Darden's Country Store Front

Our History

 Virginia Living New York Times  Hampton Roads Magazine

Virginia Living

New York Times

Hampton Roads Magazine

    Curing hams, smoking 'em. The way we do it is the way Tommy's daddy did it - the way we salt 'em, the way we stack 'em. It takes a personal touch. We work individually with each ham 'til we get it right. This is a lost art. Now, you can't even find a pot big enough to cook a ham. Here in Virginia, ham is a traditional food. But everywhere else, because of the publicity around salt cured pork meat, it's now more of a delicacy. Not too many people do what we do anymore. Farm, run the little store and do hams. It's all part of our lifestyle, our history, and our future.

    We have 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. The Darden ham gets around!

Tyler Florence and Tommy Darden

Tyler Florence

Scarlet and Jersey Girl

Casper and Tippy

    We are a working farm, we farm about 600 acres, growing peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and pumpkins. We also have about 60 head of beef cattle, 9 goats, 1 donkey and 3 sheep. Farming and running the store is a way of life here. Independence, working with family and friends, getting involved in the community, preserving what we have for the future. When asked what the best part of this life is, Tommy says "All of it".

Seward and Vivian Darden Tommie n DD in Store Cart of Kids

Seward & Vivian Darden

Tommy &DeeDee inside Store

Grandkids & Cart

    We've been curing hams, and making pork sausage and whole hog North Carolina style Barbecue since the early 1950's. We have a small grocery store that has the basic necessities of life, plus sandwiches, soft drinks, homemade sausage, ham, cheese, peanuts and local honey. Tucked in the far end of the three aisle store, is a two part back room. That room is always warm. Not the warm of heaters or the warm of a hot summer, but the kind of warm that comes from shared times, good and bad. There is a little bench, two wooden wobbly stools, and one kitchen stool in the corner. The floor space is probably big enough for a man to flap his wings to make a snow angel. Young, old, and older have been coming here for generations. There's always something warm thing going on; local news being discussed, friends getting caught up. The hardest thing to do here... leave.

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