Food & Drink

Sharon Thompson: Lexington sixth-grader has a winning way with country ham

Emme Bradley, 11, has cured two grand champion hams.
Emme Bradley, 11, has cured two grand champion hams.

Eleven-year-old Emme Bradley likes to know where her food comes from, and she prefers to cook it herself.

For most youngsters, cooking means frying eggs or making pancakes, but Emme cures her own country ham.

As a member of Fayette County 4-H, Emme has won grand champion two years in a row for her cured hams. "Each year, I have cured two country hams. I take my best ham to the Kentucky State Fair," she said.

As part of the competition, she gave a speech on the history of the country ham. "Not only I am grand champion of Fayette County again, I placed sixth in my class overall at the state fair out of almost 80 competitors," said Emme, a sixth-grader at Southern Middle School.

"I decided to do the country ham project because I like to make my own food and know where my food comes from," she said. "I also like science, and this is like a science project you can eat."

Sustainability and justice

Consumers who are interested in local foods and farming can spend Saturday learning about sustainability and justice.

The 14th annual Healthy Foods, Local Farms conference will be 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kentucky Country Day School, 4100 Springdale Road, Louisville. Cost is $35. Call (270) 685-2034 or go to

Speakers include Barton Seaver, director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health; Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch; and Michele Morek, coalition coordinator for UNANIMA International, which advocates on behalf of women and children and the environment.

Wet-hopping to it

Country Boy Brewing is one of 50 breweries selected to participate in the Single Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival, hosted by Sierra Nevada Brewing, in Chico, Calif., on Oct. 19.

The festival will bring together specially selected breweries from around the nation to celebrate the hop harvest in Sierra Nevada's estate hop field by brewing their own wet hopped beers and bringing them to California.

"Wet-hopping refers to brewing a beer with hops that are fresh from the vine, which means they can only be brewed during the fall. Normally, beers are brewed with dried hops," Country Boy co-owner Daniel Harrison said.

The brewers at Country Boy, on Chair Avenue, took their Wet Hop Willie, an India pale ale, wet-hopped with Kentucky grown hops, to California.

"We have a great relationship with our friends at Tartan Meadows in Larue County and Revolutionary Hop Farm in Carter County and we're excited to introduce beer lovers from around the country not only to the beer that's being brewed in Kentucky but to the hops we're growing here as well," Harrison said. Go to

Focus on next generation

Next-generation farming is the topic of the 14th annual Kentucky Women in Agriculture conference.

The event will be Nov. 4 to 6 at Crowne Plaza Lexington-The Campbell House. The cost is $85, $65 for students; the reservation deadline is Oct. 23. Speakers include Debbie Lyons Blythe, the 2012 Monsanto Farm Mom of the Year, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Call 1-877-266-8823 or go to