Darden's Country Store and Smokehouse, nestled in the charming town of Smithfield, Virginia, is a treasured culinary gem that embodies the essence of Southern hospitality and traditional flavors. With its rich history dating back to the early 1950s, this quaint establishment has become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike.
Darden’s Country Store, Smithfield is a classic country store and smokehouse has been in operation since 1952 and is still run as a family business. Visitors and shoppers can peruse hanging hams, side meat, country cheese, barbeque, and peanuts. Feel free to browse, but shopping is encouraged!
Stepping into Darden's Country Store is like taking a step back in time. The rustic exterior exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere, hinting at the delights that await inside. Upon entering, the aroma of smoked meats and savory spices envelops visitors, tantalizing their taste buds and igniting their curiosity.
Darden's is also a working farm, at times growing corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and pumpkins, Darden’s has been curing hams and making sausage and barbecue since the early 1950s. A small grocery store on the farm sells homemade sausage, ham, cheese, peanuts, and local honey. The family also enjoys telling the "farm life" story to hundreds of children (and adults!) who visit each year. In the Fall, Darden's becomes a great family treat with a Hayland, Corn Bins, Corn Maze, Petting Zoo and more!
A Darden Virginia Ham is unique because at the heart of Darden's culinary prowess lies their time-honored smoking techniques. Using carefully selected, locally sourced meats, they masterfully smoke and slow-cook country hams to perfection.
As guests explore the store, they are greeted with an array of handcrafted local products and quaint country wares, adding to the authentic and nostalgic charm. Visitors can also pick up homemade preserves, artisanal sauces, and other unique goods, and of course, slices of Darden’s Country Ham (or one of their whole Darden’s Hams!) making it an ideal spot to bring a piece of Smithfield's heritage home.
The heartwarming hospitality at Darden's “Ham Shop” is just as delightful as their savory treats. The staff, who often feel like an extended family, are always ready to share stories and recommendations, ensuring each visitor leaves with a smile and a belly full of satisfaction.
With its roots deeply entwined with the history and culture of Smithfield, Darden's Country Ham Store and Smokehouse continues to serve as a beacon of traditional Southern cuisine and warm hospitality. A visit to this quaint gem is not just a meal; it is a journey through time, immersing oneself in the heart and soul of this charming Virginia town.
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