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Healthy eating

Farm-raised beef, homegrown veggies
added to Our House menu

Natural products
are growing in popularity

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

MILTON, Ky. (April 2010) – Like a lot of other individuals nowadays, Sherry Burkhardt likes to make health conscious decisions about the food she eats and the food she serves to others. Burkhardt has recently decided to “go green” by raising her own beef and vegetables to serve in her Milton, Ky., restaurant.

Sherry Burkhardt

Photo by Shelli Ratcliff

Milton, Ky.’s Sherry Burkhardt
plans to add organic beef and produce
to her Our House Restaurant menu.

Burkhardt has operated Our House Restaurant in Milton for the last seven years. She plans to use as much seasonal produce in her menu offerings this year as she can. “I’m going ‘green’ along with everybody else,” said Burkhardt. She said about 25 percent of the population makes the move towards more natural food choices each year.
“It’s also a good idea to start children out right, and offer such foods when available,” she said. The idea of eating organic, healthy foods receives so much publicity now, everyone is more aware of what they eat, she said. When it comes down to frozen versus fresh, the home-grown produce is “so much better for you.”
Burkhardt lives five miles from her resultant on a 200-plus-acre farm. Her family raises hay, corn and soybeans, and she plans to raise a large garden this year and incorporate heirloom tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, corn, grapes, raspberries and strawberries in her dishes.
Menu items will include strawberry shortcake, broccoli casserole, raspberry cobbler, chicken salad with grapes and tomatoes on the side, and choice cuts of Angus beef including half-pound, quarter and Manhattan-style.
She had considered participating in the Farmer’s Market of Madison this year but changed her mind due to construction on the Milton-Madison Bridge project. But bridge construction will not deter other farmers who will be there on opening day on the third Saturday in April.
“We have several vendors from across the river that will just come the long way around,” said Dave Adams, manager for the Farmers Market of Madison. “We’d like to get more people involved, locally.”
The Farmers Market of Madison will run through the last week of October at the Broadway Fountain. “We’ve expanded to the north side of the fountain,” said Adams.
The farmers market set up over the winter months for the first time and was pretty successful, said Adams. It was a big undertaking, something that had not been planned until late fall, but it worked relatively well.
In addition to fresh produce and farm-raised beef, many things will carry over from the winter market to the summer market such as live music, crafts by local artists, and breakfast provide by Paradise Cove Catering. The owners of Paradise Cove, Gary and Suzan Duckworth, are considering selling lunch, said Adams.
The farmers market is considering the addition of a canopied area for the public library to set up in to provide story hour and books for children. “We want to draw in different groups and educate them,” Adams said.
About 25 farmers participate in the Farmers Market of Madison. It is the oldest farmers market in Indiana and began in 1809. For a fee of $25 a year, farmers can sell their extra produce and earn extra income.
“People like to come and talk and get to know the farmers,” Adams said of the markets’ long-lasting popularity. “It’s a social thing for them.”
A new feature at this year’s market will be home-based vendors. These vendors will bake their products at home and sell them at the market, but they will not need to be inspected by the Health Department because of a new rule in Indiana. The products only need to be labeled, Adams said.
He is excited about another venture that has finally become a reality, a community garden. The city has recently acquired land near the state hospital to implement a community garden. Initial plans had called for installing the garden at the airport, but too many restrictions prevented this from happening.
“There are a lot of veteran farmers who would love to share information,” for such a project, said Adams. “A lot of younger families are now involved in the farmer’s market as well.”
La Grange has also seen a shift in more individuals wanting organic beef and produce. The La Grange Farmers’ & Artisan Market will open May 15 and run through October. Like the Farmers Market of Madison, it, too, offers extras such as baked goods, cut flowers and work by several local artists.
“There is a good variety of homegrown produce,” said Market Manager Russ Morris. Vendors from surrounding counties also participate in the market, which has more than 30 vendors throughout the year. “The produce you’re buying is freshly picked and grown locally.”
Most of the food vendors are designated as selling Kentucky Proud Products. Throughout the season, the market has several promotions including Customer Appreciation Day and Market-Basket Day.
Some of the farmers (Foxhollow Farms and Sunshine Farms) do supply local restaurants such as Arbor Ridge Vine & Grill with fresh produce, said Morris. “But a lot of people are not even aware we have a local market.”

• For more information on the Farmers Market of Madison, contact Dave Adams at (812) 265-8316 or (812) 599-1495. For more information on the La Grange Farmers’ & Artisans Market, contact Russ Morris at (502) 243-3721.

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