The folks in Smithfield have always known how amazing Darden’s ham sandwich is. Now everyone knows!
Darden’s Country Store was selected as #4 in the “Best Tasting Country Ham Sandwich in Virginia” competition in the USA TODAY’s Reader’s Choice Contest. The nominees were carefully selected by an expert panel and then voted into the winning spots by the public.
The Darden family has been curing hams, and making pork sausage and whole hog North Carolina style barbecue since the early 1950’s. For the many visitors to town eager to learn more about country hams, Dee Dee and Tommy Darden are graciously willing to offer a tour of their smokehouse and explain the smoking process (if they call ahead and these busy folks are available.)
The Dardens and their delicious fare has received a great deal of press already. They’ve been featured on The Food Network with Tyler Florence (Tyler’s Ultimate, Episode TU1B07), Southern Living, Virginia Living, Hampton Roads Magazine, and the New York Times!
If you haven’t been by yet, Darden’s Country Store offers the standard staples: a few groceries, soft drinks, homemade sausage, ham, cheese, peanuts, local honey and of course – their now world famous ham sandwich! Darden’s is located at the corner of Bowling Green and Carroll Bridge Roads, just about 7 miles from downtown Smithfield.
Dardens is also a working farm of about 600 acres, growing peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and pumpkins. They raise cattle, goats, donkeys and sheep. Every year, hundreds of children, parents and teachers, visit this working farm to pick crops and learn how they are used in everyday products. The kids get to interact with farm animals, explore the corn maze, pick cotton, and choose a pumpkin from the patch.
This dedication to educating the next generation about the source of their food is a passion of the Darden family. In fact in 2012 Dee Dee was named the Southeast Farm Mom of the Year by Monsanto (video below). The Dardens were also selected to represent the country ham tradition at the 8th Annual Folk Festival in Richmond in 2012. And Dee Dee is the star of our very own “Ham” video (below).
We’re certainly proud of the Darden’s – not just for their delicious ham sandwich, but for all they do to represent the agricultural heritage of Smithfield & Isle of Wight County. Congratulations to the Darden family on this well-deserved recognition! Stop by today for a taste…
Here’s a list of all the winners:
1. Turner Ham House & Fulks Run Grocery
2. Homemades by Suzanne
3. Padow’s Hams & Deli
4. Darden’s Country Store
5. Old Chickahominy House
6. Layne’s Country Store
7. Yoder’s Country Market
8. The Apple House
9. Edwards Virginia Ham Shoppe – Congrats to our friends in Surry!
10. Gayle’s Market
Darden’s Country Store and Smokehouse
16249 Bowling Green Road, Smithfield
7:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday.
Open on Sundays in October.
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