Orange County Announces Promotion of Julie Perry to Director of Economic Development and Tourism

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Orange County is pleased to announce the promotion of Julie Perry from Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism to Director, Economic Development and Tourism, effective immediately. Perry joined the team in early 2022 with extensive tourism marketing experience from her tenures with the City of Fredericksburg’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Her work related to the Edna Lewis Media Event and Menu Trail programs helped Orange County win state and national awards for excellence, concluding with the recent placement of a Virginia Department of Historic Resources Highway Marker in Lewis’s honor on April 13. The multi-year program secured over 30 media placements in local, state, and national publications on behalf of Lewis and Orange County. Perry has overseen steady growth in tourism awareness and engagement with the Orange Uncovered story telling initiative, the Corks and Caps Craft Beverage Trail, and the Gordonsville Fried Chicken social marketing campaign with the platform Simply Southern. Perry has also been integral in the multi-faceted Enjoy Orange initiative that promotes local businesses and encourages both residents and visitors to shop locally.

Since assuming the Director position in an interim capacity in November 2023, she has refined her skills by becoming a member of the Virginia Economic Developers Association and attending the Virginia Institute for Economic Development. Under her leadership, Orange County saw the ribbon cutting for the MacMillian Publishing expansion, announced VA Brownfield Grant Awards for two property remediation efforts, received a Commonwealth Opportunity Fund Award from the Governor’s Office to incentivize the $41.2 million expansion of Aerojet Rocketdyne facilities, and put into motion Economic Development Authority (EDA) efforts to improve site-readiness in the Thomas E. Lee Industrial Park.

Perry is excited to begin her new role in earnest, saying “Orange County is a special place – it’s a privilege to lead the Economic Development and Tourism programs here. I am committed that we will continue to be a leader in Tourism Marketing around Virginia, a resource for Small Businesses, a champion of Workforce Development, and an enthusiastic partner in Business Attraction and Recruitment efforts for smart-growth in Orange County. I see this crossroads as an opportunity for Orange to be proactive in bolstering its economy and putting development plans in to action that will have a positive effort for generations to come.”

Orange County Communications Department, 11350 Porter Road, Orange, Virginia 22960

For more information about starting or expanding a business in Orange County, visit To plan your trip and learn more about the attractions in our area, visit Those with questions are encouraged to contact the Economic Development and Tourism Office at (540) 672-1238.

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Orange County is excited to announce that Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company, will be expanding their operations in our community. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Orange County site is home to some of the most advanced defense and space propulsion research, development, and manufacturing operations in the world. The site includes the Orange Altitude Test Facility, a fully-equipped propellant lab and a state-of-the-art air-breathing test facility. In their press release, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced its plans to construct new facilities, purchase new equipment, and hire 80 new employees over the next three years.

“This agreement builds upon company and U.S. government investments in our solid rocket motor production capabilities for critical defense systems,” said Ross Niebergall, President, Aerojet Rocketdyne, L3Harris. “We have been a part of the Virginia community for decades and look forward to growing our talented workforce here as we produce the vital propulsion that helps protect our nation and its allies.”

“Our country’s security depends on defense manufacturers like L3Harris, and we are proud that this long-term corporate partner continues to reinvest in Virginia,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “The Commonwealth’s vibrant industrial and technological ecosystem provides an ideal home for the booming aerospace industry, underpinned by a top-notch workforce pipeline that draws from thousands of service members who exit the armed services in Virginia every year and our excellent schools that ensure a steady flow of new talent.”

“This is an exciting announcement. On behalf of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and our Economic Development team, I am pleased to support L3Harris’ efforts to add 80 new jobs and expand their operations in Orange County over the next 36 months,” said R. Mark Johnson, Chairman, Orange County Board of Supervisors. “L3Harris has been an important member of our business community for many years – making their $41.2 million investment particularly gratifying. Receiving the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund grant from Governor Youngkin and VEDP is a recognition of Orange County’s pro-business climate, its economic vitality, and our region’s qualified workforce.”

For more information, please view the Governor’s press release, the press release from L3Harris, or contact our Economic Development Office at (540) 672-1238.

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Two Orange County Locations to Receive Grants to Support Future Economic Development Potential

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Two locations in Orange County have been selected to benefit from Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund (VBAF) Site Remediation Grants totaling over $600,000. The selected locations are the former Virginia Metal Industries property on Old Gordonsville Road and the former Earl’s Glass Shop at the intersection of Caroline and West Church streets in the Town of Orange.

Brownfields are properties where the presence of hazardous materials, pollution, or contaminants may complicate the reuse or redevelopment of the location. VBAF grants help local governments address these obstacles. Orange County and the Orange County Economic Development Authority will utilize these funds with the aim of making these former commercial locations attractive for new business uses.

“In Orange County, we are always seeking to attract new businesses while preserving the character of our community’ said Julie Perry, Interim Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “Rehabilitating brownfields is particularly gratifying work because it occurs at the intersection of old and new. Rehabilitating and reutilizing existing properties to attract new businesses maximizes the utility of our available buildings and allows us to breathe new life into a space,” she added.

More information about this year’s grant awards is available in a press release from the Governor’s Office at Visit for more information on the Virginia Brownfield Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund. For more information about these locations, or Economic Development in Orange County, contact the Economic Development Office at (540) 672-1238.

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Orange County Economic Development and Tourism Invite You to enJOY Orange This Holiday Season

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ORANGE, VA – The Orange County Office of Economic Development and Tourism is pleased to announce the holiday version of its popular video series enJOY Orange. Beginning the week of Thanksgiving and leading into Small Business Saturday over 50 Orange County Small Businesses will be featured in a variety of programs encouraging locals and visitors alike to Shop Local in Orange County. 

Joy the Elf has left Santa’s Workshop for a Holiday adventure in Orange.  She’s made her rounds to just a few of the many special places to shop, eat and explore this holiday!  You can follow her antics by watching the new video, picking up a holiday gift guide, joining in the social media conversation or taking your picture by one of the new window clings that will be displayed in business windows all around Orange County.    Share with the hashtag #enJOYorange to see who else is in on the fun! 

Julie Perry, Interim Director of Economic Development and Tourism says “This new 4th Quarter Program has been designed to reach citizens and visitors with a lighthearted shop local message.  The Small Business Administration tells us that for every $1.00 spent in a local business, .67 cents stays in the local economy.  It’s so important to shop locally and support the businesses that make Orange County a special place to live, work and play.  We’re inviting everyone to Be like Joy the Elf and shop local this holiday season!”

For more information regarding enJOY Orange please go to or contact Julie Perry, Interim Director of Economic Development and Tourism Office at (540) 672-1238.

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Enjoy Orange Holiday Logo



Orange County Visitor Spending Reached $52.8 Million In 2022

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According to the most recent statistics released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), visitor spending for Orange County reached $52.8 Million in 2022, a 4.5% increase over 2021. Tourism supported 485 jobs in Orange County while local tourism-related taxes were $2.2 Million.

At the state level, Virginia enjoyed $30.3 billion in visitor spending in 2022, an increase of 20.3% from 2021, exceeding 2019 levels by 4.4%. The tourism industry in Virginia directly supported 210,721 jobs in 2022, an increase of more than 25,000 jobs relative to 2021, but still down about 30,000 jobs relative to 2019. All data is from Tourism Economics and is based on visitor spending from trips taken at least 50 miles away from home.

The leading tourism sectors in Virginia are recreation and food and beverage, which have exceeded 2019 levels by 10%. The local food and beverage industry in Orange County had a particularly impressive year of growth with overall revenues of $15.1 million in 2022 compared to $13.8 million in 2021.

Julie Perry, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism, said “Total tourism expenditures in Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 2021, so this extra growth in 2022 is especially exciting. It’s a tribute to the local attractions, small businesses and lodging facilities that make Orange County such a great place to visit!” For more information, contact Julie Perry, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism, at

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Regional Commission Seeks Employer Feedback for Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

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The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission invites all employers in Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock Counties to take a survey about the local business environment. The survey is part of a collaborative regional planning effort that RRRC is leading, along with a mix of partners across the region.

The RRRC will be preparing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy that establishes a vision for the region’s economic development programs and projects over the next five years. To best inform the strategies going forward, the RRRC is engaging employers and other key stakeholders to fully understand the issues and opportunities facing businesses throughout the region. Your responses to the survey will directly inform the biggest areas in need of addressing within the current business climate and aid in developing strategies going forward.

The business climate within these counties has become a prevalent issue in discussions around the potential for economic development in the region in recent years. The study will seek to identify challenges in the business climate through data-driven analysis and strategize ways to tackle these challenges through ambitious, but practical solutions.

“We appreciate all organizations small and large contributing their views and opinions into this survey. All input will be incorporated with qualitative and quantitative data also collected during the CEDS development and we look forward to sharing results and strategies as the process continues,” said Patrick Mauney, RRRC Executive Director.

The online survey is open through October 15, 2023 and should take fewer than 10 minutes to complete. The survey is available in English and Spanish and can be accessed at

The RRRC is asking all private, non-profit, and public employers in the region to take the survey so it can collect the most accurate data possible, establish employer needs, and help identify the best partners to conduct this work.

For more information about the housing study and strategy and to learn how to get involved, please visit

About the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission serves the counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock, and the towns of Culpeper, Gordonsville, Madison, Orange, Remington, The Plains, Washington, and Warrenton. The 21-member RRRC board includes elected and appointed officials appointed by each member jurisdiction. Localities with greater than 3,500 residents appoint two members to the regional commission, while localities with fewer than 3,500 residents appoint one member to the regional commission.

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission facilitates a collaborative approach to regional cooperation, and serves as a convening forum for the interaction of appointed and elected local government officials, regional stakeholders and citizen members. The Regional Commission coordinates a broad range of regional planning activities – including multi-modal and human services transportation, environmental planning, homelessness and affordable housing coordination, regional tourism, agricultural, and economic development activities. The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission is located in Culpeper, VA, and can be found online at

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Orange County Economic Development And Workforce Center To Host Hiring Event

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ORANGE COUNTY, Va. – On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Orange County Economic Development Office and the Virginia Career Works Center in Orange County will host a Hiring Event. Career seekers from the community are invited to speak to hiring managers with job openings in manufacturing, retail, food service, administration, healthcare, agriculture, logistics, distribution, and more.

“There are a lot of opportunities for career seekers across a variety of industries in the area! Whether you are looking for full or part-time employment, there will be an abundance of opportunities to connect with local businesses,” said Jason Ford with the Virginia Career Works Center.

Rose Deal, Director of Economic Development for Orange County, noted, “We’re excited to once again team up with Virginia Career Works to host a local employer hiring event. Several Orange County businesses, who represent a variety of employment sectors, will be present and eager to welcome career seekers. We encourage folks to stop by to learn about and discuss the many full and part-time career opportunities that are available.”

The event will be held at the Orange Train Depot, located at 122 East Main Street, Orange, VA 22960. All participants are encouraged to register for the event at

For more information regarding this event, please contact Jason Ford at (540) 212-4570 or Free resume writing assistance and interview preparation is also available through a dedicated Mobile Resource Specialist at any of the three Orange County Library branches. For information regarding the Orange County Mobile Resource Specialist’s hours at each location, please visit

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Businesses Selected To Be Featured At The Locally Made Market At The Montpelier Hunt Races

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ORANGE COUNTY, Va. – The Orange County Office of Economic Development and Tourism is pleased to announce the businesses selected to participate in the third annual Locally Made Market at the Montpelier Hunt Races. Honey Springs Bees, LLC, Inseparability Designs, and Van’s Woodshop, LLC, will be featured under the Locally Made Market tent. This program was created to support and encourage local entrepreneurship and will allow these home-based businesses to gain valuable exposure to a new, larger customer base.

Ashley Weaver, co-owner of Inseparability Designs stated, "We're truly honored to be part of the Montpelier Hunt Races Local Maker's Market. This opportunity allows us to share our passion with a wider audience, and we hope that our humble offerings will resonate with the wonderful crowd attending this prestigious event. The exposure here is a privilege, and we believe this experience will help our business grow and flourish."

The 88th running of Montpelier Hunt Races takes place on November 4, 2023, with gates opening at 9:00 a.m. The Locally Made Market tent can be found amongst other vendors in the Vendor Village. For more information regarding this program, please contact the Economic Development & Tourism Office at (540) 672-1238.

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American Woodmark's Orange County Manufacturing Facility Celebrating 50 Years

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ORANGE COUNTY, Va. – For half a century, American Woodmark's Orange, VA, manufacturing facility has been a cornerstone of the company's success. From humble beginnings in 1973 to becoming one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the United States, the Orange facility has played a critical role in delivering high-quality, affordable cabinets to customers across the country.

American Woodmark takes great pride in their commitment to sustainability, and the Orange facility is no exception. From recycling waste materials to using energy-efficient equipment, they are always looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact while maintaining the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.

“Our success is only made possible by our team members' hard work and dedication. Many of our team members have been with us for decades, and their expertise and attention to detail are what sets our cabinets apart. We're proud to provide a safe, supportive workplace where our employees can thrive and grow. Over the past 50 years, we've faced many challenges and overcome countless obstacles, but our commitment to excellence has remained strong. We're proud to be a part of the Orange County community and grateful for the support of our customers and partners across the country,” stated an American Woodmark representative.

American Woodmark continues to innovate and improve to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers and the industry. The Orange, VA, manufacturing facility plays a vital part in the company's success now, and will for many years to come.

“We are thrilled to celebrate American Woodmark’s 50th anniversary with them and support their continued growth. Their success is extremely important to our community. For years, American Woodmark has been a major employer of County residents, and this remains the same today,” noted Rose Deal, Director of Economic Development and Tourism.

Orange County welcomes new businesses and is well-positioned for their long-term success. If you are interested in starting, moving, or expanding your business, please consider Orange County, Virginia. For more information and assistance, contact our Economic Development Office at (540) 672-1238.

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Orange County Programs Recognized with a Pair of 2023 VACo Achievement Awards

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ORANGE COUNTY, Va. – Orange County is honored to receive two Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) Achievement Awards in recognition of exemplary programs. The Office of Economic Development and Tourism was recognized for the Edna Lewis Menu Trail and the County of Orange Fire & EMS Department (COFEMS) was recognized for their Firefighter/EMT Education & Workforce Partnership Initiative.

The Edna Lewis Menu Trail earned the Achievement Award thanks to its meaningful efforts to address underrepresentation and share the remarkable story of Chef Edna Lewis. Though just as groundbreaking and influential as other famous chefs of the time, she is not as well known outside of culinary circles. To help spread the word, media representatives were invited to an event in October 2022 which included information about her legacy and a familiarization tour. The results of this effort continue to showcase her influence and elevate Orange County as a destination. For more information about this program, read the full nomination document or call (540) 661-5324.

COFEMS built upon last year’s success, when they were recognized with the title of “Best Small County Achievement” for their Whole Blood Program. This year’s Achievement Award recognized their efforts to address the widespread issue of recruiting qualified emergency personnel. A first in the state, COFEMS partnered with Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) to train the EMS and firefighter leaders of tomorrow in active stations, not classrooms, for Firefighter 1 and EMS courses. This has translated into internships and new hires in our community. For more information about this program, read the full nomination document or call (540) 672-7044.

“Orange County is again receiving recognition for our culture of innovation. Our employees continue to look for new ways to serve our community and I join with the Board of Supervisors in expressing appreciation for their work. Making a positive impact on people's lives is what we do.” said Theodore Voorhees, Orange County Administrator. For more information about VACo Achievement Awards, read their official press release.

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Locally Made Market at the Montpelier Hunt Races Vendor Opportunity

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Orange County, VA - The Orange County Office of Economic Development and Tourism is pleased to, once again, host the Locally Made Market at the Montpelier Hunt Races. To encourage local entrepreneurship, the office would like to offer home-based businesses the opportunity to compete for one of three FREE spots in a shared vendor tent to market and sell their product(s) at the event.

“We are excited be able to continue to provide local, home-based entrepreneurs with this opportunity to showcase their products and connect with thousands of visitors who attend the Montpelier Hunt Races. Feedback from previous Locally Made Market vendors has been very positive, with all of them noting that the opportunity has been extremely beneficial in helping their business grow,” stated Rose Deal, Economic Development Director.

To be considered for one of the three vendor spaces, interested parties should submit a brief presentation about their business in Word or PowerPoint format, along with a fully completed application, no later than Friday, August 31, 2023. Completed packets must be submitted to Regan McKay at or via mail to 109 West Main Street, Orange, VA 22960. Program guidelines and the application are available at

For more information regarding this program, or for assistance completing the application, please contact the Economic Development & Tourism Office at (540) 672-1238.

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MITRE Corporation To Invest in Orange County

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Orange County, VA – Orange County is pleased to announce that MITRE Corporation, is launching a new drone range in Orange County. The drone range promises to bring world-leading cutting-edge research and technology to Orange County. As a not-for-profit technology and R&D company, MITRE Corporation connects government, academic, and industry partnerships to tackle complex national and global challenges. For the past 65 years, McLean, Virginia based MITRE Corporation has worked without commercial conflicts of interest to solve problems for a safer world.

The MITRE Corporation currently has an office in North Fork - A UVA Discovery Park, located in Albemarle County. The expansion will support their operations in Central Virginia. “The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development is delighted to retain this expansion in our region and continue to strengthen our innovation ecosystem,” stated Helen Cauthen, President of Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development.

This expansion is anticipated to create many new jobs over the next four (4) years. The Economic Development Authority has entered into a land lease agreement with MITRE Corporation, for a 16-acre parcel in the county-owned Thomas E. Lee Industrial Park. “MITRE Corporation’s decision to invest in Orange County is an exciting one for the community. This investment is a testament to Orange County’s pro-business climate, and we are pleased to welcome them to Orange County,” noted Rose Deal, Economic Development Director.

“MITRE is excited to launch a first of its kind drone range in Orange County. MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. Through our public private partnerships and federally funded R&D centers, we work across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation,” noted Yosry Barsoum, Vice President and Director of MITRE’s Center for Securing the Homeland.

For more information, please contact Rose Deal, at (540) 672-1238.

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Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CV SBDC) To Present Gordonsville Business Boost Workshop

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Orange County, VA – The Orange County Economic Development Office, in collaboration with the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC), is hosting a FREE business development opportunity. The Gordonsville Business Boost Workshop will be offered on Monday, July 10th, 2023, from 9:00 – 10:00 am in the Gordonsville Town Hall, located at 112 South Main Street, Gordonsville, VA 22942.

The Gordonsville Business Boost workshop is available for businesses interested in learning about the various, free resources available and how to use them to boost their business in 2023.  Topics covered will include; CV SBDC office hours in Orange County, Community Investment Collaborative programs and funding, CV SBDC workshops and topics, Orange County’s Revolving Loan Fund, Orange County’s Incentive Policy, Orange County’s Business Directory, Orange County’s Tourism Industry Marketing Leverage Grant, and more.

An experienced business advisor will also be available for FREE, confidential 1-on-1 business counseling sessions, immediately following the Workshop. Counseling sessions are available by appointment only, please call the CVSBDC at (434) 295-8198 to schedule your appointment.

This event is FREE to all businesses and light refreshments will be provided. To reserve your seat at the workshop, register online at

If you have any questions please contact Regan McKay, Economic Development and Tourism Assistant at (540) 672-1238 or

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Orange County Tourism Reveals Orange Uncovered Video Series

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Orange County, VA – The Orange County Office of Economic Development and Tourism is pleased to launch the inaugural six videos in the Orange Uncovered series. The concept is to tell lesser-known stories throughout Orange County’s history to build awareness about what Orange has to offer visitors and residents alike. The videos will be marketed in an advertising campaign utilizing a $20,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

The Orange Uncovered videos tell stories from Barboursville Vineyards, the Germanna Foundation, Ellwood Plantation/Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, the African American Historical Society, the Town of Gordonsville and the James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage.

Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism Julie Perry said “The Orange Uncovered videos are brief snippets of just a few of the amazing stories that Orange County has to tell. It is our hope that highlighting these moments in history will increase awareness of Orange County and be a catalyst for increased visitation.”

In addition to the online content and videos the Orange Uncovered program also includes widely distributed brochures, printed materials, and an in-market photo op soon to be revealed at the Orange County visitor centers. For more information regarding Orange Uncovered please go to or contact Julie Perry, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism Office at (540) 672-1238.

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Orange County Wins NACo Award for Edna Lewis Menu Trail

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Orange County, VA –Orange County is pleased to announce The Edna Lewis Menu Trail program a winner of the 2023 NACo Achievement Award. Through this initiative, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism aims to highlight Orange County’s Black history, agriculture, and current culinary industries while commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the release of Edna Lewis’ first cookbook – The Edna Lewis Cookbook.

Known as the Grand Dame of Southern Cooking – her cookbooks are seminal works on farm-to-table dining, southern cuisine, and Black history.

The Menu Trail program has attracted national media attention and visitors from afar featuring Orange County restaurant stops along the way.

Julie Perry, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism says, “The Edna Lewis Menu Trail has been an important tool to tell Mrs. Lewis’ story and explain how her life in Orange County shaped her culinary perspective and Southern Cuisine.”

Through The Menu Trial, Orange County has helped preserve history, a way of life and the cultural contributions made by generations of African American women in the South.

Visitors can experience The Edna Lewis Menu trail now through Memorial Day.

For more information visit or contact Julie Perry at

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