 16th century. The tradition of making decorated gingerbread houses started in Germany in the early 1800's. According to certain researchers, the first gingerbread houses were the result of the well-known Grimm's fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In modern times the tradition has continued in certain places in Europe. In Germany, the Christmas ma)rkets still sell decorated gingerbread before Christmas. (Lebkuchenhous or Pfefferkuchenhaus are the German terms for a gingerbread house.

How to Celebrate Gingerbread House Day

Get the family together, pick up the supplies necessary to make a gingerbread house.. Bake up some gingerbread and start building and decorating your very won gingerbread house.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Abraham Lincoln Proclaims Thanksgiving an Official Holiday During the Civil War

Thanksgiving usually brings up thoughts of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe celebrating their harvest and friendship together. That famous feast took place in 1621, but it would take more than 200 years for Thanksgiving to become an official holiday in the United States — and under very different circumstances.

In 1863, the nation was halfway through the Civil War. In July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg took place. That battle alone saw nearly 50,000 casualties. The country was torn apart and the bloody fighting was far from over. On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln would deliver the famous Gettysburg Address. One month earlier, however, Lincoln issued another profound and important proclamation.
At the urging of magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, President Lincoln issued a proclamation that would establish Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday, to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
In a time when there was so much strife, turmoil, loss, and division, what could have inspired Lincoln to establish a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise” for the nation? His words are profoundly moving and just as meaningful today as they were when first written.
Washington, D.C.October 3, 1863.
By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
It is no wonder that Abraham Lincoln is one of the most beloved Presidents of the United States in the country’s history, not only for his accomplishments but also for this perseverance and unwavering optimism through such hard times. When the nation was torn in two and war continued, Lincoln was able to speak of thanksgiving, harmony, peace, and union.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Apple Butter Gooey Butter Cake

When you’re looking for an easy make and take dessert for your next get together, look no further than this Apple Butter Gooey Butter Cake with a homemade yellow cake base and an apple butter cream cheese layer.
What is Gooey Butter Cake? It is a super-sweet, rich, St. Louis original treat! The gooey part of the name comes from the gooeyness between the cake and cream cheese layers, as if it’s slightly under baked. It’s more prominent if you serve the cake the same day you baked it while either still warm or at room temperature. If you do refrigerate any leftovers, let the cake sit 15-30 minutes at room temperature before eating. It may not be as gooey at this point, but it’s still a worthy dessert.
There are many versions of Gooey Butter Cake, this version is made with Graves Mountain Apple Butter made from their own apples.
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
¼ cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Graves Mountain Apple Butter
1 egg
¼ cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted  butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whipped Cream and ground cinnamon, for serving

1.    Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8x8 square pan.
2.    Make the cake layer: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the egg, melted butter, milk, and vanilla until moistened. Spread evenly in the pan (mixture will be slightly sticky).
3.    Make the filling: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and apple butter until smooth. Beat in the egg then beat in the melted butter and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl then beat in the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
4.    Spread the filling over the cake layer then bake 45-50 minutes or until the center is set (do not overbake as the center should be slightly gooey). Cool completely before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and dust with cinnamon. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. For best results, let cake sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Graves Mountain Lodge

Graves Mountain Lodge is a family-owned and operated rustic mountain retreat well known for its down home hospitality. The Graves family can be traced back to Jamestown. Captain Thomas Graves sailed the “Mary and Margaret” to Jamestown in 1608, He served as a representative in the Virginia Assembly at Jamestown in 1619 and later sat on the House of Burgesses in the colonial capital of Williamsburg. In 1630, Captain Graves was commissioned to build a fort at Old Point Comfort in Hampton.
Jimmy's family goes back to a son of Captain Graves, Francis, whom was born in Virginia. In 1852, Jimmy’s great-great grandfather, Paschal Graves opened an “ordinary” or inn along the Blue Ridge Turnpike on the land that is now part of the Shenandoah National Park. The Graves ordinary was a natural spotting point for travelers making the 70-mile journey between Gordonsville and New Market. Around 1857, the Graves family moved to a new location, which is where the farm is today.
Graves Mountain Apple Butter
A sturdy log house that was built in the late 1700’s, was added on to over the years, and is now the center of a three-story farm house known as Mountain View. This has been the home place for four generations of the Graves family. For over 100 years, travelers and vacationers enjoyed the hospitality of Mountain View. Inn keeping was in Jimmy’s blood, so he decided to carry on the family tradition of hospitality. He met Rachel Lynn Norman through 4-H showing cattle, and she shared Jimmy’s enthusiasm for the idea of a mountain resort, they married in the fall of 1964. In April of 1965, Graves Mountain Lodge was open to the public.

The Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival: Oct. 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21 would be the perfect time to visit, see the mountains in stunning color and experience the days of yesteryear watching apple butter being cooked in kettles over an open fire. In the meantime, you can enjoy their incredibly smooth, perfectly spiced Apple Butter and other small batch preserves from The Virginia Marketplace.