Where can I find Smithfield Ham in Smithfield?
While tours of the ham processing plants are not available, we recommend that you visit and tour Darden's Country Store, shop at Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield Foods' flagship ham shop and discover the history of the ham industry at the Isle of Wight County Museum. And of course, dine at one of our local restaurants which feature Smithfield Ham products.
Local Restaurants featuring Smithfield Ham products:
Call ahead if you have your heart set on a ham dish, as menus can change often and seasonally.
Smithfield Gourmet Bakery & Cafe
218 Main Street in downtown Smithfield, 757.357.0045
Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor
208 Main Street in downtown Smithfield, 757.357.6166
Taste of Smithfield
217 Main Street in downtown Smithfield, 757.357.8950
The Smithfield Inn
112 Main Street in downtown Smithfield, 757.357.1752
Smithfield Station Waterfront Inn, Restaurant & Marina
415 South Church Street in downtown Smithfield, 757.357.7700
Wharf Hill Brewing Company
25 Main Street in downtown Smithfield, 757.357.7100
Learn more about the pork industry at these local attractions:
Hams hanging in the Smokehouse at Darden's Country Store Smokehouse
Darden's Country Store
16249 Bowling Green Road
This 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! Farm tours are offered for school children in the fall. Please call ahead for a smokehouse tour.
Isle of Wight County Museum
103 Main Street in downtown Smithfield
$2 Donation requested for adult visitors
Isle of Wight Museum houses the history of the world-famous Smithfield Ham, and the originators of the curing process. A replica smokehouse describes the process and a turn-of-the-century country store brings back feelings of nostalgia. Native American artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, and pre-historic fossils from the nearby James River are also on display.
Taste of Smithfield
Taste of Smithfield
217 Main Street in downtown Smithfield
A Southern table awaits you in the place where the Southern table began. The town of Smithfield boasts the corporate headquarters of Smithfield®, the world's largest producer of pork and pork products. As their flagship store, Taste of Smithfield offers fresh southern fare featuring Smithfield's signature products, Virginia wines and micro-brews, full-service restaurant, the "ham and peanut shop" and much more!
Smithfield Ham’s History
You’ve arrived in Smithfield, VA, a quaint small town on the Pagan River. You’re charmed by its stately homes, picturesque Main St with unique shops as well as eating establishments. You’ve heard of Smithfield because of the famous Smithfield Ham. One of the stops on Main Street can be the Isle of Wight County Museum where you can discover the history of this famous pork product.
Ham arrived with pigs during colonial times. These animals were excellent travelers because they would eat anything, and you could eat them!
Virginia hams became popular because the pigs were kept on islands in the James River which became known as “Hog Islands.”
Their diet included leaf mulch, acorns, and other plant material native to those sites. As a result, the meat had a distinctly sweeter flavor, in combination with the knowledge of smoking the meat brought with the early colonists, (perhaps gained from British sailors traveling in the Orient or most likely, learned from Native Americans who smoked meat to preserve it.)
In 1779, Mallory Todd, a native of the Bermuda shipped the first Virginia hams to his family. The popularity of this type of ham grew and even members of the English monarchy had standing orders!
The name “Genuine Smithfield Ham” was a result of a law passed in 1926, by the state legislature that you could only call your ham a “genuine Smithfield Ham” if it was processed in the town limits of Smithfield. That law is still on the books!
Where can I find hams on sale?
Now that you know a bit of the history, your next question will be – “Where can I buy a Smithfield Ham?” Below are listed a few of the establishments where you can purchase hams or just have a taste.
Taste of Smithfield - 217 Main St. 757-357-8950 - Smithfield Foods Flagship store. Here you will find choices of products as well as a catalogue to peruse for future purchases. Try their Smithfield Club sandwich for a taste of ham.
The Smithfield Inn – 112 Main Street – 757-357-1752 – Now this is where you will find the famous “ham biscuit.” You can enjoy them as a tasty appetizer and order some to take home to share.
Darden’s Country Store – 16249 Bowling Green Rd. – 757-357-6791 – This is where you will get up close and personal to learn how hams are truly created. Since 1952, the Darden family has cured the “country ham,” the way it has been done since colonial days. You purchase get a ham, slices of ham, a ham biscuit or a real ham sandwich! This is a treat that will take you back to the early days of rural Smithfield. When available, you can even get a tour of the smokehouse.
Smithfield Gourmet Bakery – 218 Main Street – 757-357-0045 – In addition to all the sweet treats, the Bakery offers ham on the menu for sandwiches as well as omelets and ham biscuits.
Smithfield Station – 415 South Church – 757-357-7700 – Dine on the very river (Pagan), that brought the ham to Smithfield! Their award-winning menu offers a selection that includes the famous ham.
Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor – 208 Main Street – 757-357-6166 – Sandwiches and treats abound. Yes, a variety of choices include ham!
Wharf Hill Brew Pub – 25 Main Street – 757-357-7100 – Yes, you guessed it. There is ham on this menu as well. Enjoy a fun, eclectic atmosphere is this restored 1906 building.
Now that you know that you can buy a Smithfield Ham and dine on the many choices listed here, we look forward to seeing you for many visits here in the “Ham Capital of the World.”
Which is the best Smithfield Ham?
That’s tough to say. You will have to be the judge!
Smithfield Country Ham
Everyone has their own memories of the perfect ham. And whether or not you are one of the lucky ones who has enjoyed a Southern Smithfield Country Ham, its distinctive flavor will take you back to a special place in time. Uncooked Country Ham has gone through this aging and drying process that gives it a unique flavor unlike any other pork product. Enjoy your slice of the south by serving Genuine Smithfield Country Ham at any occasion that calls for good old-fashioned family cooking! Be sure to slice these hams thinly as they are dry cured with salt - do not pour too much sauce on them or their unique flavor will be lost. There is a wide variety of hams available for every taste. From Smithfield ham steak, Smithfield boneless ham, Smithfield whole ham, and Smithfield diced ham to a Smithfield smoked picnic ham, a Smithfield hickory smoked ham, a Smithfield honey ham, and a hardwood smoked ham, we’ve got a ham for you. There’s even an “anytime” ham!
Smithfield Spiral Ham
An alternative to traditional baked or country ham, our pre-cooked ham spirals are a tasty alternative that is perfect for guests! These flavorful spiral hams are glazed with either honey or brown sugar, enhancing the rich flavor of each piece. The sweet, cured ham has a balance of honey and sugar that gives it a unique flavor that not only tastes good, but also looks great on your table. These hams are the perfect sweet and salty combination and they’re available in many styles: Smithfield sliced ham, Smithfield spiral cut ham, Smithfield hickory smoked spiral ham, and crunchy glazed ham, among others. Some brave souls have even tried cooking a spiral ham in a crockpot!
A premium spiral ham from Smithfield is a well-balanced alternative for your holidays or your feast in general. Indulge in a Smithfield spiral sliced ham!
Genuine Smithfield and Isle of Wight County: A Slice of Southern Charm