By Frank Kourt
PAINT LICK —
Once again, the focus was on locally produced agricultural products, ranging from organic vegetables to goat milk soap to hormone-free meats, at Saturday’s third annual Field to Fork Festival at Halcomb’s Knob Farm and Bed and Breakfast in Paint Lick.
Vendors and exhibitors, from local farms to community groups such as the Central Kentucky Regional Humane Society and the Garrard County Chamber of Commerce, offered products for sale and educational materials as visitors strolled from booth to booth.
There also were giveaways including packets of heirloom seeds and food samples.
Deborah Messenger, who organizes and hosts the event, said among the new features of the festival this year was musical entertainment provided by Heath and Molly, a roots rock duo.
Also new this year was a cooking class and a cooking demonstration offered by Charlie Shunnarah, a chef at St. Vincent DePaul in Louisville.
Another innovation was a day dedicated exclusively to interactive learnshops/workshops, which took place on Friday the day before the festival opened to the general public.
Education was an integral part of the event as participants learned various farming techniques, ranging from growing grapes to livestock first aid, to techniques for raising chickens.
There were more than 30 such educational opportunities along with various demonstrations offered at this year’s event.
Sarah Essing, her sister, Felicia Kerr, and their families came all the way from Louisville to attend the event, at which their mom, Maria Turner, owner and operator of a sustainable family farm in Garrard County, had exhibited in the two previous years. This year, Turner and her family were just among the visitors.
“It’s grown a lot over the years. There are lots of new vendors. It’s always nice to have a chance to meet local farmers,” said Essing, who has attended all three of the events.
“It’s really a lot of fun. The kids enjoy seeing the animals,” added her sister.
Indeed, kids were paying special attention to the live cows and goats featured at this year’s festival.
In addition to local products for sale, like jars of honey and packaged granola, there were concessions selling such delights as pasture-raised chicken and veggie wraps and freshly churned ice cream.
Whether you were there to attend one or more of the of the interactive learnshops/workshops; to stop by and chat with the folks staffing the vendor and exhibitor booths; to take in the demonstrations that ranged from dairy-goat milking to beekeeping; or to just enjoy a day under the country sunshine, it was hard not to come away with an appreciation and new-found knowledge of Kentucky sustainable agriculture.
Berea College to open new farm store this fall
This fall area residents will be able to purchase organic vegetables, grains, beans, pork, chicken and more produced by Berea College students gaining hands-on farming experience while working their way through college.
The students previously sold such products at the campus bookstore and at farmers markets operated during the summer, but this fall they will be selling their wares from their own store, according to handouts provided by the students at this year’s Field to Fork Festival.
For more information on the new enterprise, go to www.BereaCollegeFarmStore.com.