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On Stew Day, Capitol Employees Enjoy Taste Of Brunswick

Man ladles stew into plastic container
Brunswick stew, an iconic Virginia dish, found an appreciative audience at the Brunswick festival. (Photo by Patrick Larsen/VPM)

*VPM Intern Patrick Larsen reported this story

On Wednesday, lawmakers and state capitol employees recognized a classic Virginia recipe - Brunswick stew.

Each year, judges at the Taste of Brunswick Festival in Brunswick, Virginia decide which stew crew from around the county makes it best. The winner gets the honor of making stew at the Capitol the next year.

This year, the Danieltown Stew Crew, led by stew master Clark Bennett, got that honor. And they didn’t disappoint, cooking up a whopping 95 gallons.

That was more than enough to satisfy the needs of Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo Powell.

“Some is going to my house, some will go to my friend’s house,” Powell said, “and we’ll actually have lunch of Brunswick stew today.”

To meet those needs, Powell walked away with over eight quarts of stew - enough to last at least until June, she said.

Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam also paid a visit to the stew tent.

“It smells up the whole executive mansion when we get a treat like this. We're so thrilled to have it,” Northam said.

It takes a lot of hard work to make stew for all those hungry customers - Bennett said his crew started cooking at 3:00 a.m.

But it’s not just about the time that goes into it. For Bennett, it’s everything - he took over cooking with the Danieltown Stew Crew when his father passed away in 2005, and says he’s been doing it just about every weekend since.

“I do it for organizations, churches, softball teams, baseball teams, everybody,” Bennett said. “I mean, it means the world to me.”

All in attendance agreed - Brunswick stew is all about community.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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