Throughout the California food and wine revolutions of the 1970s-1990s, she lived in San Francisco, immersing herself in one of the most important and innovative places and times in American cooking. During this period, Napa Valley beat the French in an historic wine tasting; artisan products, from breads to cheeses, forever changed the market, and we rediscovered the joys of farmer's markets. She volunteered at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, was active in the San Francisco Professional Food Society, and went bananas as a consumer communications writer for the Dole Food Company's test kitchen. Virginia also worked as an account executive/copywriter at Ketchum Communications, spreading the word about California raisins, almonds, potatoes, and various other commodities.
Post-Ketchum, she spent some time in journalism school at UC Berkeley and on staff at San Francisco Magazine. But when she was asked to co–author California the Beautiful Cookbook with chef/author John Phillip Carroll, she dropped everything to research and write the 20,000–word text, exploring California's geography, history, and culture in relation to the state's distinct food and wine regions. The book (which has gone through numerous reprints) received rave reviews, including kudos from Gourmet Magazine.
Virginia continued to freelance in San Francisco, writing for clients such as the Stag's Leap District and Chimney Rock Winery in the Napa Valley, and Fleischmann's Yeast. She also wrote packaging copy for top children's software publisher, Broderbund Software, and for Living Books, an award-winning interactive series for children.
It was all good, but rents were climbing and she missed the mountains. She moved back to Salt Lake in 1994. Fortunately, Utah's food scene has blossomed, providing all kinds of story ideas, and she continues to write for a roster of national and local clients.
She is a member of Slow Food Utah and the founder of Utah's Share Our Strength/Taste of the Nation annual fundraising event.