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Aug 26

Eat, Drink, Laugh Local: Farmers’ Fair and Brew Ha Ha

This Saturday is a big day for eating, drinking, and laughing local.

Last year was the first year for the Covington Farmers’ Fair. It was so successful, they’ve brought it back for a second year, and it’s bigger than ever.Headlining the event is Ed Begley, Jr. I know, I was surprised too. I thought he was some guy from a hospital/soap that my parents watched back in the ’80s. Apparently, he’s been working ever since and currently has a show on the Planet Green channel called “Living with Ed”.  It’s a reality show about trying to live “green” in Hollywood.

Photo from FarmersFair.org

The Farmers’ Fair is a daylong street fair and farmers market celebrating the local food culture. “Farmers’ Fair is a unique opportunity for those of us who have lost touch with our farming and food-producing roots to see the entire process from seed to plate” said Valerie Taylor, co-chair of the event. Paticipating vendors include Bees and Sweets, Carriage House Farm, Dad’s Favorite Cheeses, Dojo Gelato, Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, Napoleon Ridge Farm, The Sensitive Epicure Gluten Free Bakery, and many more.  Chefs from Local 127, Lavomatic, Chalk, and more will also be participating.  Finally, Berlin Reed from Oregon will be there. He’s the Ethical Butcher, and people, he’s going to be talking/cooking about “The Bacon Gospel.” Mmmm … bacon.

Don’t forget that eating local is also about drinking local. The two local wineries participating will be Elk Creek Winery and Stonebrook. You can find Kevin and myself pouring for Stonebrook in the morning to mid-afternoon. After that, blog readers just like yourself will be pouring. (Thanks gang!) Not enough for you? Josh Durr, cocktail master extraordinaire from Tonic on 4th, will also be there.

The fair features a farmers market, cooking demonstrations, chefs pairing with local farmers (food samples!), educational booths, and a live performance by the Comet Bluegrass Allstars. There’s even a children’s area with face painting, seed planting (and other educational things), and most importantly, a petting farm. I’m so finding myself a pony to pet.

Much to my surprise, this event doesn’t take place on Mainstrasse. Instead, it’s in the Greenup Street area (um, Roebling Entertainment District), located at the foot of the Suspension Bridge. The bridge, by the way, is currently open to foot traffic. Admission is free and the event will be held rain or shine, 10am to 10pm. Proceeds from the Farmers’ Fair benefit Central Ohio River Valley Food Guide (CORV), Slow Food Cincinnati, Ohio Valley Foodshed Project and the Future Farmers of America Northern Kentucky Chapter: Boone, Campbell & Kenton.

Once you’ve spent your day at the Farmers’ Fair, follow us and head on over to Brew-Ha-Ha at Sawyer Point. This is more of a beer thing, so I’m not going to spend too much time on it. But Kevin and I have gone every year and we never fail to have a good time, sampling beer, socializing with friends, and listening to the occasional comic. There’s a wide range of beer for sampling, so hopefully this year I can get Kevin to write up a post.

Brew Ha Ha 2009, from Bob Schwartz (http://5chw4r7z.blogspot.com)

Brew-Ha-Ha is both Friday and Saturday evenings. On Saturday, join the fun from 4pm – midnight with 50 comedians on 3 stages and a selection of 80 beers from which to choose. Wristbands are $5 and beer tickets are $1 each. One beer ticket equals 1 beer sample, and 4 beer tickets equals a full serving. Beer ticket sales stop at 10:30p.m. and beer dispensing stops promptly at 11:00p.m.

It’s easy to either walk to Brew-Ha-Ha or, as we’re going to do, leave our car in Covington and take the Southbank Shuttle to the event.

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Aug 21

Wanna pour some wine?

Your help is needed! I got a call today from one of the organizers of the Covington Farmer’s Fair. I’ll do a bigger post on Farmer’s Fair next week, but for now, just know it’s a really neat (and big) event promoting sustainable living and eating / buying local.

It takes place next Saturday, Aug 28, from 10 am to 10 pm. There’s one small local winery that would really like to be there, but because of harvest, has to pull out unless they can find folks to pour for them. You’d have to sell the wine (take money), so we need you to be trust worthy, and you can probably get up to speed pretty fast.

Kevin and I will be pouring for them in morning through mid-afternoon, I think. However, we have plans for that evening. Is there anyone out there that might want to pour from roughly 3 or 5 pm until 10 pm? If there are enough folks, maybe we can split into more shifts. This is a fun local winery, based over in Alexandria (hint, hint), and I’d really like to have them at the Fair.

As a bonus, the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars will be playing from 5-10 pm, so you’ll get a free concert while you’re pouring.

Let me know ASAP in the comments or via email.


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Posted by Michelle at 11:06 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local, Local Wineries | Permalink | Comments (3)
Aug 18

Harmony Hill Comes Downtown

This is one of the strangest combinations I’ve come across. Harmony Hill Vineyards is coming to the Mainstay Rock Bar downtown. I know Harmony Hill does the music thing, but hmm …. Regardless of how strange I think the combination, I’m certainly going to be there. After all, the most important thing about this event is that the wine from out in Bethel will be exposed to folks in downtown Cincinnati. I’m all for that!

The event costs $20 and includes a wine tasting (flight I assume) from Harmony Hill and a chance to meet and greet with the winemaker, Bill Skvarla. Bill is an absolute hoot, and explains the science behind wine better than anyone I’ve met. So take this closer-to-home chance to meet him. Your $20 also gets you a selection of paired appetizers prepared by Mainstay.

Come to the party on Thursday, September 16, from 6-8 pm. Mainstay is located on the corner of 5th and Plum, at 301 West 5th Street. Tickets are available at the door.

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Posted by Michelle at 2:38 pm in Local, Local Wineries, Meet the Winemaker, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (2)
Aug 06

Rabbit Hash and Wine … and a Dog

What? Sort of a weird combination isn’t it?

A couple of weeks back, I had my first visit to Rabbit Hash on the back of a friend’s bike as we rode in the 2nd Annual Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Poker Run. I fell in love with the place … of course, a hundred Harleys everywhere helped a bit with the ambiance.

If you haven’t been to Rabbit Hash, it’s hard to explain. It’s small, old-timey, full of character, and apparently home to a rather liberal-walk-around-the-street alcohol policy. Everyone was friendly. There was a cop stationed on the porch of the General Store, but we figure he was there to combat stupidity (don’t go falling into the river) as opposed to breaking up fights. I know they occasionally have rockabilly concerts at the store as well. In Rabbit Hash you can generally get burgers, hot dogs, beer, and now … wine.

I had noticed where the wine shop was going to open. I mean, there are only about 4 or 5 buildings, so it wasn’t hard to miss. The stairs leading up to the second floor shop read off different types of wines, including fruit wines. When I found out today that Curtis Sigretto of Elk Creek was opening the shop, I wasn’t surprised. Elk Creek is actually the perfect winery for that spot. Why? They offer more than just vinifera. By offering the fruit wines, they’ll appeal to a wider base of consumer.

Now, almost everyone around here has heard of Rabbit Hash (I’m pretty sure they’ve got a large marketing budget) and of course, they’re famous for their mayor. Elected in 2008, the current mayor is an adorable red and white border collie named Lucy Lou. It looks like Elk Creek is going to bottle several special editions of their wines with the dog on the label – yep, the Rabbit Hash branded wines will be called Mayor’s Select.

According to Cincinnati.com, the new wines aren’t all ready yet, but will be soon. The store itself opened July 25. The article goes on to quote Curtis as having some big plans,

There are plans to have a Rabbit Hash wine club and there is talk about having a Rabbit Hash wine festival, according to Sigretto.

“The Rabbit Hash wine festival will feature and celebrate Kentucky grown grapes and the processing of Kentucky owned vineyards and wineries,” Clare said.

Store hours are 11-7 pm, Thursday through Sunday, and hours may change for special events.

Editor’s Note: Elk Creek Winery is a frequent advertiser on this blog. At the time of this publication, they are not running an ad. In the interest of full disclosure, they have also been a past social marketing client of mine, although not for several months. I generally try to avoid writing articles that involve my advertisers or clients.  This is, however, news and not a review, and the dog is cute.

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Posted by Michelle at 7:39 am in Cincinnati, Local, Local Wineries | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jun 28

Guest Post: A Year in a Vineyard

Here is another guest post from contributor Nancy Bentley, co-owner of the wonderful Kinkead Ridge Winery in Ripley, OH.
Have you ever wondered about a typical year at an estate vineyard and small boutique winery? Since 2007, Kinkead Ridge winery in Ripley has been uploading video to youtube. The main movie, which has been viewed over 16,000 times, is called “A Vineyard Year” and details what happens from pruning through bottling through harvest.

Another video, “The Romance of the Vineyard” (tongue in cheek!)  was a finalist in the Wine Spectator’s first video contest, and my prize was a ticket to the New York Wine Experience in Times Square.

There are approximately 40 very short “mini-movies” that show specific tasks, e.g. punchdown, post pounding, bottling, barrel movement, the flail mower, cane pruning, vine tucking and tying, bottle delivery, hedging and more. Grab a glass of wine, go to youtube.com, search for “Kinkead Ridge” and have fun!

Kinkead Ridge continues to garner international recognition, and will be featured in Opus Vino, an illustrated wine reference book to be published by Dorling Kindersley, who specialize in full-color reference publishing. The books are translated into all major languages and distributed throughout the world. Opus Vino is due for publication in the UK, US and Australia in October 2010, with foreign language editions in 2011 and 2012.

– Nancy Bentley

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Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Guest Writers, Local Wineries, Wine Misc, Wineries | Permalink | Comments ()

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