Home Farm-to-mug is focus of new Henricus harvest festival

Farm-to-mug is focus of new Henricus harvest festival


economic-forecast-headerVirginia-grown foods and beverages are the focus of a brand-new harvest festival at a living history museum on the bluffs of the James River.

The inaugural Hops in the Park at Henricus Historical Park on Nov. 14 will celebrate the farmers, makers and consumers of food and beverages that originated on Virginia lands and in Virginia waters.

“This is an opportunity to showcase Virginia farms and beer makers and celebrate the rich history of hops, which would have been planted at Henricus 400 years ago,” said Ben Humphrey, project manager for Chesterfield County Economic Development and one of the organizers of the event. He said members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative contacted him about having a harvest festival celebrating Virginia’s craft beers. He pitched Henricus Park as the perfect venue, and Henricus Executive Director Charles Grant agreed.

More than 15 craft breweries, meaderies and cideries will be offering their wares. To participate in the harvest festival, each business must have used at least one Virginia-harvested product in their beverages.

For example, Richmond’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will have its gingerbread stout, which is brewed with baby ginger from Casselmonte Farm in Powhatan County and wildflower honey from Bearer Farms in Goochland County. Three Notch’d Brewing of Charlottesville will offer its 10* Farmers Pale Ale. The asterisk is part of the name because as the number of hop farms have increased in Virginia, the brewery has used more locally grown hops. This year’s pale ale includes hops from 13 different Virginia growers.

Festival food will be inspired by what the early settlers would have eaten while living near the James River. There will be oysters, smoked turkey legs and other rustic fare.

Festivalgoers also can buy Virginia-grown food from a farmers’ market sponsored by Virginia Grown, a branding program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Virginia Grown is a festival sponsor, along with WestRock. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Henricus and the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative.

The co-op has more than 175 member farms in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Members’ hop yards range from one-third of an acre to more than 2 acres, and some grow as many as eight hop varieties.

“Even though Chesterfield is so populated, we still have lots of farms,” Humphrey said. “This gives us the chance to shine the craft beer spotlight on the county.”

In addition to food, drinks and live music, there will be speakers who will discuss the history of beer in Virginia, hops farming, operating a farm brewery and more. Those attending the festival also can talk with re-enactors about what it was like to live on the James River in the early 1600s.

The event will start at noon and run until 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Food and beverages will be sold a la carte. For more information, visit hopsinthepark.com.



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