West Virginia's top foods range from fresh fruit and grains straight from orchards and fields, to all the delicious dishes made with local products. Traditional pioneer foods are included and, of course, the gastronomically incorrect "road kill." While not everyone chooses to partake in all these culinary delights, many are what make West Virginia stand out from its neighbors. For good, local flavor, a visit to one of the many annual festivals is certainly in order.
Apples and peaches abound in West Virginia; the Golden Delicious apple was developed in this state in 1890, and is the official state fruit. Nearly 5,000 acres of apple orchards and 1,000 acres of peach are cultivated each year in West Virginia. It stands to reason that one of the most popular foods and festivals revolve around apple butter, the Annual Apple Butter Festival, held in October in Berkley Springs, West Virginia.
West Virginia is also known for buckwheat, which is not actually a grain; buckwheat is a member of the rhubarb family, and so is technically a fruit. That doesn't stop West Virginia, though, from holding a number of festivals and fairs revolving around buckwheat pancakes. One of the better-known places to indulge in pancakes is the Annual Preston County Buckwheat Festival.
Wildlife proliferates in West Virginia, and hunting seasons are followed almost religiously. Venison and squirrel were, and still are, traditional fare. Fresh catfish, bass, and trout are also common dishes in both homes and restaurants.
Yes, folks, there is a food festival for this too: the West Virginia Road Kill Cook-off. Past entries have included such potentially stomach-turning vittles as "Smeared Hog with Groundhog Gravy," among others. It's all in fun, and probably even last year's winning taco recipe, complete with "armadillo, roadrunner and hitchhiker" was just, well, a joke...right?
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