Celebrating ‘Virginia’s Finest’ anniversary

Published 6:19 pm Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has proclaimed September as Virginia’s Finest Trademark Program’s 20th Anniversary Month. Launched in 1989 by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the program has helped identify and promote top quality Virginia-produced and processed agricultural products for two decades. It is one of the few state recognition programs that is quality-based. Potential participants must undergo review by a committee of their peers and VDACS personnel to earn the right to be called Virginia’s Finest.

The governor’s proclamation notes that the Virginia’s Finest Trademark Program has enhanced the economic opportunities and success of Virginia specialty food companies, processors and agricultural producers and has benefited them through increased sales and enhanced awareness of their products. In the two decades since the program began, the proclamation says, the number of participants in the Virginia’s finest program has grown to 1,000 food, beverage and agricultural companies, producers and processors representing 80 industries, ranging from fresh produce, meats and condiments to peanuts, wines and Christmas trees.

Todd P. Haymore, VDACS Commissioner, has these suggestions for ways every citizen can celebrate Virginia’s Finest Trademark Program’s 20th Anniversary Month:

Look in your grocery store or specialty shop for Virginia’s Finest products. Many stores identify them with signage or may even have a Virginia’s Finest section.

If your child’s college or university has a Virginia’s Finest section in the book store, order a gift basket of Virginia products for his or her first weeks at school. A basket of peanuts, chocolates, potato chips, fruit, specialty products, crackers, cheese and more will fill ravenous stomachs and provide energy for late-night studying.

Host a Virginia’s Finest party for several of your friends and neighbors. Plan a Virginia’s Finest menu from soup to dessert and ask your guests to come dressed as a famous Virginia personality. The Thomas Jefferson character can bring the wine.

Begin shopping now for unique Virginia holiday gifts. Go to www.vafinest.com to search among the various categories for gifts celebrating the fall harvest, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many companies will deliver gifts directly to your recipient. In addition to food and beverage products, you will find Virginia’s Finest soaps, lotions, wool products, flowers, potted plants and more.

When you visit the State Fair of Virginia at the Meadow Event Park September 24 through October 4, be sure to stop by the Virginia’s Finest pavilion in the Farm Bureau Building. Four different Virginia’s Finest vendors will exhibit each day of the Fair and will sell product on-site or take catalog orders.

When planting and updating your fall garden, look for Virginia’s Finest nursery products from plants to mulch. You can also find Virginia’s Finest firewood for those chilly fall evenings and Christmas trees for the holidays.