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Friday Night Jams 06-14-13 "Blues, Brews & Bar-b-que"

The Halifax Events series kicked off spring with the 4th annual Earth Day Celebration in April.  The summer features our Friday Night Jam, "Blues, Brews and BBQ" on Friday, June 14th, featuring Virginia's own Steve Bassett and his blues band.  According to Columbia Records Producer, John Hammond, Sr., "Steve Bassett's musical style is a synthesis of America's root music; blues, r&b, gospel and rock & roll.  Not only does Steve have a true feeling for the blues, he is a master of the gospel idiom, and in this combination of talents he is just about unique in music.  He is a singer's singer and he communicates with his audience in a soulful front porch manner that crosses markets and generations and leaves his listener feeling like he has sung to them alone."

Steve Bassett has been called one of America's great artists.  His singing moves seamlessly from soft and classic to a soulful gospel/blues shout.  Born in Richmond, Virginia, his professional career began at the age of 13 and has carried him around the country as Hammond B3 player for Delbert McClinton, solosit of over 100 network jingles, songwriter, and recording artist of 20 albums of jazz, blues, soul, and originals recorded in New York, Muscle Shoals, and Nashville.

Steve Bassett has been one of Virginia's favorite singers for decades and is co-author of Virginia's theme song "Sweet Virginia Breeze".  Steve's band performed with Halifax's own Robyn Robbins for the immensely successful Fund Raiser for the Halifax War Memorial.  His most recent appearance in Halifax County was at the 2008 Virginia Cantaloupe Festival with Delbert McClinton.

The Hot Damn Band is Halifax County's very own Blues Band and will kick off the Friday Night Jam from 6pm until 7:30pm.  Steve Bassett Blues Band will perform 8pm until 11pm.

There will be some of Halifax County's finest BBQ vendors at the Friday Night Jam:  Eddie Tate 'Taterbugs Bar-B-Que, new to Halifax, Ollies from South boston will be featuring their awesome ribs, and Whitey Roark and Mark Dickerson knownas 'Blue Flame Chili Cooperative and BQ Benevolent Society'.  Whitey and Mark, certified KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) Judges, will be cooking onsite.  Smokin' Jake's will be offering free barbecue tastings.

Our beverage vendors will be Bright Meadows Vineyards and Blue Ridge Beverage.  Water and sodas will also be available.

Bring your lawn chairs, appetites, dancing shoes and join us in the Town of Halifax for a great night of Blues, Brews and BBQ!

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate and are available at the Halifax Town Office, Peddler's Market Exchange Store, Common Grounds, Halifax Tourism Visitor Center, Molasses Grill and Bistro 1888 for now.

The Grand Opening for the Town of Halifax Farmers Market is the next morning June 15th, from 8am till 12 noon.

The final event of the season is our fall festival, October Halifest, set for Saturday, October 26th, from 9am till 4pm.  Any interested vendors may contact Susi Robbins at 434.470.1602.

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon! Who doesn't like bacon...

Coming to the Town of Halifax Farmers' Market on May 18th a demonstration by Hudson Heritage Farms on the making of home cured bacon.

In Virginia's 18th Century Colonial Williamsburg, bacon was traditionally referred to as Gammon, but in today's world most people just refer to this delicacy as bacon.

Bacon is produced through a form of cooking referred to as Charcuterie.  This is a branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, salami, hams, and sausage.  Charcuterie was originally intended as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration, but today many chefs and home cooks are reverting to these old-time preparation methods for the special flavors derived from the preservation processes.

Bacon, as most know is a pig product.  Fossils have been found which leads scientists to believe that wild pig-like animals roamed forests and swamps in Europe and Asia.  By 4900 B.C. pigs were domesticated in China, and were being raised in Europe by 1500 B.C.  Hernando de Soto from Spain is who many dub as "the father of the American pork industry."  He landed with America's first 13 pigs at Tampa Bay, Florida in 1539.  Native Americans reportedly became very fond of the taste of pork, resulting in some of the worst attacks on the de Soto expedition.  By the time of de Soto's death three years later, his pig herd had grown to 700 head, not including the ones his troops had consumed, those that ran away and became wild pigs (and the ancestors of today's feral pigs or razorbacks), and those given to the Native Americans to keep the peace.  The pork industry in America had begun!  Pig production spread throughout the new colonies.  Sir Walter Raleigh is credited with bringing sows to the Jamestown Colony in 1607.  As the seventeenth century closed, the typical Virginia farmer likely owned four or five pigs, supplying salt pork and bacon for his table with surpluses sold as barreled pork.

Since its introduction to the Americas bacon has maintained its popularity.  In this health-conscious day and age, you would think that bacon would be low on the list of preferred foods due to its fat content.  Yet, as anyone who dabbles in pork belly commodities can tell you, bacon is solely responsible for giving a boost to the pork market.  Bacon has become so popular as a sandwich ingredient and a favorite of chefs in fine dining establishments that bacon shortages have caused prices to soar.  However, bacon is still a bargain that can't be beat when it comes to adding flavor.

As the Farm to Table movement progresses and individuals become more aware of the sources of their food products, and curiosity surges in the old arts of cooking and food preparations, we see a renewed interest in charcuterie and the preparation of home cured bacon.  Hudson Heritage Farms located in Elmo is a local producer of natural pasture raised meat products.  Denise Hudson from the farm will be at the Town of Halifax Farmers Market on May 18th, andd will present a demonstration class on the home curing of bacon at 10:00 am.  Also, look for other classes presented by Hudson Heritage Farms on meat preparation later in the summer at the Elmo Grocery Store and the Town of Halifax Farmers' Market.

Preserving Produce Workshop at Farmers Market on May 4th 2013

Would you like to learn more about safely preserving the extra produce from your garden?  A food preservation workshop will be offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension at the Halifax Farmers Market on Saturday May 4th, 2013 at 10:00am.  Eric Bowen, Area Food Safety Specialist, will be discussing how to preserve fresh foods using pressure canner/hot water bath methods and the basics of food safety including bacteria and food spoilage, canning and equipment, and freezing.  Please call Chris Brown, Extension Agent, ANR at 434-476-2147 with any questions.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Chris Brown, Halifax County Extension Office at 434-476-2147 during business hours of 8am and 5pm to discuss accommodations at least 5 days prior to the event.

Master Gardeners Plant Sale On The Way May 4th

          The annual Southside Master Gardener Association Plant Sale will be held on May 4th from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot outside the Halifax County Extension Office 171 S. Main Street, Halifax.  All types of plants will be available including annuals, herbs, perennials, vegetables, shrubs and trees.  The sale will offer some special features such as hypertufa containers, rain barrels and a bake sale.

          Herbal vinegars are a tasty way to get calcium into the body.  Herbal vinegars are loaded with good stuff like protein, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, Vitamins A, C, and D and some of the B vitamins.  Vinegar promotes growth of beneficial bacteria and keeps disease-producing germs in check.  Herbal vinegars support the immune system, help digest food and maintain a healthy pH in the intestines.  The herbal display will demonstrate how to make herbal vinegars and will have bottled herbal vinegar for sale.

          Hypertufa is the name of a process of making garden containers, ornaments, sculptures or stepping stones using Portland cement, perlite and peat.  The process was developed to substitute for volcanic rock called Tufa that was traditionally used to make Alpine troughs.  Information will be available about the next hypertufa class on July 13th.  Planted hypertufa containers and small stepping stones will be available for purchase.

          Rain barrels collect rainwater runoff from a roof.  One inch of rainfall from a 20' x 40' roof can yield 500 gallons of water.  Although rain barrels generally only hold 50 gallons, one small rain can fill a barrel giving you enough water to take care of your containers or a small vegetable garden for several weeks.  Completed rain barrels will be offered for sale with information about drought tolerant landscaping.

          Garden tools are an extension of the home gardener's arm.  Good tools are an investment, one that needs to be protected especially these days where money is tight.  We all know that sharp tools, especially pruners, are easier to use, but did you know sharp tools arebetter for the plant?  Dull pruner blades can tear bark or mash a stem leaving a wound that is open and susceptible to diseases or insects.  The plant has defenses to heal from a sharp clean cut at the proper place.  Bring your small gardening tools for a free cleaning and sharpening.

          Whether you are a plant lover or an avid fisherman, you won't want to miss our Vermiculture exhibit.  Vermiculture is the art of raising earthworms.  Find out how these little wonders of nature can turn your organic kitchen wastes, such as coffee grounds, egg shells and fruit peels, into some of the most sought-after organic fertilizer around.  Your plants will thrive when they get fertilized with "worm castings".

          Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions throughout the sale.  If you want more information or are interested in the Master Gardener program visit our website at www.ssmga.org, contact Bill McCaleb in the Halifax Extension Office at 434-476-2147 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Downtown Revitalization Project News Release 09-08-13

     The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is tentatively scheduled to complete surface improvements along the US Highway 501 corridor (South Main Street from the intersection of Mountain Road [VA Scenic Byway 360] to North Main Street at the intersection of Bethel Road [VA Scenic Byway 360]) , on Monday September 9th, weather permitting, beginning at 10:00 am.  Motorists should be alert to machinery operating on Mountain Road, South Main Street and North Main Street during theis period along with personnel directing traffic when necessary. 

    VDOT's painting sub-contractor, Roadmark Corporation is expected to complete painting the traffic lanes, directional arrows and crosswalks from the intersection of Bethel Road (VA Scenic Byway 360) and North Main Street (US Highway 501) and continuing along North Main Street, Mountain Road (VA Scenic Byway 360), and South Main Street (US Highway 501) to Cemetery Street (Rte. #1111).  During this time, on-street parking on South Main Street and Edmunds Boulevard should not be impacted by the painting activity and parking areas behind the businesses well  be unaffected.  Motorists, business owners, customers and pedestrians traveling in this general area should exercise caution at all times when the contractors and sub-contractors are in operation.  VDOT crews have also been installing new pedestrian crosswalk signs at the existing crosswalks and will be addressing potential new crosswalk areas on North Main Street and South Main Street in the near future.  The Townof Halifax Police Department is circulating brochures to better inform pedestrians and motorists on crosswalk safety and how monitoring and enforcement in accordance with the Code of Virginia will be conducted.  The week of Monday September 23rd two-hour parking (between 8am-5pm) signs downtown between Houston Street and Cemetery Street are scheduled tentatively to be installed by VDOT crews.  

    For further information please contact the following Project Management Team representative:

Carl Espy, Halifax Town Manager - 434-476-2343 or

Robbie Love, County Planning Administrator - 434-476-3300 ext. 234

***Revitalization Project Goal***

"To create Economic Opportunity and renew Quality of Life"

The Town and County of Halifax seek the shared community vision to promote the economic vitality of the Town of Halifax downtown commercial area, its approach corridors and gateways in an effort to provide new employment opportunities, capital investments and civic activities which improve the integrity of the historic county seat.

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