Celebrating Agriculture Week with: Virginia’s Finest

Virginia celebrates Agriculture Week March 17-23. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia has 44,800 farms that cover 8.1 million acres, or 32 percent of Virginia’s total land area. In the 1960s, one farmer supplied food for 25.8 people in the U.S. and abroad. Today, one farmer supplies food for 165 people in the U.S. and abroad. Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry by far, with nothing else coming a close second. The industry has an economic impact of $91 billion annually and provides more than 450,000 jobs in the commonwealth. Livestock dominates Virginia’s top commodities with broilers, cattle and calves, and turkeys ranking in the top five. Other key products include milk, soybeans, greenhouse and nursery products, corn for grain, hay and wheat. The state is a leader in produce production as well, with crops ranging from tomatoes to apples and grapes to potatoes.

Amanda Cunningham, Staff Writer


‘Granny Bill’s’ Ice Box Cookies

Courtesy of Bettina Ring, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry

1¼ cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour


Mix sugar and shortening, add eggs, baking powder and vanilla. Then add flour. Make into 3 rolls, then refrigerate, slice and bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.


Colonial Peanut Soup

Courtesy of Virginia-Carolinas Peanut Promotions

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ teaspoon salt, optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts


Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat; add onion and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add flour and mix until well blended. Stir in chicken broth and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain broth. Stir the peanut butter, salt and lemon juice into the broth until well mixed. Serve hot in cups. Garnish each cup with a teaspoon of chopped peanuts. Makes 6 servings.


Beef Filets with Ancient Grain & Kale Salad

Courtesy of Virginia Beef Industry Council

3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1⁄4 plus
1⁄8 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
2 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1-inch thick (about 6 ounces each)
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
1⁄2 cup pearlized farro
1 cup thinly sliced kale
1⁄4 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Combine 1 clove garlic and ¼ teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks. Combine beef broth, farro, remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until most broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in kale and cranberries. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and lemon juice. Season with salt, as desired. Meanwhile, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of steaks is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning once. Season steaks with salt. Serve with farro mixture.



We need recipes for these upcoming issues:

Smoothies, Garden-fresh vegetables and Cool summer dishes

Please submit your recipe by:

  • using the form here
  • email to [email protected].
  • mail to Commonwealth Kitchen,
    c/o Cooperative Living,
    P.O. Box 2340, Glen Allen, VA 23058-2340.

All published submissions will receive a $20 Walmart gift card.

Recipe Submission Form