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No Title 757

Ah, the holidays…no matter what those shop-till-you-fill-your-list commercials say, that four-letter word—F-O-O-D—is the focus, mittens down.

And if you’d rather spend time decorating the tree and fa-la-la-ing than sweating over a steamy stove and fighting mall traffic, Kentucky producers can save you time, legwork, and gasoline. Just a quick phone call or Web visit, and goodies for family, friends, and clients, or for your own hearth and pantry, will arrive right at your door.

We’ve divided the festive foods into categories—meats, desserts, candies, gift baskets, and general Kentucky food products—and provided a handy resource listing for quick reference. Don’t waste any time…happy ordering!

Just desserts
A family legacy, the Kentucky Bourbon Nut Cake is a tradition passed from mother to daughter. The recipe for this moist holiday dessert and its Bourbon Butter Sauce came from the great-great-grandmother of Henderson resident Betsy Wells-Jones.

Five years ago, she and husband Johnny, a manager for American Materials, teamed up with doctors Mark and Holly Vickers, and Bob and Rhonda LeGate (a real estate broker and a portrait artist, respectively) to grow the Kentucky Bourbon Nut Cake Company.

“My mother made the cake in her kitchen in Versailles for seven or eight years,” says Wells-Jones, a stay-at-home mom who tends a farm and three kids.

“Three or four women would help her wrap, package, and ship them. When the six of us got together, we said, ‘How did one woman do this?’ We’re floored that she could do it by herself!”

Made with fresh eggs, pure butter, dates, pineapple, pecans, “secret spices,” and of course, fine Kentucky bourbon, the cake has no preservatives at all and is shipped right from the oven twice-wrapped, the five-pounder in a reusable tin, and the two-pounder in a nice presentation box. Don’t forget to order the rich Bourbon Butter Sauce, which, Wells-Jones says, “is vital. It takes the cake to another level.”

Darlene’s Bakery in Henderson actually bakes the cake, which is not your run-of-the-mill fruitcake. “The Kentucky Bourbon Nut Cake is nothing like a fruitcake,” Wells-Jones explains. “A lot of people put cherries and candied fruit in their fruitcake, but ours has five cups of chopped Georgia pecans and chunks of pineapple and dates. It’s not a fruitcake.”

For a real holiday fruitcake, look to the monks at Gethsemani Farms in Trappist, and for other desserts, Burke’s Bakery in Danville, or Valentine’s Ice Cream in Winchester.

Prized Kentucky Ham
Finchville Farms Country Hams hadn’t taken top honors at the Kentucky State Fair in nine years before nabbing the grand championship in 2003. That made the victory as sweet as its sugar-cured country hams for president Bill Robertson, whose father, Finchville’s postmaster and a country grocery store owner, began the business in 1947.

“The state fair ham contest is the toughest in the nation,” he says. “A North Carolina ham producer judged it this year and he said he wasn’t coming back for awhile because the competition was so tough. He said the hams were so close and so far superior to anything produced in North Carolina.”

Strictly a country ham producer, Robertson says his product is naturally aged for a year using his dad’s recipe of salt, brown sugar, and peppers, with no nitrites used in the curing process. Longer aging gives Finchville Farms Country Hams a more intense flavor, Robertson explains.

“They’re closely related to what the early settlers produced,” he says, “much like what people were accustomed to prior to and during the Civil War. It’s a very distinct flavor.”

About $250,000 worth of distinct, to be exact. Each year, the grand champion ham is sold at a Kentucky Farm Bureau country ham breakfast state fair event in Louisville, with all proceeds going to the charity of the top bidder’s choice. This year, the Brown-Forman Company beat out PNC Bank to best the previous record price of $118,000.

“The bidding got real exciting,” Robertson says. “Our industry is so small, most of us that are commercial pork producers are friends behind the counter and competitors over the counter. Now I’ve got bragging rights!”

Some other pork product sources include Broadbent B&B Foods in Cadiz, Jim David Meats in Uniontown, and Ballance Country Hams in Oakland.

Visions of sugarplums
With no retail or fudge-making experience whatsoever, Jan and Ken Wells purchased Country at Heart & Old Town Fudge Company in Prestonsburg two years ago on a wing and a prayer…literally. “We prayed,” says Jan, “and so many doors opened that we knew we were in the right place.”

At that time, the fudge-making machines were already in place and the previous owner had left a few recipes. The Wellses got busy, learned new skills, and added new recipes. These days the business is fast becoming a favorite stop for groups touring Prestonsburg and for locals who stop by the shop’s coffee and espresso bar for a cap- puccino, latte, or chai tea, and a bite of the Wellses’ luscious fudge.

Just a random sample of their fabulous array of flavors includes big-seller Tiger Butter (vanilla fudge swirled with peanut butter), milk chocolate, peanut butter, maple, Creamsicle, chocolate black walnut, chocolate coconut, Heavenly Goo (chocolate, vanilla, and caramel swirled), an assortment of cheesecake flavors, and many sugar-free fudges.

Seasonal fudge offerings include Key lime pie, and for the holidays, pumpkin pie.

“My husband makes all the fudge,” laughs Jan. “I do the swirling! I’ve eaten a lot of different fudge and ours is really good. We use only the best ingredients, like pure butter. You can’t use margarine. We use Jif peanut butter, fresh nuts, and flavorings. We never skimp on our ingredients.”

Country at Heart has begun selling its fudge in the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg, and in some eastern Kentucky convenient stores and truck stops, as well as mail-ordering it.

“People ask my husband how he makes it so good. ‘Do you put your finger in it?’ they ask. I say, ‘The Lord’s got His finger in it.’”

You can also sate your sweet tooth with orders of other sweets from Kentucky Kandy Kitchen in Maysville, Mom Blakeman’s in Lancaster, and Rebecca-Ruth Candies in Frankfort, as well as from a variety of other vendors.

A Tisket, A Tasket, Look What’s in the Basket
Bigger is not always better. Just ask the Kentucky Nut Corporation, a family-owned business in the small western Kentucky Mississippi River town of Hickman.

Birthed in 1940 as Roper Pecan and passionately managed from 1952 until early this year by the late Robert King Phebus, who put it on the map, the company is known for its Kentucky Kernel Munchin’ Pecans, small pecan halves with a great big flavor. The secret to the wonderful taste of these pecans, says Tim Langford, who with his wife Karen became partners in the company in 1995, is that they sell only new crop wild seedling pecans.

“Although they aren’t the largest pecan in size,” he says, “they exceed all other varieties in taste because of their high oil content. This natural oil is the flavor of the pecan. The higher the oil content, the sweeter the flavor.”

Years ago, this rich river bottomland boasted acres of pecan trees, but with progress came crop diversification. Soybean fields replaced most of the area’s pecan orchards.

“We don’t buy old pecans,” explains Ann Freeman, Kentucky Nut office manager. “We wait for new ones in the fall from other states along the river. When pecans would still be on the trees here, we’re shipping in those that come from farther south.”

At its height, the business became the fifth or sixth largest pecan operation in the nation, employing 110 people during its busy season, October to January. The workforce now seasonally swells from Freeman, who holds down the fort the rest of the year, to eight people come fall. But numbers don’t tell the story, as this tiny company still ships its luscious nuts in tins, boxes, and gift baskets all over the world.

For other custom and corporate gift baskets, contact the Elmwood Inn in Perryville, Southern Delight Gourmet Foods in Bowling Green, Taste of Kentucky in Louisville, Close to Home Gifts in London, or any of the other 20 or more companies listed below who prepare and ship gift baskets.


Just Desserts

Burke’s Bakery
121 West Main St.
Danville, KY 40422
(859) 236-5661
Coffee cakes, loaf cakes, gingerbread men, Christmas cookies, breads, and butter biscuits.

Gethsemani Farms
3642 Monks Rd.
Trappist, KY 40051
(800) 549-0912
Monk-made Trappist fruitcake, Kentucky Bourbon Fudge, and cheeses.

The Kentucky Bourbon Nut Cake Company
Wisteria Hill
7760 Wathen Lane
Henderson, KY 42420
(270) 826-0320
Kentucky Bourbon Nut Cake and Bourbon Butter Sauce, and other food items.

Simply Kentucky Confectionery
450 Emerson Dr.
Lexington, KY 40505
(859) 389-8998
Old Kentucky jam cakes in tins, fruitcakes, bourbon balls, divinity, and fudge.

Valentine’s Ice Cream
6042 Old Boonesboro Rd.
Winchester, KY 40391
(859) 737-0040
Hand-made ice cream in 20 flavors including five bourbon flavors, all shipped in dry ice in pints, half-gallons, and 3-gallon tubs.

Prized Kentucky Ham

Ballance Country Hams
13101 Louisville Rd.
Oakland, KY 42159
(270) 563-3956
Country ham, smoked sausage, baked ham, gift baskets with cheese, jellies.

Broadbent’s B & B Foods
6321 Hopkinsville Rd.
Cadiz, KY 42211
(800) 841-2202
Country ham, bacon, sausage, gift baskets with meats, biscuit mix, jams and jellies.

Browning’s Country Ham
585 Ruddles Mills Rd.
Paris, KY 40361
(859) 987-2702 (fax also) or
Country ham, barbecue sauce, gift baskets with ham, cheese, grits, beaten biscuits, jam or jelly, and Reba’s Left-Hand Cookbook.

Field Premium Meats
P.O. Box 20003
Owensboro, KY 42304
(800) 627-1902
Boneless cured ham and whole smoked turkey breast.

Finchville Farms
P. O. Box 56
Finchville, KY 40022
(800) 678-1521
Country ham.

Jim David Meats
350 T. Frank Wathen Rd.
Uniontown, KY 42461
(270) 822-4866
Deli hams, gift baskets with ham, chicken salad, and pimiento cheese.

Kentucky Bison Company
4801 Greenhaven Lane
Goshen, KY 40026
(502) 222-4451
Frozen buffalo steaks, roast, burgers, plus buffalo jerky and summer sausage.

Meacham Country Hams
705 O’Nan Dyer Rd.
Sturgis, KY 42459
(800) 552-3190
Country ham, smoked and/or pepper hams, ham hocks, bacon, sausage, barbecue ribs, smoked turkey, biscuits, Derby Pie, and corporate gift packs.

Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn
2840 Parrish Ave.
Owensboro, KY 42301
(800) 322-8989
Whole hams, turkeys, frozen mutton, beef or pork, jams and jellies, and custom gift baskets.

Robinson’s Meats
701 Robinson Rd.
London, KY 40741
(800) 230-5131
Country hams, brown sugar and honey-glazed spiral hams.

Scott Hams
1301 Scott Rd.
Greenville, KY 42345
(800) 318-1353
Country ham, bacon, smoked country sausage, gift baskets with beaten biscuit, mixes, butters, jams, chow chow, sorghum, and honey.

Sugarplums (Sweets)

Country at Heart & Old Town Fudge Company
128 South Front Ave.
Prestonsburg, KY 41653
(606) 886-8957
Homemade fudge in a wide range of standard and unique flavors.

Candy Bouquet
1265 Clifton Rd.
Danville, KY 40422
(859) 236-5605
“Flowers” made of candy, for example, roses are Hershey’s Kisses and jelly beans.

Kentucky Kandy Kitchen
741 Kenton Station Rd.
Maysville, KY 41056
(606) 759-7560
Bourbon balls, coconut bonbons, chocolate creams, peanut butter delight, caramel pecan chocolates, novelty suckers, all in handmade wooden gift baskets.

Mom Blakeman’s Candy Inc.
209 Lexington St.
Lancaster, KY 40444
(800) 542-4607
Custom tins of old-fashioned cream pulled candy in vanilla, chocolate dipped, peanut butter, and mint.

Rebecca-Ruth Candies
P.O. Box 64
Frankfort, KY 40602
(800) 444-3766
Originators of bourbon candy, assorted liquor-filled candies, truffles and fudges, peanut brittle, and holiday gift boxes.

Ruth Hunt Candy Company
P.O. Box 265
Mt. Sterling, KY 40353
(800) 927-0302
Woodford Reserve bourbon balls, cream candy, caramels, soft creams, sugar-free chocolates, Blue Monday bars, and custom gift baskets.

Schneider’s Sweet Shop
420 Fairfield Ave.
Bellevue, KY 41073
(859) 431-3545
Custom assortments of Christmas candies, chocolate-covered opera creams and meltaways, coconut bonbons, and fudge.

A Tisket, A Tasket, Look What’s in the Basket

Applecreek Farms Inc.
P.O. Box 8383
Lexington, KY 40533
(800) 747-8871
Gift baskets with fruit butters, hand-made candies, fudge, preserves, sauces, relishes, and salsa.

Aunt Nettie’s
P.O. Box 585
Taylorsville, KY 40071
(888) 620-2017+PIN 5916
Gift boxes of salad dressings and marinades with no sugar, MSG, fat, oil, or preservatives.

Bourbon Country Products
4433 Kiln Ct. Building C
Louisville, KY 40218
(502) 452-9966
Gift baskets with gourmet sauces (including Maker’s Mark Gourmet Sauce, Wild Turkey BBQ & Gourmet Sauce, Evan Williams KY Bourbon BBQ Sauce), Christian Brothers salad dressings, and Salsa de Inclan with tequila.

Browning Orchard
RR 1, Box 12
Wallingford, KY41093
(606) 849-2881
Gift baskets with dried apples, apple butter, cider vinegar, jams, potpourri, and books.

Close to Home Gifts
303 College St.
London, KY 40741
(606) 864-4200
Gourmet gift baskets with Belgian chocolates, Harry & David chocolate strawberries, blueberries, and nuts.

Completely Kentucky
237 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
(800) 457-1990
Custom and corporate gift baskets with 100% Kentucky-made items such as country ham, Cajun popcorn, bourbon cherries, and Ale-8-1.

Elmwood Inn
205 East Fourth St.
Perryville, KY 40468
(800) 765-2139
Gift baskets with teas, fruit and herbal infusions, scone and shortbread mixes, fruit curds, shortbread cookies, and spicy cheese wafers.

The German Roasted Nut Company
P.O. Box 4004
Frankfort, KY 40604
(866) 690-1010
Corporate gift baskets with cinnamon sugar roasted almonds and pecans, and chocolate-covered almonds.

Herb’N Renewal
2509 Rogers Rd.
Lancaster, KY 40444
(859) 548-3516
Custom and corporate gift baskets of beef, chicken, and/or pork seasonings.

Kentucky Nut Corporation
606 Moscow Ave.
Hickman, KY 42050
(270) 236-2662
Custom and corporate gift baskets with Munchin’ Pecans or Peanuts, mixed nuts, praline pieces, honey-roasted pecans or peanuts, chocolate-coated nuts, whole cashews, dried fruits, sorghum, jams, and jellies.

Kentucky Seasons
4575 Lebanon Rd.
Danville, KY 40422
(859) 583-2638
Fruit baskets, gift baskets with bourbon balls, liqueur creams, and peanut brittle.

Nick of Time
409 West Main St.
Danville, KY 40422
(859) 236-0125
Gourmet gift baskets with Maker’s Mark barbecue sauce and bourbon balls, teas, candies, and more.

Ole’ Kentucky Favorite
1119 Nevin Station Rd.
Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
(502) 839-5316
Gourmet syrups—almond, pecan, walnut, and bourbon.

Reed Valley Orchard
239 Lail Lane
Paris, KY 40361
(859) 987-6480
Fresh apples and pears, apple, peach, pear, and pumpkin butters, and jams.

Reid’s Orchard
4818 Highway 144
Owensboro, KY 42303
(270) 685-2444
Apples, jams, and jellies.

Sally’s Kitchen
122 Trotter Way
Wilmore, KY 40390
(859) 858-2888
Hot pepper jelly.

Screamin’ Mimi’s Salsa Inc.
1004 Red Rain Circle
Lexington, KY 40515
(859) 273-8543
Gift boxes of salsas and chips.

Southern Delight Gourmet Foods
1621 Scottsville Rd.
Bowling Green, KY 42104
(866) 782-9943
Gift sets of gourmet sauces and marinades, including mint julep marinade.

Susie’s Jams & Jellies
1180 Mansfield Rd.
Horse Cave, KY 42749
(270) 524-1180
Gift baskets of homemade fruit jams and jellies.

Sweet Kreations Gift Shoppe, Fudgery & Christmas Landing
Big South Fork Scenic Railway Depot
P.O. Box 9
Stearns, KY 42647
(606) 376-4050
Corporate and custom gift baskets with gourmet candies, coffees, teas, and popcorn.

Taste of Kentucky
Village Square Shopping Center
11800 Shelbyville Rd.
Louisville, KY 40243, or
Mall St. Matthews
5000 Shelbyville Rd.
Louisville, KY 40207
(800) 444-0552
Individual or corporate custom gift baskets with Kentucky products such as pies, candy, bison, smoked rainbow trout, salsas, and mill products.

Other Kentucky Food Products

Kentucky Agriculture
Visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s “Country Store” to locate Kentucky companies offering a wide range of food products, including produce, beverages, bakery goods, meat/poultry, grocery items, dairy products, seafood, snacks/ sweets, and other food merchandise.

Kentucky Virtual
Gift baskets and individual Kentucky goodies such as shrimp, ham, honey, sorghum, jams and preserves, fruit products, sauces, seasonings, snacks, sweets, beverages, and gourmet mixes.

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