2017 Local Hero Awards

By | May 31, 2017
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How do you define a “local hero”? We define it as someone whose business offers high-quality local products and maintains high standards in social and environmental practices, food sourcing, regional economic impact and commitment to promoting a sustainable food system.

We asked our readers to nominate two local heroes in each of seven categories: one from the Bluegrass region and one from Louisville (Jefferson County). People from all over the state responded with enthusiasm! We celebrate those who received the highest number of nominations in each category. Congratulations!

Local Hero Awards 2017
(Profiles of winners in each category follows the Award List)

Hall of Fame: Rainbow Blossom and Mayan Café


Favorite Food Artisan: Austin Cummins, Commonwealth Cure

Favorite Beverage Artisan: Brandon O’Daniel, Head Distiller, Copper & Kings Distillery

Favorite Food Retailer: ValuMarket Supermarket

Favorite Restaurant/Chef: Chef Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery

Favorite Farmer: Adam Barr, Barr Farms

Favorite Farmers’ Market: Douglass Loop Farmers’ Market

Favorite Nonprofit: Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farms



Favorite Food Artisan: Gina Micciche and Joseph Farmer, Lucky Clover Farm

Favorite Beverage Artisan: Paul Haney, Kentucky Kombucha

Favorite Food Retailer: Good Foods Co-op

Favorite Restaurant/Chef: Sara Bradley, Freight House

Favorite Farmer: Babette and Kirby Overman, Overman’s Bluegrass Fruits and Vegetables

Favorite Farmers’ Market: Bluegrass Farmers’ Market

Favorite Nonprofit: FoodChain


Photo 1: Rainbow Blossom
Photo 2: Mayan Cafe

Hall of Fame:

Rainbow Blossom and Mayan Café have received the Local Hero Award for three years and have reached “Hall of Fame” status. Congratulations!

Photo 1: Commonwealth Cure
Photo 2: Lucky Clover Farm

Favorite Food Artisans:

Austin Cummins, Commonwealth Cure

Louisville’s first federally inspected processing facility produces the finest handcrafted smoked and cured meats. Using only animals raised in the Ohio Valley region, our focus is to create products with the finest ingredients and no added nitrates or nitrites. 108 E. Broadway, Louisville; 502-681-4117; commonwealthcure.lou@gmail.com; CommonwealthCure.com

Gina Micciche and Joseph Farmer, Lucky Clover Farm

Lucky Clover Farm is located in northern Madison County and is Kentucky Proud and Appalachia Proud. Since 2008, Gina and Joseph have been creating delicious food products including KY Blackberry Jam, artisan breads, Peach Jalapeño Jelly and Hemp & Honey Roasted Granola. Their heirloom tomato plants are a signature crop and are sold by the thousands, available statewide through Kroger stores, Lucky’s Markets, Paul’s Fruit Markets and Windy Corner Market in Lexington. Starting out at farmers’ markets in Berea and Louisville, Lucky Clover has grown to sell in national markets. 242 E. Parke Rd., Richmond, KY; 859-779-8522, LuckyCloverFarm@gmail.comFacebook.com/LuckyCloverFarm

Photo 1: Brandon O'Daniel
Photo 2: Paul Haney

Favorite Beverage Artisan:

Brandon O’Daniel, Head Distiller, Copper & Kings Distillery

Raised on a farm in Jessamine County, Brandon O’Daniel is proud alum of the University of Kentucky’s School of Horticulture. Over the past several generations the O’Daniel family name has become associated with winemaking and viticulture in the Commonwealth. Brandon did not stray from this tradition. While at UK, he earned both his BA and MS in plant and soil sciences. His undergraduate work led him to focus on horticulture management. O’Daniel’s graduate studies emphasized research in viticulture and enology. As a winemaker and vineyard manager he honed the skills needed for his next and current challenge as head distiller at Copper & Kings, where he is proud to be a part of what he believes is the next big thing in the spirit industry. 1121 E. Washington St., Louisville; 502-561-0267; copperandkings@copperandkings.com; CopperAndKings.com

Paul Haney, Kentucky Kombucha

Kentucky Kombucha, established in 2013, is Kentucky’s first commercial kombucha operation. Our focus is on providing the most healthful kombucha using all-organic ingredients and providing seasonal varieties that reflect our state. Kentucky Kombucha is always raw, alive and unfiltered. Kentucky Kombucha is available in bottles and on tap at more than 70 retailers across the Bluegrass. 4591 Mayes Creek Rd., Springfield; KentuckyKombucha.com

Photo 1: ValuMarket
Photo 2: Good Foods Co-op

Favorite Food Retailer:

ValuMarket Supermarket

ValuMarket is a Kentucky Proud family-owned grocery store since 1978. To ValuMarket, “local” means driving the distance to source local produce, and it means supporting local endeavors like helping the neighborhood elementary school raise money for a new playground, supporting Little League teams, churches, Scout troops and community festivals. ValuMarket has four stores: Mid City Mall, Iroquois Manor, Outer Loop Plaza and Mt. Washington. 502-327-8840; valumarket@valumarket.comValuMarket.com

Good Foods Co-op

Good Foods Co-op is the only cooperatively owned grocery store in Central Kentucky. Celebrating their 45th year in 2017, they welcome all shoppers to enjoy a wide selection of local, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan offerings both on their shelves and served up fresh on their hot bar each day. 455 Southland Dr., Lexington; 859-278-1813; GoodFoods@goodfoods.coop

Photo 1: Bobby Benjamin
Photo 2: Sara Bradley

Favorite Restaurant/Chef:

Chef Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery

Chef Bobby Benjamin is the owner and executive chef of Butchertown Grocery. Before opening Butchertown Grocery in late 2015, Benjamin worked in top kitchens under awarded chefs Sean Brock, Gino Antolini, Duane Nutter and more and helped establish La Coop in Louisville and Union Common in Nashville. Through perseverance and drive, Chef Benjamin led Butchertown Grocery to become one of Southern Living and USA Today’s Best New Restaurants of 2016. 1076 E. Washington St., Louisville; 502-742-8315; Info@butchertowngrocery.com; ButchertownGrocery.com

Sara Bradley, Freight House

Sara returned home in 2015 to open Freight House after cooking in Birmingham, New York City and Chicago. She has worked in some of the most acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants in the country. Sara uses the classical techniques developed in those kitchens to create modern Southern fare. Freight House and Sara pride themselves on using seasonal ingredients that are sourced as close to home as possible. 330 S. 3rd St., Paducah; 270-908-0006; FreightHouseFood.com


Photo 1: Barr Farms
Photo 2: The Overmans

Favorite Farmer:

Adam Barr, Barr Farms

A seventh-generation farmer, Adam Barr and his wife, Rae, operate an organic farm on land that has been in Adam’s family since 1835. Their farm produces 40 varieties of vegetables, and they also have pasture-raised chickens and grass-fed cows they sell through their CSA, farmers’ markets and restaurants. Passionate about agriculture and creating ways for young people to begin farming, the Barrs offer apprenticeship opportunities for young people interested in farming. They have two sons, Cedar and Sylvan. Adam is active in Community Farm Alliance and serves on the board of Sustainable Agriculture Louisville. 2440 Popham Rd., Rhodelia; 859-608-6458; farmer@barrfarmsky.com; BarrFarmsKY.com

Babette and Kirby Overman, Overman’s Bluegrass Fruits and Vegetables

The Overmans have spent a lifetime dedicated to quality local produce, raising locally grown fruits and vegetables for the region’s finest restaurants, participating in the Kentucky Proud program and the Kentucky Farm to School program. Reaching beyond the farm, the Overmans have invested in their community, teaching and coaching young people, building a state championship basketball team and supporting 4-H. The Overmans know that local resources combined with quality are essential to sustainable success. 119 Long Branch Dr., Lancaster; 571-264-5256 or 703-586-7278; OvermansBluegrassFruitandVeg@gmail.com; Facebook: Overman’s Bluegrass Fruits and Vegetables

Photo 1: Douglass Loop Farmers Market
Photo 2: Bluegrass Farmers Market

Favorite Farmers' Market:

Douglass Loop Farmers’ Market

The Douglass Loop Farmers Market was started in 2011 as an outreach of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church. We are a Kentucky Proud farmers’ market that offers locally raised fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products and specialty foods. By promoting the economic possibility of farming we hope to nurture the relationship between the community and the farms that feed it. Our aim is to foster a community that supports local farmers and artisans while creating an environment that allows for the cultivation of friendships among our neighbors. The market is pet friendly and runs every Saturday, rain or shine, 10am–2pm, until December 16, 2017. 2005 Douglass Blvd., Louisville; DouglassLoopFarmersMarket.com

Bluegrass Farmers’ Market

The Bluegrass Farmers’ Market is Lexington’s largest 100% homegrown/produced market, meaning that all vendors are members of the Kentucky Proud program. Their motto is “We grow it. We produce it. We sell it.” The market offers produce, meats, cheeses, flowers and value-added products from over 26 vendors. Two locations: Liquor Barn, Hamburg Pavilion, 1837 Plaudit Pl., and Azur Restaurant and Patio, 3070 Lakecrest Circle in the Beaumont Centre. 703-586-7278; marketing@bluegrassfarmersmarket.orgBluegrass-FarmersMarket.org

Photo 1: Food Literacy Project
Photo 2: FoodChain

Favorite Non-Profit:

Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farms

The Food Literacy Project’s mission is to transform youth and their communities through food, farming and the land. Since 2006, they have invited over 30,000 children and families to become participants in a just and sustainable food system—by planting, weeding, harvesting, tasting and cooking healthful foods during their Field-to-Fork experience. 9001 Limehouse Ln., Louisville; 502-491-0072; Info@foodliteracyproject.org; FoodLiteracyProject.org


FoodChain is a nonprofit in downtown Lexington working to forge new links between community and fresh food. We do this through education and demonstration of sustainable innovative food systems. We operate a 7,000-gallon indoor aquaponic system inside a previously abandoned bread factory and are constructing an adjacent teaching and processing kitchen. 501 W. Sixth St., Suite 105, Lexington; 859-428-8380; info@foodchainlex.org; FoodChainLex.org

Article from Edible Louisville & the Bluegrass at http://ediblelouisville.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/2017-local-hero-awards
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