Edible Tidbits: Aug-Sept 2017
What's new and eventful in Louisville and the Bluegrass region.
One Giant Leap for Purple Toad
Allen Dossey, owner of Purple Toad Winery near Paducah, was named Winemaker of the Year at the Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In all, Purple Toad brought home 16 medals: four double gold medals (meaning a panel of four judges all awarded those wines a gold), six gold medals, three silvers and three bronzes, the most of any winery at the competition. The competition attracted more than 2,000 entries from 11 countries and 40 states. Purple Toad specializes in sweet wines and currently sells its 33 varieties in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. PurpleToadWinery.com. Also, congratulations to JoAnn and Michael Nall of Louisville for winning the Amateur Winemaker of the Year at the competition and five medals: one double gold, one gold, two silver and one bronze. PurpleToadWinery.com.
Going to Bat for Bats
Did you know a common bat can eat up to 1,000 small insects every hour? In an effort to curb pesticide use, BatBnB out of Lexington offers a natural solution to pesky bug problems with designer bat houses. Each BnB holds close to 100 bats, significantly impacting pest populations for gardeners and homeowners, as well as golf courses, restaurants and farms. Beyond pest control, BatBnB believes the homes will help fight the decline of the bat population due to wind turbines, white-nose syndrome and habitat loss resulting from deforestation. Through a partnership with the Organization for Bat Conservation, consumers have the option to support research and document occupancy rates of their BatBnB. Additionally, a portion of the profits from every BatBnB sale goes toward supporting bat conservation policy and public education. BatBnB.com.
Varanese Marks 10 Years
Little did Chef John Varanese know 10 years ago that by the time he celebrates a decade in the restaurant business this August he will have served over 500,000 people—plus, open two more restaurants. Varanese, a restaurant focusing on New American cuisine, has spent 10 years sourcing most dishes with the region’s freshest local produce and finest bourbon, creating a reputation for culinary creations and dedication to local farmers. Varanese opened his second and third restaurants in 2016: River House Restaurant and Raw Bar and Levee at the River House, both at 3015 River Rd. River House features regional cuisine with a Southern seafood focus, and Levee offers a small-plates menu and live entertainment. Varanese.com, RiverhouseLouisville.com, or LeveeRestaurant.com. To celebrate, Chef Varanese has shared one of his favorite recipes for Bourbon Barrel Smoked Pork Chop with Apple, Bourbon and Bacon Chutney in this issue.
Whole Foods Joins the Summit Community, Lexington
The new home of Whole Foods Market Lexington is all about community. With 75+ local providers; The Barn Door Tap Room and Restaurant with 32 beers on tap – many local; a large patio for relaxing, having a bite, playing corn hole or listening to live music on the weekends; a variety of tasting events; and the expanded spirits store, Whole Foods has created a culinary destination at The Summit. The store is almost twice the size of the old location, with new and expanded features including a coffee and juice bar opening at 7am; make your own nut butters; Master Butchers and a dry aged beef locker; sustainably raised and harvested seafood; an in-house smoker that can do beets to brisket; hemp pasta; a wood fired pizza oven; bread made with spent grain from Barrel House Distilling; and gluten free products from local bakery Gluten Free Miracles. Fresh herbs, plants and flowers from Wilson Nurseries are also available. Lindsay Bruner, Kentucky Metro Marketing says the company is committed to seeking out the best of the region’s produce and products. An impressive selection of hot and cold ready to eat items, salad and condiments bars, the iron skillet bar, wood-fired pizza, scratch made breads and pastries, an expanded selection of cheeses and the Bottle Shop Wine and Spirits, make picking up dinner is a breeze. Regional Marketing Manager Rachael Wilson emphasizes the Whole Foods commitment to community, not only by supporting local suppliers but by knowing what they sell. Regular events at the store include Randall Tuesdays (Randall is the device that infuses beer with a wide range of flavorings) featuring a unique flavor each week; Friday Night Flights, 5 stations pairing brews with Whole Foods fare; special events and regular samplings.
Lexington’s Whole Foods Market is located at 4059 Finn Way, The Summit at Fritz Farm. Open 8 am–10 pm, 7 days a week. wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/Lexington; 859-971-8600.
Putting a Freeze(r) on Hunger
In every Kentucky community, urban and rural, there’s a food insecurity problem. To help solve this challenge, agricultural lenders Farm Credit Mid-America and CoBank are providing chest freezers to more than 120 food pantries across the state. The freezers will enable increased donation and distribution of Kentucky-raised beef, pork and poultry as part of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles’ Hunger Initiative.
One year ago, Commissioner Quarles launched the Kentucky Hunger Initiative, an innovative program that works to identify food solutions for Kentuckians who need it most. Working with the Kentucky Association of Food Banks (KAFB), the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Initiative represents a collaboration of farmers, educators, restaurateurs, food distributors and chefs. One of the snags that the Hunger Initiative and the food banks encountered was the lack of cold storage at food pantries for food requiring refrigeration. “I’m grateful to Farm Credit and CoBank for recognizing this need and investing in this agricultural program,” Quarles said. “We’re really just getting started in the fight against hunger in the state, but they are helping us move the needle.”
“Farm Credit has been a longtime supporter of our Farms to Food Banks program, a program that directs fresh produce to food banks, and has been a wonderful partner in the fight against hunger in Kentucky,” said Tamara Sandberg, Executive Director of the KAFB. “This additional gift is an example of the private sector working with the public sector to make a measureable and meaningful impact in the communities they serve.” Farm Credit Mid-America Senior Vice President Mark Barker said the donation aligns with Farm Credit’s and CoBank’s purpose of securing the future of rural communities and agriculture by investing in the communities where they and their customers live and work. “As agricultural financial services cooperatives, providing the financial resources for farmers to produce healthy and nutritious food ultimately helps achieve our purpose,” he said. “Our nation’s farmers and ranchers are literally feeding the world, yet there are still children in our communities who go hungry,” said Derrick Waggoner, regional vice president for CoBank. “The Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the state’s producers are committed to changing that, and both CoBank and Farm Credit Mid-America are committed to helping.”