Botanical Gardens, Cider Brewery, and Singer-Songwriter Kelsey Waldon!

By Joyce West | 4/16/17 9:00 AM

Boyce General Store serves up great food and excellent pie in Warren County. Kentucky Life host Doug Flynn learns about making apples in to hard cider at Pivot Brewing in Lexington. Owensboro’s Western Kentucky Botanical Garden is a beautiful spot for the whole community to enjoy. Ballard County native Kelsey Waldon is taking her music to Nashville and a nationwide tour.

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Boyce General Store
A 10-mile drive outside Bowling Green will bring you to Boyce General Store in the community of Alvaton. “It’s a small community and we stick together. The store’s the only thing out here—you can’t miss it,” said Brad Golliher, who with his wife, Brie, bought the store in 2012.

The store was established about 150 years ago as a trading post. “We’re here today because we decided to kind of save this piece of Americana, and hopefully take it to the next level and people can continue to see how important these places are,” he said. “People come for the food, but stay for the socializing,” he adds.

Jane Jones, Brie’s grandmother, said the store has a lot of history. “There’s several of us here that still have the memories of how it was back when,” she said. “And it’s very special to us.” Jones is part of the “Golden Girls breakfast group,” a group of women who attended school across the street from the store. “The art of conversation is gone now. But we keep it alive here at this store,” she aid.

The Gollihers were looking for a place to expand Brie’s pie business. “Brie, the pie queen, was making a lot of sweets. … We were quickly running out of space and decided to start looking for a commercial space to host her kitchen,” said Brad.

Brie grew up down the road from the general store, and when it went up for sale, the couple decided to take a chance and buy it. “We sell cheeseburgers and fried chicken, and her pies as well,” he said.

Brie makes traditional pies and adds new ones occasionally. Coconut cream pie is their best seller, she said, and each week, they make 200-400 mini-pies. “If someone says a pie tastes just like something their grandma made, that’s the ultimate compliment for me,” said Brie.
Brad is the front man for the store. “My mom gifted me with the gift of gab, so I can pretty much talk to anyone and any inanimate object.”

The store was a blank slate, so the couple brought in their collectibles from home, such as vintage toys, cola bottles and signs. “It just kind of fit into what this store already looked like,” Brad said. The store has the original shelving and paneled walls.

The store also has customers’ personal coffee mugs hanging from hooks. “Just like you’ve got your favorite parking spot at work, or you’ve got your favorite robe at home, people have got their favorite coffee mugs,“ he said. “To me that means that they’ve made this place home.“

Pivot Brewing Company
Pivot Brewing Company is the first cider brewery in Lexington. Bevin Morgan, director of sales and marketing, said Pivot is one of only two cider breweries in Kentucky. “We are the only brewery in Kentucky that presses apples on site to make our cider here,” she said.

The apples come from Boyd Orchards in Versailles. Hard cider is made by fermenting the apple juice with yeast to make an alcoholic beverage, Morgan said.

The apples are stored cold, then brought to room temperature when it’s time to press them. The apples are washed twice. “Then we actually grind the apple whole, so we get the skins, the stem, and the seeds, everything, to create what’s called the pumace, or the pulp from the apple, she said.

That pumace is pumped onto cheesecloth, Morgan said, wrapped up, and then the cheesecloths are stacked onto pallets. From there, the press squeezes the juice through the cloths. “We can get up to 400 gallons of juice in that one day,” she said.

The juice is pumped down into 120-barrel fermentation tanks, Morgan said, where yeast is added. “We allow it to ferment anywhere from two and a half weeks to several months, depending on the type of product that we’re looking for.”

Cider is complex, Morgan said, somewhat like wine. “You can have basically different vintages,” she said. “So with the different apples, you get different flavors, different levels of sugar, and those sugars ferment down to create different styles of cider.”
Pivot Brewing has hard ciders from pretty sweet to dry and tart.-

Because Kentucky has a very short apple growing season, the brewery staggers the pressing process. “We’ll actually be brewing beer here to fill in for those times of year where we just can’t get our apples to press,” she said.

In fact, Morgan said, not many cider apples are grown in the United States. During Prohibition, cider apple orchards were cut down and burned to the ground. “After Prohibition, it was a lot easier to start making beer again, because you can plant a field of wheat and it will come back in a year. Well, it takes decades to grow an apple orchard,” she said.

Cider has made a comeback with the craft food movement, Morgan said. The brewery has tried adding pear and cherry juices to the cider. And the head cider maker has hinted that he might try adding tea to the hard cider.

Western Kentucky Botanical Garden
In 1993, a local group of master gardeners in Daviess County dreamed of a botanical garden. William Tyler, board member of Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, and his wife donated the original 8 acres to create the now 9-acre garden.

Tyler said the gardens are divided into 13 different gardens, including a rose garden, children’s garden, daylily display garden, and herb garden. “They come in season at different times, and they look their peak at different times,” he said.

People from all over come to see the gardens. “Especially in the spring, we have people from Michigan and Wisconsin. They come down wanting to see something green,” he said.

Darren Peach, hospitality service director of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the garden is a great asset for the community. “Whether it’s using this as an event space, or knowing that they’ve really got some strong educational programming for your children…from a quality of life standpoint, this is a great asset.”

Peach said the community takes pride in the gardens. “Many of the buildings and the art you see around the gardens has been gifted here,” he said.

Tyler said gardening is wonderful therapy. “With gardening you have to be involved. And you have to be involved every day. Things change every day. Then if you start looking at flowers and trying to understand how they’re put together, and the scientific aspect of it–it’s just a wonder.”

Peach said many visitors are surprised a city the size of Owensboro has such a large botanical garden. “Anytime anyone comes here, they always leave positive feedback and say had a great experience here.”

The garden is open 9 am-3 pm during the growing season, from March until mid-November.

Kelsey Waldon
Country music artist Kelsey Waldon grew up in Monkey’s Eyebrow playing piano and guitar. Now the country music artist has two critically acclaimed albums and tour dates scheduled across the country.

Waldon moved to Nashville out of high school, earned a degree from Belmont University, and came out with her first album, “The Goldmine,” in 2014. Now she has a new album, “I’ve Got a Way.”

Waldon started playing music as a child. “All my family members said I took a liking to it at a really young age,” she said. She played piano by ear at the age of 3, and guitar at age 12. “My first big band was the Beatles and stuff like that,” she said.

Her grandmother, Peggy Sue Rollins Piper, recalled that Kelsey’s babysitter had a piano. “She kept her from daylight till dark, five days a week, and so they spent a lot of time at the piano,” she said. “And I credit Beverly Pickett, her babysitter, with a lot of that. Plus the fact that she definitely must have been born with that ability because on both sides of my family, there was music. I think it was definitely in her DNA.”

Waldon said some songs take five minutes to write, others take months. “I might be thinking of a line for three weeks in my head before write it down, you know? And the ones that take longer to write, I guess they were meant to be that way,” she said. “They just all come in different ways. Inspiration’s everywhere.”

Artist and musician Vickie Vaughn said Waldon is an open book. “She carries her influences with her,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where she is, she’ll get an idea and she’ll just take off with it.”

Musician Nathan Lynn said Waldon is a great representative of the musical styles of Western Kentucky. “Her roots like here in Western Kentucky, in the sloughs and backwaters and cypress trees and the hills here. And I think that those things speak through her,” he said.

When she was 12, she wrote her first song, copying Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” “Just because I didn’t really know how yet. But I was getting there. … And I’ve worked on it ever since. Sharpening that knife, and kind of trying to perfect that craft for me.”

Kelly Piper Harris, her mother, said her daughter is a deep thinker. “I think it’s an art,” she said. “I don’t think everybody is given that ability and I do think she has it.”

Lynn said Waldon is following her passion. “When you see Kelsey performing out live or in the studio or you hear her on an album, you can always tell that she’s enjoying what she’s doing.”
Waldon is grateful for the opportunities. “I think the real reward is just being able to do what you love for a career,” she said.