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Kentucky Local Foods

Guide to Kentucky Local Foods

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From Kentucky's seasons to farmers market directories to recipes for state specialties (mint julep, anyone?), the guide below is a great place to start learning about eating locally in Kentucky.

Have a favorite thing about eating locally in Kentucky you don't see here? Tell us about it!

Kentucky Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

Photo © Molly Watson
See what's in season when with this guide to Kentucky Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables, whether it's crispy apples, sweet melons, or pods of okra.

Kentucky Farmers Markets

Photo © Molly Watson
Locate a farmers market near you in Kentucky with this directory to Kentucky Farmers Markets.

Kentucky Mint Juleps

Photo © Molly Watson
I once ordered a mint julep in mint julep territory. The bartender very kindly asked me if I was certain that I knew what that was. Yes, I assured him, I did indeed. "Miss," he said gently, "it's a strong drink." He had clearly had more than one Yankee girl order what sounded like a sweet and fluffy drink only to send it back after one powerful, boozy sip. Check out this Mint Julep recipe to make your own.

Kentucky Burgoo

Burgoo is a stew, and originated with hunters having what might be called a variety of meats to throw in the pot. Squirrel, raccoon, duck, and venison all have their place in burgoo's history. Many cooks today use a mixture of chicken with pork, beef, and/or lamb, but game and game birds can be found in many a version throughout the state. Like most stews, most anything can be added to burgoo, but peas and/or beans and okra are almost always part of the mix.

Kentucky Bourbon

Bourbon takes its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky. It has a rich, if not completely clear, history. The most well-known distillers of bourbon today are Maker's Mark and Jim Beam, but many smaller and artisan distillers turn grain into whiskey (which must be 51% corn and aged in charred barrels to be called "bourbon") in Kentucky and neighboring states.

Kentucky Derby Pie

The Kern Family made Derby Pie famous (and are aggressive about protecting its trademark status). But bourbon, chocolate, and nuts baked into a pie can be done many ways that admirably mimics Kentucky's most famous dessert.

Kentucky Cuisine & Recipes

This primer on Kentucky cuisine from Diane Rattay, About.com's Guide to Southern Food, covers all the basics of food and cooking in the Bluegrass State - from cooking with bourbon to Stew, ham biscuits and more.

Kentucky Local Foods Resources

Want more? These organizations, web sites, and books will help you find even more local foods in Kentucky.

  • Kentucky Proud has an easily searchable database of locally made (and grown) products in the state, courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. It's a great way to find local foods in Kentucky from baked goods and eggs to vegetables and wine.
  • Find ideas and inspiration about local foods in Kentucky on the blog Savoring Kentucky.
  • The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook by Maggie Green is a month-by-month seasonal cookbook that offers up ultra-fresh, very simple, regionally-bound recipes (check prices).

Kentucky Favorites: Ale-8-One Ginger Ale

Regional soda pops used to be a great treat of traveling. There are fewer and fewer all the time, but Kentucky's own Ale-8-One Ginger Ale, made in Winchester, hangs on as it has since 1926.

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