Scouting Out Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2015
Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2015, sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, was held this past weekend, March 7-8, at Lexington Center, and frankly it was a tough weekend for them: record breaking snowfall, UK playing their final home game of the season in the attached Rupp Arena, The Blue Grass Trust’s Antiques & Garden Show at the Horse Park.
But Kentucky Crafted had one very important thing: food. Would a mere seventeen inches of snow stop your humble correspondent from sampling, buying, and photographing food? As you know, I was committed to getting there for you.
Arriving at Kentucky Crafted I discovered the food was all the way in the back of the exhibit hall. One thing I did learn from my walk through the Kentucky Crafted vendors on my way to the food is that if you want Kentucky made jewelry or pottery, you need not fear. It’s out there, man.
Food row was small, but honestly, I’m comparing it in my mind to the vastness that is the Incredible Food Show, which is held in the same location. What the Kentucky Crafted food row lacked in size it made up for in interest.
Some usual suspects were there, like the always welcome Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream (read my review). Savoring Kentucky food guru Rona Roberts was selling signed copies of her essential book Classic Kentucky Meals (read my review).
Right next to Rona was Woodford County’s Country Rock sorghum (I buy mine at Good Foods Coop). I’m a daily user of Country Rock because every single morning I put sorghum on my oatmeal (the Rocks are quite cordial, by the way). But what caught my attention was their Bluegrass Maple Syrup. I’ve been quite interested in Kentucky and Southern maple syrup of late, and this was right up my alley. I took a bottle home.
Bev’s Best Brittle (curiously with no real web presence) lured me in with their not too hard, still brittle-y, but really tasty bourbon brittle. The box I took home didn’t last long. I discovered that Mom Blakeman’s Candy in Lancaster makes fine pulled cream candy that tastes Right, a hard thing to find from commercial sellers. They also will sell you rarely seen traditional potato candy.
Hodgenville’s The Sweet Shoppe had crazy good looking candied apples, including a turtle apple that I was able to resist with the exertion of great willpower. Danville’s Elmwood Inn Fine Teas won the coveted Eat Kentucky award for loveliest booth, displaying their aromatic tea leaves in champagne flutes (they’re just now finding out about their Major Award from reading this report)
I enjoyed Kentucky cheeses from Boone Creek Creamery, the jams, sauces, and marinades of Applecreek Specialty Foods and the beer cheese from Larry Mac’s (I particularly liked the Craft Beer Cheese). In a lot of ways this was a scouting mission. Eat Kentucky readers will certainly read more about these fine products in the future.
The most interesting new discovery for me, however, was Lexington’s Gents Original Ginger Ale. Gents is handmade and flavored with oak, the idea being to apply a craft brewing and distilling mindset and techniques to soft drinks. Gents isn’t generally available yet, so I was happy to buy a refillable growler full of the stuff. If you run across them, by all means try it. You will be hearing more about Gents Original soon.
If you haven’t been to Kentucky Crafted: The Market be sure to go next year. It brings together some of the best work that talented Kentuckians from across the state are doing. They ought to be supported in doing it.