Heartland Chia in Simpson County is developing a versatile crop; get a taste of Kentucky’s regional dishes though Kentucky Tourism and chef Ouita Michel; Farmer Brown Tha’ MC mixes rap, agriculture, and the classroom to make tasty jams; and tree huggers are welcome to support the work of Central Kentucky’s Venerable Trees.
Growing Chia in Kentucky
Chia is a popular ingredient in smoothies and snacks thanks to its reputation as a super food. It has very specific growing needs, but thanks to researchers at the University of Kentucky, it’s now a viable crop in the commonwealth.
“Chia was one of the staple foods of the Aztec Indians thousands of years ago,” says Chris Kummer of Kentucky Specialty Grains. “Chia is native to the higher, arid elevations of Central and South America. It’s traditionally been grown within about 15 degrees either side of the equator.”
The Year of Kentucky Food
2018 is the Year of Kentucky Food, and Kentucky Life host Doug Flynn visited Honeywood, one of the new restaurants in Lexington’s The Summit at Fritz Farm, to find out more about it.
Honeywood is one of several Central Kentucky restaurants run by Kentucky chef Ouita Michel. The location and the food bring traditional southern hospitality to a new type of customer.
As you walk around Central Kentucky, look up. You’ll see some towering trees that have been growing in the area for centuries.
Tom Kimmerer, chief scientist for Venerable Trees, Inc., says that Central Kentucky has possibly the largest population of ancient trees of any inhabited place in North America. He explains that when settlers arrived in the region, there were already open fields that they could use as pastures, and so they didn’t clear the land the way settlers in other areas did. That means that many of the trees that stood at that time were spared and still exist today.
Farmer Brown Tha MC
Trevor Claiborn is a farm technician and interim extension assistant at Kentucky State University’s College of Agriculture. But when he’s out educating kids about food and farming, he becomes Farmer Brown Tha MC.
“Farmer Brown is a culmination of a bunch of different experiences I’ve had during my time at the College of Agriculture at KSU as well as personal experiences,” says Claiborn. He shares a story about his young niece that describes why he’s so inspired to get kids interested in agriculture.