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Chef’s Choice

Chef, farmer look to spread culinary love

Abbie Rogers and Kevin Archer, shown, moved to Versailles after living nearly everywhere else their adult lives: Kevin managed restaurants from coast to coast, and Abbie worked in the Northeast, South and California after growing up in Pennsylvania. 

When they arrived here two years ago, “we were looking for the perfect place to settle,” says Kevin. They liked the central Kentucky climate, the terrain and the food culture. 

Kevin is a trained chef and Abbie is a relatively new but enthusiastic farmer. Together they attend farmers markets with the uncommon items they grow—including ginger, celery, dandelion greens, tomatillos, herbs and edible flowers—and the seasoning mixes that Kevin makes under the brand Zelda and Bramble Superlative Seasonings (named for a pair of rabbits they adopted).

“We are really interested in the people who come to the farmers market and tell us that they don’t have much confidence in cooking,” says Kevin. “We enjoy encouraging them to try things, and to feel more comfortable in their kitchens.”

“Our goal is simple,” says Abbie, “to get more people to cook.” 

Buckwheat groats—not related to wheat despite its name—are an underappreciated but quick-cooking whole grain that’s high in protein. Kevin uses it in this tasty pilaf.

Abbie Rogers and Kevin Archer sell at the Woodford County Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 3–6 p.m., and the Franklin County Farmers Market on Thursday from 7 a.m.–noon and Saturdays from 8 a.m.–noon. 

Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and does not have gluten. It is considered a “whole grain,” although it isn’t really a grain, and is rich in protein, B vitamins and fiber.

Any of your favorite whole grains can be substituted in the buckwheat recipe but will take longer to cook. Consider brown rice, barley, farro or quinoa. 

Aromatic Buckwheat Pilaf

Tempting Tomatoes

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