Montgomery County won the fourth annual Farm to School Junior Chef championship cook-off last week at the Kentucky State Fair. “This year’s tournament was perhaps the most competitive we’ve ever had, and that reflects the growing enthusiasm for this program throughout the Commonwealth,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a news release. The Montgomery County team of Hayden Holley, Joy Pidgorodetska, MacKenzie Green and Gabby Hovatter won with Farmer’s Choice dirty rice. The three judges were from Sullivan University. Each Montgomery County team member won the opportunity for an $8,000 scholarship from Sullivan University, plus cookbooks and a $150 cash prize. Holley was named top chef of the tournament and won an additional $2,000 scholarship offer and cash award. The Junior Chef competition is part of the Kentucky Proud Farm to School Program, which helps Kentucky schools buy local food to serve to their students.
▪ The eighth annual Lexington Fest of Ales is 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion on Main Street. There will be more than 150 beers to sample from more than 60 breweries, including a special area featuring Kentucky breweries. A limited number of tickets, if still available, can be bought for $30 in advance at Pazzo’s, The Beer Trappe, Liquor Barns and Central Bank Thursday Night Live or by calling the Downtown Lexington Corp. at 859-335-8640.
▪ For September, Greentree Tea Room, 521 West Short Street, will have carrot and ginger soup; apple-walnut scone with apple butter; artichoke and Swiss quiche; southern pineapple, Italian chicken salad and cucumber-shrimp tea sandwiches; chocolate-dipped apricots, cinnamon oatmeal tea cookies and bananas Foster Pettit; and darjeeling tea. Luncheon tea is served at noon Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment. Seating on the patio by request. Reservations are required. Call 859-455-9660.
▪ Jessamine Growers Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Main and Rice in Wilmore, will have seasonal vegetables, local honey and eggs, cut flowers, perennials and trees.
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▪ Chevy Chase Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at 316 South Ashland Avenue, will have cut flowers, beer cheese, muffins, seasonal produce, meat and eggs.
▪ Bluegrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 3070 Lakecrest Circle and 1837 Plaudit Place, will have seasonal produce, honey, jams and jellies, baked goods, flowers, eggs and meat.
▪ Lexington Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Cheapside Park and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Southland Drive, will have seasonal produce, meats and eggs, bread and honey, plants and flowers.
Farmer’s Choice dirty rice
Montgomery County 4-H Culinary/Jr. Chef team, Montgomery County High
1 1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup wild grain or brown rice
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup carrots
3/4 cup canned diced tomato, drained
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 or 2 sweet banana peppers, diced
1/2 cup yellow squash, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place rice in boiling water to cook while preparing the rest of dish. Brown beef in large skillet, drain. Add garlic and onion. Cook about 2 minutes until onion begins to become transparent. Add carrots, tomatoes, all peppers, squash and zucchini. Mix thoroughly and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add cooked rice to beef mixture. Mix well, then add all remaining ingredients. Place baking dish in oven for 30 minutes or until heated to 165 degrees. Place on serving plate and garnish, if desired.