2016 Appalachian Food Summit In Berea Kentucky

Legendary Roadside Fried Chicken Joint In London Kentucky

Legendary Roadside Fried Chicken Joint In London Kentucky

The 3rd annual Appalachian Food Summit is coming to Berea, Kentucky the weekend of September 16th 2016. I spent a fair amount of time in Berea when I was a kid growing up in the Cumberland Highlands of southeastern Kentucky. In the region, Berea is viewed somewhat suspiciously as a liberal outpost where men grow their hair long and VW Micro-buses are common modes of transport.

If you don’t fit in in your rural Kentucky hamlet and don’t have the money to migrate to San Francisco or New Orleans then Berea might be a tolerant place for you to rest your head at night.

Berea College was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South,

Earlier today I put a pair of big hog jowls that I bought from the Berea College Farm Store in a cure of pink salt in the bottom of my fridge. I then made a breakfast of grits that I bought from the same market. I visited Berea twice last month and was fortunate to spend a morning hanging out with Sean Clark, the farm director at Berea College. That Farm Store is a sight to behold, stocked to the rafters with fresh produce, grains grown and milled on the farm and coolers filled with sustainably grown and humanely slaughtered meats.

I nearly spent my entire July grocery budget in there.

Next month, a group of farmers, writers, food historians, chefs and plain old mountain folks will descend on Berea for the 3rd annual Appalachian Food Summit the weekend of September 16th. There’ll be a soup beans and cornbread supper by Chef Edward Lee and Louisville’s Smoke & Soul Pop Up on that Friday.

The next morning beginning at 9:30am the summit will swing back into motion with talks by Gurney Norman, Toni Tipton Martin and Steven Alvarez.

I took a series of classes called A Taste Of African Heritage from Ms. Martin in Austin, Texas and she is a compelling presence on the dais.

Steven Alvarez is a University of Kentucky professor whom I featured here in an article on his efforts to teach taco literacy to university students in Kentucky.

Gurney Norman, a Hazard, Kentucky native penned the counterculture classic “Divine Right’s Trip” which appeared in the 1971 “Last Whole Earth Catalog” It’s required reading for folks who dig Herbert Huncke or other drugged-up, adventure-seeking scribes.

Saturday’s activities conclude with a grand feast produced by chef Travis Milton (who’s standing on the edge of the big time with his large-scale Bristol, Tennessee project slated to open in 2017) as well as Ouita Michel (Holly Hill Inn), Wayne Riley (Grow Appalachia) and Ashley Capps (formerly at Eleven Madison Park) .

I have a distinct feeling that salt-cured ham, greasy beans and sour cornbread could be coming out of that dream team kitchen. And if the stars align perfectly then perhaps Ms Capps will make her world-beating butterscotch pie as a grace note to the summit.

Here’s information on how to attend.

A note to attendees. Berea, Kentucky now allows the sale of alcohol in restaurants and cafes.

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This entry was posted in The Rural South and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2016 Appalachian Food Summit In Berea Kentucky

  1. Ronni Lundy says:

    Looking forward to seeing you there; thank you for the thoughtful write-up!

  2. RL Reeves Jr says:

    Looking forward to finally meeting you Miss Ronni. rl

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