search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Wallace Edwards Jr. (seated), and Sam Edwards III


S. Wallace Edwards Sr., David Huber, John Appel and Wallace Edwards Jr., delivering Christmas hams.


The original smokehouses, like the Wigwam brand, honored the people who helped the early settlers survive.


Edwards Jr. had found the quirks of nature to be too


limiting and unpredictable, so he brought the process inside, designing rooms that mimicked optimal outdoor temperatures. When he took over the business from his father in the late ‘50s, he studied which year produced the best hams, then created aging rooms that duplicated that weather. The Edwards curing process is a combination of measurement and


skill. It requires the right balance of air flow, temperature and humidity, as well as the human qualities of taste, touch and sight. This process takes years to learn and perfect. “Dad always said we’re constantly learning little things


about what we can do to make it better, from the raw materials to the wood, to the times and temperatures you have to adjust, because Mother Nature always throws you a curve,” Edwards III says. “You’re not just applying step one, two and three, you’re using your sense of touch, taste and smell to make decisions about tweaking the process.” The younger Edwards grew up in the business and studied


hard alongside his grandfather and father. He swept floors, split wood, hefted heavy hams, shoveled room-sized grease traps, evaluated pig breeds, and sniffed, sampled and felt products in various stages of the process. He remembers learning to drive a truck, schooled by his grandfather, who grew up using mule carts around the ever-expanding farm. “He would sit beside me and call gee, haw and whoa, for left, right and stop,” Edwards III said. He eventually went off to the University of Richmond,


where he earned a degree in business, and at age 21, came back home and begged his dad to turn over the reins of the operation. In the meantime, the company opened its first ham shop in Surry, launched its print catalog, developed new products, expanded its wholesale efforts nationwide, opened another shop in Williamsburg, and introduced the first evolution of its website. All the while, Edwards III was thinking about ham. In


the 1990s, when customers insisted that meat be lean, and the airwaves were overrun with ads for “The Other White Meat,” pig farmers changed their stock to commodity pigs, raised on concrete floors, fed grain, and artificially bred to be lean. The meat got paler, there was no fat on the outside, the marbling nearly disappeared and it became harder to make a good Virginia ham. “They bred out the flavor and then would add the flavor back in,” he said. “It was so lean it tasted like turkey.”


48 July/August 2017


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100