Column: With festival, a celebration of the value of Virginia Beach agriculture

David Trimmer, Virginia Beach’s director of agriculture, is seen during a visit to the Cullipher Farm Berry Patch in April. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]
Ed. note — This column ran in print shortly before the 34th annual Pungo Strawberry Festival.


VIRGINIA BEACH — It is a great time of year as we approach Memorial Day.

Our daylight grows by the day, the agriculture community is robust with activity and we have many things to be thankful for.  

As we give thought to this month of May, we have a lot to look forward to. Those thoughts could be focused on birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, strawberry season, the end of the school year in early June, vacation and warmer weather for outdoor activities.    

For me, I am going to pick one favorite – and that would be Memorial Day weekend and Virginia Beach’s very own 34th annual Pungo Strawberry Festival from Friday, May 26, through Sunday, May 28.  

For 2½ days – including the Friday evening carnival for “locals” – the village of Pungo becomes the center of activity for all things strawberry related.

The weekend will feature various events, a parade, wonderful food, amusement rides, entertainment and strawberries. There is something for everyone on this festive weekend in Pungo.  

Support for this wonderful holiday event comes from citizens, city government, volunteers, businesses and our communities. 

Our compliments to the Pungo Strawberry Festival Committee and all the volunteers who take part to make it a special May event for all of us. As Mayor Will Sessoms would reminds us, “Virginia Beach is the greatest city in the world.”

The importance of agriculture to Virginia Beach — as well as to Virginia  — is well known to all of us. The agriculture industry here in the largest city in Virginia accounts for an annual economic impact of $124 million. The Pungo Strawberry Festival brings focus to one important sector of our industry, which is strawberries.

We also have a plentiful bounty of other crops ranging from blueberries, blackberries, watermelons, sweet corn, plenty of greens, pumpkins and more, as well as grain crops and livestock. The importance of the sustainability and growth of agriculture links back to the history of our great county, our generational farming roots and the many new farm operations that have come into play.  

It is a great time of year to give thanks to the farm industry, to celebrate agriculture, visit a farm stand operation, pick strawberries and embrace the heritage of agriculture. We must never take anything for granted. I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy the 34th annual Pungo Strawberry Festival – and experience a taste of what farming means to our city.

Trimmer is Virginia Beach’s director of agriculture. Learn more about the department, its programs and its partnerships by visiting its website at

© 2017 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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