The West Virginia Department of Agriculture hosted a free sweet corn roast on the Capitol Complex plaza on Wednesday. WVDA employees roasted 25 dozen ears of sweet corn on an open grill.
It was a token of appreciation to state employees at the Capitol, but it was also a promotional event for sweet corn, available now at farmers' markets throughout the state. "We want West Virginians growing a product on West Virginia land to be consumed by West Virginians. We have a huge opportunity," said Walt Helmick, WV Commissioner of Agriculture.
West Virginia imports the majority of the food consumed. The commissioner hopes people will shop at local farmers markets and seek out locally grown food.
This is the fifth year the WVDA has sponsored the corn roast, which always draws a large crowd. "West Virginians spend over $7 billion a year on food, but we only produce about a half a billion here in our state," said Helmick. "I'm confident we could double that number if people would shop more at our farmers' markets and consciously seek out West Virginia Grown produce. That would add $500 million to the state's economy without increasing the cost to consumers by even one dime."