Commissioner James Comer announced that former State Representative Fred Nesler from Mayfield has joined the team at the Department of Agriculture. Nesler is serving as the deputy executive director in the Office of Strategic Planning and Administration, which oversees daily operations at the Department. “Fred Nesler is one of the most respected public officials I’ve known, and his knowledge of agriculture is second to none,” said Commissioner Comer. In addition to his legislative experience in agriculture, Rep. Nesler runs his own farming operation and grew up on a family farm.
21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant group, is proud to announce the appointment of Michael Paley and Levon Wallace as executive chefs of its restaurants in Cincinnati and Louisville, respectively.
Michael Paley will remain the chef/ partner of Garage Bar, a Neapolitan-style pizzeria, country ham and oyster bar in Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood. Paley will relocate this fall to lead the kitchen at Metropole, the new restaurant in the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, which is scheduled to open in fourth quarter 2012. Levon Wallace, an alumnus of luxury resort properties Ojai Valley Inn, Harbor View Hotel & Resort and The Kelley House in Nantucket, has been appointed as executive chef of Proof on Main, the acclaimed restaurant located at 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville.
SuperChef’s Breakfast, a new brunch spot in the Chicago Gyros Building at 2317 Brownsboro Rd, serves breakfast for an adventurous appetite. The menu incorporates tried-and-true favorites with decadent flavors, creating avant-garde dishes like Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal, Granola- Encrusted French Toast with Strawberry Compote, and Red Velvet Pancakes. www.superchefsbreakfast.com
Paleta Pop Culture, a one-woman ice pop operation in Louisville, has developed a sticky cult following. Owner and creator Kellen Emge keeps her online twitter fanbase growing through drool-worthy photos of her homemade paletas — Latin American ice pops made with fresh fruit. Some of the summer’s favorite flavors are Mexican Chocolate, Mango Chili, and Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. www.paletapopculture.com
Humana Offers Healthy Dose of Local Foods
Photo courtesy of Guckenheimer
The Hub is a new kind of workplace cafeteria at Humana headquarters at Fourth and Main streets. It’s run by Guckenheimer, a food-service contractor that focuses on corporate accounts.
Like other corporate and institutional workplaces, the single cafeteria line reminiscent of elementary school lunches has been replaced by multiple stations of choices — salads, sandwiches, cooked-to-order dishes and more — all beautifully designed and tempting.
Unlike most corporate cafeterias, The Hub began a year ago to offer dishes made with a selection of Kentucky-raised products raised on family farms. Some of the choices include Marksbury Farm meats, which buys from more than 25 Central Kentucky farmers, and Courtney Farm in Shelby County, which raises produce.
“Since we started participating in the Kentucky Proud program we have spent over $5,000 on local meats and produce to help support the local farmer and community,” says Tony Dobbs, who manages The Hub at Humana. “We serve a wonderful Marksbury Meats rotisserie chicken with a side of homemade mashed potatoes and freshly prepared and steamed vegetable medley.”
In addition, the salad bar features cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, mesclun and spring mix hydroponically raised in Kentucky. Other foods purchased include squashes and Kentucky bison.
Dobbs has invited farmers to visit The Hub to talk about their products, and regularly updates a large chalkboard to inform the 600 or so daily diners what local-food activities are happening around town.
Big Plans Cooking at Kytchen
Photo courtesy of John Mudd
Budding food entrepreneurs take note: There’s a new commercial kitchen you can rent by the hour to test out your business concept.
Kytchen was opened in April by John Mudd, the brains behind the Louisville Farmers’ Market markets at Oxmoor Mall, Westport Village and Landis Lakes.
An immaculately clean 1,200 square feet of kitchen is available to rent by the hour, 24/7, including commercial stove, convection oven, cooking equipment and lockable wire cages to hold your stuff. The facility has been given the blessing of Louisville Metro’s health department inspectors. This business incubator is located at 1841 Plantside Dr. in Bluegrass Industrial Park.
Already the Black Italian has begun its catering operations there. Also using the kitchen are Cupcake Melanie (selling at farmers’ markets and street fairs), Sweet Dreams (ditto) and Glorious Granola. Others are doing private catering prep there. Learn more about the incubator at facebook.com/sweetdreameries#!/kytchen or call 502-627-0057.
And, budding food entrepreneurs, if your business incubates successfully, and you rely on Kentucky products to make your food, and you are interested in setting up shop in the Portland neighborhood, check out the incredibly cheap business loan opportunity with Metro Louisville. Learn more at louisvilleky.gov/economicdevelopment/businessdevelopment/loanprograms.htm or by calling 502-574-4140.
Raise your Hand for Capstone Produce
Photo by Steve Coomes
Food preservationists should know this is prime time for bulk buying. Whether you are canning salsa, freezing corn, pickling sauerkraut or drying peaches, you owe it to yourself to visit the Capstone Produce auction at least once this summer. Virtually everything that’s in season that can be grown in Kentucky, including tilapia fish and locally grown beef and pork, are available either by bidding or through retail sales at Capstone, which is located 2.5 miles off I-71 at the Campbellsburg exit.
The auction begins at 11am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (except holidays) and ends when the produce runs out. You might be bidding against a St. Matthews mom, or against buyers from ValuMarket, and you never can never be sure what the price is going to be, but prices are generally lowest at peak season. You can check last year’s average produce prices at uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/auctions11/capstoneaug24.pdf.
If you like, head to auction early and take advantage of chef Kari Lynne Graves’ cooking at the Capstone Grill. She cooks local food to serve breakfast and lunch during auction hours, Friday nights and Saturday mornings (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 8am–2 pm and Friday 5–9pm.)
For more information and directions, go to capstoneproducemarket.com or call 502-532-7045.
Heartland Whole Life Buying Club
Photo by Tiffany Boren
When Serena Erizer of Elizabethtown decided to take control of the food her family was eating for dinner, she had no idea that her interest in healthy eating would morph from mere hobby into the Heartland Whole Life Buying Club.
“I was on a quest, which led me to forge wonderful relationships with farmers around our state,” says Erizer. “I found myself picking up and distributing lots of local foods all around our city. … I was struck with the realization of the need for a connection between farmers wishing to sell nutritious, properly raised foods, and people wishing to buy them.”
She decided to start a co-op with the help of her neighbor Lori Smith.
In four and a half years, the Buying Club has budded from a living-room endeavor into a blossoming local business. The club sells farm fresh, chemical-free food every week through an online ordering system, which is then picked up on Monday or Tuesday in CSA style: Club members come to the office to collect their basket filled with surprise local produce.
“It’s all about really delicious food,” says member Verna McLaughlin. “This June there was cabbage, garlic, citrus, potatoes, spring onions, eggs and cheese, carrots, green beans and blueberries.
They try to vary it up a little bit.”
Members enjoy free classes on yogurt making, butchering whole chickens and lacto-fermenting. Once a year everyone milks a cow to learn and appreciate where their dairy foods come from.
From its beginning, the Heartland Whole Life Buying Club has focused on connecting Elizabethtown eaters with their farmers. “As far as I know, the farmers are very happy to have this outlet,” says McLaughlin. “It’s difficult for them to get out to the Heartland Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.”
A community among the shoppers has developed as well. Emails about the weekly class turn into long conversations between new friends about a great recipe someone attempted produce from last week’s produce. As McLaughlin explains with a chuckle, the Heartland Whole Life Buying Club is “quite different than a grocery.”
The Heartland Whole Life Buying Club is at 2608 Ring Road in Elizabethtown. Their hours are Monday 12:30–6:30 pm and Tuesday 8:30am–4pm. To become a member, visit heartlandwholelife.com. The Heartland Farmers’ Market can be found at the same location every Saturday 8am–1pm, May through October.
Child Center Explores Joy of Eating
Photo by Kaylen Baker
Molly Cannon would never tell her kids not to play with their food. In fact, as director and supervising teacher at the nonprofit Lively Children Child Care Center, she encourages it.
Following in the tradition of Waldorf Education, which promotes the care of young children in a home-like environment, Lively Children engages young kids in quotidian activities with simple “open-ended toys” from a typical household, such as a rocking horse and building blocks. The idea is that children build their own imaginations through “activities with a purpose,” Cannon explains. Cooking and eating meals, in particular, become educational, nurturing practices.
On Wednesdays, the children make bread rolls for their morning snack. Cannon helps measure and pour ingredients, all of which are good-quality organic. Next, she scoops a handful of sticky dough for each child, and instructs, “Pound pound pound the dough! Now chop chop chop! Poke poke poke!” until the dough is completely kneaded.
After playtime, when the bread rolls have risen and baked, the group gathers around the table to share their snack. They eat their rolls along with blueberries from the farmers’ market and banana slices. It’s easy to see how much the children love fresh fruit, as they chorus together, “More banana, please! More blueberry, please!” There’s always a “please” at the end.
The rest of the week’s snacks include rice, oatmeal, soup, quesadillas and muffins, made by Cannon, the other teachers and, of course, the children. During walks around the neighborhood, the group often visits a certain backyard garden to see the chickens.
This process of eating, from knowing the chickens and the kneading dough to sitting down together for a meal, has given the children a healthy start to their lives, instilling in each a sense of local community and nutritious eating habits. For these lively children, food isn’t just an end product, but a playful journey.
The Lively Children Child Care Center is located at 1140 Cherokee Road. For more information, visit sites.google.com/site/livelychildren.