Local business to be featured

A locally owned and operated business is set to be featured in a television segment this week.
Robin Allen of South Hill, who owns Birdie’s Pimento Cheese along with her husband, Glenn, is scheduled to appear on a live segment of “Virginia This Morning” on WTVR-TV channel 6 on Tuesday, Dec. 6, between 9-10 a.m.
“We’re going to do a dish with Birdie’s Pimento Cheese,” Robin said, noting she’ll also do a similar taped segment that day to be televised at a later date.
Robin said she has two dishes in mind for the segments, although she hasn’t yet settled on which will be live and which will be taped. She said she plans to make “Birdie’s and Bowties,” which is “our take on mac and cheese,” using the garlic parmesan flavor of Birdie’s Pimento Cheese, while the other dish is a grilled pimento cheese sandwich.
Robin said the couple, which owned and operated Dogwood Graphics in South Hill for 25 years before selling the business in early 2015, started selling their pimento cheese in 2014 at the South Hill Farmers Market.
“Really we were just doing it for a hobby,” Robin said, noting Glenn had really taken to the farmers market, its people and atmosphere, and wanted to become more than just a customer.
She said Anna Cratch with the Town of South Hill as well as the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Boydton and inspectors with the Virginia Department of Agriculture helped guide the new business as it became compliant and permitted to sell its food product.
“For us, just doing it as a hobby, we were like, ‘Do we really have to do all this?’” Robin Allen said. “And thank goodness we did. It was good that we had to meet the standard, because then we were ready as it grew.”
The Allens use the inspected kitchen at the Masonic Lodge in South Hill to make their product and are permitted through the Department of Agriculture, registered with the Food and Drug Administration and featured by the Virginia’s Finest program.
They currently sell Birdie’s Pimento Cheese at 15 retail locations, including local outlets such as B&D Produce in South Hill, Galleria on the Lake in Clarksville, Twigs & Berries in Kenbridge, Rosemont of Virginia Winery in La Crosse, Apothecary in Boydton and Ebony General Store in Ebony, as well as other Virginia outlets such as The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, The Farm Stand in Louisa, Strangeways Brewing in Richmond and Peanut Patch in Courtland.
It’s also available at many special events around the state, and the Allens still do farmers markets, including the South Hill Christmas Farmers Market scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3.
They also take mail orders for their pimento cheese by utilizing 24-hour shipping. Visit birdiespimentocheese.com for more information.
Birdie’s Pimento Cheese comes in five flavors year-round — classic, jalapeño, garlic parmesan, cream cheese and black pepper, and olive — and there is a current seasonal offering of smoked gouda with roasted red pepper.
Robin said they got the television gig after working with a company called The Apple Cart, which helps grow start-up food businesses. In October, The Apple Cart sent out a gift guide that included Birdie’s Pimento Cheese, and WTVR-TV soon contacted the Allens to schedule the segment.