Sunday, July 22, 2018

Smithfield closing the last smokehouse that produces signature ham

The local charity run is the Hog Jog. The mascot for the wine festival is Pig-o-noir. October brings the Bacon & Bourbon Fest. The town museum promises the "World's Oldest Ham." The rescue truck at the volunteer fire department is named "Hamtown Heavy." You could say Smithfield is a little obsessed with pork products, but that would understate how deeply hogs are woven into the history and life of this town of about 8,300 on a hill over the Pagan River. So it has come as a shock that Smithfield Foods is shuttering the last smokehouse that produces the area's signature product, the genuine Smithfield ham. "Really? You're going to do this?" was the reaction of local historian and former Smithfield Foods executive Herb De Groft, 77. "Country meats are what brought this area to the fore in the 1800s. Word was, the Queen of England used to get one Smithfield ham a year." The salty, long-cured ham has been an area staple since the English colonists and their hogs arrived at nearby Jamestown

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