Charleston, W.Va. – Summer’s here; the living is easy and the food is fresh, tasty and abundant. If you enjoy traditional Appalachian fare we’ve got it; if you like to spice up your life with chili and finger-licking barbecue, we’ve got that too. If fresh-from-the-garden produce makes your mouth water you’ll find farms throughout the state that let you pick your own. And don’t forget the wine – there’s no better way to top off a meal than with a vintage made right here in West Virginia. You’ll find so many good food choices in the Mountain State this summer, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is keeping your waistline from expanding. For those looking for the best places to dine throughout the state, an upcoming brochure of 101 best eateries will be available in July.
Food and wine events
Fiddles & Vittles – Dinner Train Package: June 20, 27; July 4, 11, 18, 25; Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and Sept 5, 19; Cass Railroad State Park, Cass
Enjoy this unique experience, including train ride to Whittaker, Camp Whittaker tour, full dinner and live local music show. Optional shop tour or Cass showcase presentation also available. Tickets are $34 for adults and children 5-12, and $14 for children under 5. Trains depart at 5 p.m. For more information, call 1-800-225-9582 or 304-456-4300, or visit www.cassrailroad.com.
Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off: July 10-12, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Snowshoe
Snowshoe Mountain will be blazing as they turn up the heat for the 18th annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off. Categories include salsa, red chili and chili verde. Live entertainment, nightly parties, West Virginia craft vendors and games round out this weekend of fun. Admission is a $5 donation to the Challenged Athletes of West Virginia. For more information, visit www.snowshoemtn.com/todo/events.
Ribfest: July 18, Mylan Park, Morgantown
Nothing beats having fun while helping a good cause. All proceeds of this rib cook-off benefit Scott’s Run Settlement House, a local nonprofit social service agency that provides emergency food assistance, childcare and senior programs. There will be live music, children’s activities, craft vendors and a silent auction. Admission is $5. For more information, visit www.wvribfest.com.
WV Hot Dog Festival: July 25, Pullman Square, Huntington
You definitely don’t want to miss the 5th annual WV Hot Dog Festival. Enjoy a full day of hot dogs, live entertainment, rides, family and family dog events and contests. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, visit www.wvhotdogfestival.com.
West Virginia Blackberry Festival: July 30 – Aug. 1, Clarksburg City Park, Clarksburg
The West Virginia Blackberry Festival celebrates its 13th year with a three-day extravaganza of free musical entertainment, novelties, carnival, car parade, pet parade and, of course, blackberries. The festival goes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with fireworks to be featured on Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. For more information, call 304-622-3206 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ribfest: July 30 – Aug. 2, Kanawha Boulevard, Charleston
Enjoy world-class, award-winning barbecued ribs and chicken at the largest barbecue rib festival in West Virginia. Live entertainment, carnival rides and good times for the whole family. Admission is $4 for adults, $3.50 for seniors, and $2 for youth 6-12. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.charlestonwvribfest.com.
Food, Wine & Jazz Festival: Aug. 7-9, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Snowshoe
This event will encompass a weekend of food, wine and jazz. The fun starts on Friday evening with a champagne and dessert reception. On Saturday, enjoy the grand tasting, which includes more than 140 offerings of wine for sampling, as well as great swing/jazz bands, West Virginia art crafters and scrumptious food from Snowshoe’s chefs. Sunday wraps up with a palate-pleasing brunch. For information about admission charges, call 304-572-5922 or visit www.snowshoemtn.com.
6th annual BBQ Cook-Off: Aug. 8, Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Davis
Bring your grill and compete to win “Best BBQ in the Valley.” The competition is open to gas and charcoal grillers, and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. Enjoy live entertainment and authentic West Virginia crafters and vendors. For more information, contact David Cooper 304-866-4121, ext. 2677, or visit www.canaanresort.com.
14th annual Huntington Rib & Music Fest: Aug. 13-16, Harris Riverfront Park, Huntington
Don’t miss this annual event that features great music and rib cook-off competitions. For more information, call 304-696-5970.
Grape Stomping Wine Festival: Sept. 19-20, Kirkwood Winery, Summersville
This annual celebration features the music, crafts, dance, food and wine of the local area. A family oriented festival with face painting and crafts for the children, this event also includes the fun-for-all grape stomping contests. Tickets for adults are $6; children get in free. Watch for coupons in the local newspaper. For more information, visit www.kirkwood-wine.com.
Fresh produce is not only tasty, but also part of a healthy lifestyle. Buying locally-grown fruits and vegetables helps boost West Virginia’s economy, cuts down on transportation costs and allows you to have the freshest produce with that “just-picked” flavor. Farms throughout the state feature “pick-your-own” programs. The following is a complete list of pick-your-own farms. For more information, visit www.wvagriculture.org.
Breezy Heights Farm – Blackberries, tomatoes, green beans, peppers and sweet corn (seasonal),Union, W.Va., 304-772-5175
The Briar Patch – Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and honey (seasonal), Mt. Hope, W.Va., 304-877-2448
Central West Virginia Nursery – Strawberries (seasonal), Buckhannon, W.Va., 304-472-6964
Church View Farm – Numerous varieties ofred and golden raspberries, blackberries, green beans, tomatoes, onions, sweet and hot peppers, sunflowers and other decorative flowers, Romney, W.Va., 304-822-3878, Web site: www.churchviewfarm.info
Fruity Farm – Strawberries, Murraysville, W.Va., 304-273-5001, Web site: www.wvcrittersitters.com/fruityfarm.htm
McConnell Berry Farm – Blueberries, summer apples (seasonal), Morgantown, W.Va.,
304-291-0015, Web site: www.mcconnellberryfarm.biz
Morgan Orchard – Apples (seasonal), Sinks Grove W.Va., 304-772-3638, Web site: www.morganorchard.com
Mountain Top Farm – Strawberries, black raspberries, blackberries and blueberries (seasonal), Renick, W.Va., 304-497-2081
Nahwya Farms – Blackberries (seasonal), Hinton, W.Va., 304-466-6873
Owl Creek Farm – Strawberries (seasonal), Morgantown, W.Va., 304-291-0409, Web site: www.owlcreekfarm.net
Orr’s Farm Market – Strawberries, raspberries, apples and peaches, Martinsburg, W.Va., 304-263-1168, Web site: www.orrsfarmmarket.com
Ridgefield Farm & Orchard – Pick-your-own Christmas trees,apple orchard and pumpkin patch,also farm store and farm activities(hayrides, pumpkin festivals,corn mazes and field trips), Harpers Ferry, W.Va., 304-876-3647, Web site: www.ridgefieldfarm.com
S.A.N.T.E.E. Farms & Gardens – 23 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers, Wheeling, W.Va., 304-243-5990, Web site: www.farmeducation.org
Spangler’s Greenhouses & Organic Farm – Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and pick-your-own operation, Ballard, W.Va., 304-753-5722
West Virginia Fruit & Berry – Blueberries and blackberries (seasonal), Bridgeport, W.Va., 1-888-982-3779, Web site: www.wvfruitandberry.com
White Oak Farm –Blueberries and red raspberries (seasonal), Renick, W.Va., 304-497-3577, Web site: www.whiteoakberryfarm