If spring begins today, which is what the calendar says, then fresh produce can't be far behind.
Bluegrass Farmers Market will open Saturday at Azur Restaurant & Patio, 3070 Lakecrest Circle, with limited participation. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. they'll have lamb, baked goods, honey and pet treats. It still is looking for a new location to set up its expanded market. Bluegrassfarmersmarket.org
■ Lexington Farmers Market, which is open year-round at Cheapside Pavilion on Main Street, will have its spring kickoff on April 4 and 5, when spring greens, plant starts, asparagus, strawberries, radishes, green onions, and other veggies start to come in. In the meantime, it has coffee, breads, honey, eggs, pork, chicken, beef, goat and lamb available this Saturday.
■ Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort is bringing out another special Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. release: Cured Oak, a 17-year-old, 100 proof bourbon aged in cured oak barrels. The bottled-in-bond, small batch bourbon was aged in Taylor's warehouse "C" in barrels made of staves allowed to dry in the open air for 13 months, more than twice as long as standard barrel staves.
According to Buffalo Trace, it delivers an aroma rich with inviting tobacco and dried fruit, and a complex flavor with notes of vanilla, toffee and figs, followed by undertones of dry oak. Available late March in limited supply; suggested retail price is $69.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle.
■ The Friends of McConnell Springs and 16 wineries are sponsoring the eighth annual Wine Barrel Tasting for the Springs on March 28. For $20 you may sample wine in its final stages before bottling and release of the finished product. The wineries, all within an hour of Lexington, will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proceeds will help support the education, restoration and preservation programs at the park. Go to Mcconnellsprings.org or call (859) 272-0682.
■ At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Portofino, 249 East Main Street, will have a wine dinner featuring Stonestreet and Arrowood vineyards. Featured Stonestreet wines will be Broken Road Chardonnay, Terrace Ridge Semillion, Aurora Sauvignon Blanc, Cougar Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Christopher's Cabernet Sauvignon. Featured Arrowood wines include Late Harvest Riesling. The cost is $99, and includes a menu by executive chef Jordan Noel. Reservations required. (859) 253-9300.
■ Pho Saigon, 1555 East New Circle Road, in Woodhill Plaza Center, is open, serving authentic Vietnamese food. Take the Saigon Special C hallenge: Finish a $19.95 Saigon bowl and a soft drink in 30 minutes, and it's free. (859) 420-0162
■ Keeneland has announced that W. Bryan O'Shields will become managing director of Keeneland Hospitality. O'Shields previously was with KSL Resorts and with Fontainebleau Resort. In February, the track acquired the Kentucky division of Turf Catering, the track's on-site food and beverage operation, and formed Keeneland Hospitality.
■ KET will air a half-hour documentary, Thrive: The Kentucky Wine Tradition, about the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Extension grape and wine research.
"Did you know that the very first commercial vineyard in the United States was in Jessamine County? This project allowed us to see, firsthand, how UK is partnering with farmers across the state to support a resurgence of Kentucky's wine-making tradition," said producer Alicia Gregory.
The program will air at 3:30 p.m. March 29 on KET, 10:30 p.m. March 30 KET2 and on KETKY at various time through the first week of April.