The nose to the grindstone
Jennifer Gleason’s Mt. Olivet business, Sunflower Sundries, started more than 20 years ago, growing out of Jennifer’s inclination to make gifts by hand from resources on her small farm. Now her soap is carried at Kroger stores, and her jams, pickles, and mustards are carried in a variety of stores like Good Foods Co-op in Lexington and the Berea Farm Store.
So, too, from Jennifer’s own farm comes the non-GMO open-pollinated Hickory King corn that she dries, grinds herself, and uses at home for cornbread and grits. Those products, too, became part of the Sunflower Sundries selection. In the last few years, she’s added Hickory King tortilla chips, requiring her to recruit neighbor farmers to grow corn.
Jennifer loves the flavor of Hickory King, and cites mush as one of her favorite ways to cook it. She first heard cooked cornmeal called “mush” by an elderly neighbor when she moved to Kentucky 24 years ago. “I thought the name sounded so funny,” she says. Mush to Kentuckians, polenta to Italians, and, if made with a coarser grind of cornmeal, also called grits.
Jennifer’s first taste of mush was of leftovers—sliced, fried in bacon fat, and served hot with syrup. But, like grits and polenta, boiled cornmeal can be served soft right out of the pot, or cooled until firm, sliced, and fried in fat until the edges are crisp and served with sweet or savory sauce.
Contact Jennifer at (606) 763-6827 or sunflowersundries.com.