The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is holding its first Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef competition.
The focus is to encourage students to learn how to create delicious, healthy dishes with Kentucky Proud products, and at the same time learn about agriculture and the importance of buying local foods.
The competition is open to students in grades 9 to 12 representing their high schools in teams of three to five. Recipes must contain at least five local ingredients. Entries will be judged by taste, appearance, creativity, best and most use of local ingredients, and ease. Recipes should be cost effective for preparation by school food service staff.
District competitions will be in April, and regionals are scheduled for May. Regional winners will compete during the Kentucky State Fair in August in Louisville. The deadline to enter is March 11. Rules are at Kyagr.com/consumer/farm-to-school.html. Call program coordinator Tina Garland at (502) 382-7505.
Food vendors at The Market
Kentucky Crafted: The Market will have food producers as well as crafters on Saturday and Sunday at the Lexington Convention Center. Go to 1.usa.gov/wsjW4B for details.
You may sample foods from these Kentucky Proud vendors:
■ Applecreek Orchards, Boone Creek Creamery, Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese, Kentucky Specialty Sauces and Screamin' Mimi's Salsa, all of Lexington.
■ Art Eatables, Cellar Door Chocolates and Shell-Bee's, all of Louisville.
■ Browning's Country Ham, Dry Ridge.
■ Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and Kentucky's Smokin' Grill, Danville.
■ Chrisman Mill Vineyards & Winery, Nicholasville.
■ Kentucky Silk Pie, Midway.
■ Mom Blakeman's Candy, Lancaster.
■ The Sweet Shoppe, Hodgenville.
■ Town & Country Specialty Foods, Bardstown.
Food fresh from the farm
The growing season has begun at Three Springs Farm in Carlisle. Farmers David Wagoner and Arwen Donahue have planted more than 1,000 seeds in flats, and a few beds in the garden have been tilled and sown for early crops.
From April through October, the farm provides its community supported agriculture, or CSA, shareholders with a range of fresh seasonal vegetables, plus occasional fruits. Pickup is in the parking lot at Temple Adath Israel, 124 North Ashland Avenue, Lexington.
The early harvest is April 17 through May 8 (four weeks).
"If you're interested in trying out a CSA but are uncertain about committing for an entire 20-week growing season, here's a way to get your feet wet," Wagoner said. "Spring harvests usually include a variety of cooking and salad greens, spring onions, radishes, asparagus and other items as available." Cost is $80.
The spring/summer harvest is 20 weeks, May 15 through Sept. 25
"This main harvest season will give you a sense of the abundance and variety of locally grown produce from spring to high summer to the beginning of fall," he said. The cost is $400 for 20 weeks (weekly deliveries) or $220 for 10 weeks (biweekly deliveries).
Deliveries will be made, rain or shine, to the temple parking lot between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Three Springs Farm is at 4252 Crooked Creek Road, Carlisle.
A taste of India
Seetha Subramanian will present an Indian cooking class from 6 to 9 p.m. March 13 at Fayette County Cooperative Extension Service, 1140 Red Mile Place. The topic is Vidya's sweet and spicy snacks, which are easy to make using regular and microwave ovens. Cost is $35. Proceeds go to the Swarna Gopal Rao Scholarship at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Foundation. Contact Subramanian at (859) 523-5696 or Ssubramanian0001@uky.edu.
A bourbon education
Consumers may learn all about bourbon — from distilling to culinary pairings — at The Bourbon Classic 2013. It will be March 22 and 23 at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, 501 West Main Street, Louisville. Events March 22 include the Cocktail Challenge, featuring contemporary and classic cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prepared by matched teams of chefs and master bartenders.
Education will be the focus March 23. Bourbon Classic University features sessions on "How the Barrel Influences the Bottle: Exploring Maturation and Bourbon Production," "Crafting the Perfect Cocktails (and Serving them Right)," "Balance and Flavor in Bourbon and Food" and "Culinary Tips for Bourbon on the Plate."
The Bourbon Market place offers bourbon tastings, food tastings, and culinary and bourbon- related products.
Participants include The Urban Bourbon Trail, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Four Roses Bourbon, Michter's Distillery, Town Branch Bourbons by Alltech, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Maker's Mark, Blanton's, Sullivan University National Center for Hospitality Studies, Spirits on Ice, and Wildcat Water.
Tickets are $135 to $195 a day. Go to Bourbonclassic.com or call the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, (502) 584-7777.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.