Smithfield: Ham Capital of the World
The history of Isle of Wight County and Smithfield are nearly as old as the settlement of the nation itself. In 1608, explorer Capt. John Smith visited the area south of his Jamestown Colony in search of food and trade with the Warascoyak Indians. The region's first inhabitants took root in 1619, and the town of Smithfield was established in 1752. A culinary specialty of the area learned from the Native Americans was introduced to the rest of the world in the late 1700s--a salt-cured cut of pork later known as Smithfield Ham. The popularity of the ham grew, and everyone from royalty (Queen Victoria ordered hams frequently) to presidents have dined on the delicacy, making the quaint village of 6,500 "Ham Town U.S.A." Today, the only place to get a genuine Smithfield ham is from this Virginia town.
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