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      Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack promotes regional foods

      CULPEPER, Va. (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is promoting regional food systems with a stop at Blue Ridge Produce in Culpeper County.

      Vilsack is scheduled Thursday to discuss the USDA's commitment to developing infrastructure for local and regional food systems such as Blue Ridge Produce. It aggregates, markets and distributes Virginia-grown fruits and vegetables for sale to wholesale customers in the Washington, D.C., area.

      The USDA says there are approximately 220 food hubs across the nation, including at least 20 in Virginia. The department says food hubs have grown by more than 65 percent over the past five years.

      Blue Ridge Produce is located in the community of Elkwood.