Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Business

June 8, 2014

Tim Preston: Berries, burgers and a Dagwood sandwich: 6/8/14

ASHLAND — I was making a turn-and-burn run to Grayson recently and had hit the “burn” part of the trip when I realized I actually had a couple of bucks in my pocket, but failed to stop at Weaver’s Market for a loaf of its most-excellent sourdough bread. Of course, I immediately hit the brakes and turned around to visit the little shop at 539 W. Main St.

While there, I also scooped up some kind of a pumpkin cookie thing (not sure what to call it, but it had a creamy filling and seemed like the kind of treat my wife would really appreciate), although I simply didn’t have enough dough to get the thing that truly called my name from their cooler — a whole strawberry pie made with berries hand picked from the Weaver family’s own garden, or berry patch. It wasn’t terribly expensive for such an example of old fashioned homemade goodness, but I was singing those “Day Before Payday Blues,” and had to leave it for the next lucky berry lover who came along.

The pumpkin cookie thing, by the way, was so good my wife called me at work and sang my praises while she was eating it. For more information, visit the market for call (606) 474-0304.

Berry mania

While we’re talking about the love of strawberries, a couple of our good friends made the trek to the 4-Got-N-Tymes Farm on 2270 Little Cat Lane near Louisa in Lawrence County to pick two big batches over the weekend and report they loved the experience. I also had a glowing-positive note and photo from Harry Wiley after he visited the farm and owners Mark and Dawn Sexton.

While there, Wiley snapped a photo of two cute little girls, Ayden and Joselyn Pack, with their hand-picked bounty. Before I even had a chance to look at the photo, I also had a message from their mom asking if the photo had been printed in the paper. I called back and found Sara Pack, the wife of Matthew Pack, ready to give a personal testimony about the quality of the berries they found at the farm.

“They’re perfect,” she said, noting the locally grown berries are considerably superior to those we’ve both been buying from the big-box store.

“We like to support small business,” Pack said, explaining they are also small-business owners who operate Perrysville Drive-In, about an hour or so north of Columbus, Ohio. She points out we all have to buy things from Wally from time to time, but points out their family makes an effort to buy local and spend their money in the small-business market whenever they have the option. Pack said they carried roughly four pounds of strawberries home, where her husband used some to make his “famous strawberry shortcake,” and the rest were enjoyed one at a time until the whole batch was gone.

4-Got-N-Tymes Farm owner Mark Sexton, who had feared local pickers would claim every berry in the patch, called in while I was writing this to report an excellent second wave of berries have ripened since we spoke last week, and are there now awaiting someone to come along and claim them.

I will be visiting the farm in the days ahead and plan to do a story focused more on the hard work and science that goes into a berry farming operation, although I confess my real motive is to drive out of there with enough berries to spoil myself and few close friends, and to get Sexton’s predictions for when to come back for the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries they grow. Sexton mentioned they also sell things like watermelons and vegetables at the farm, so I’ll include that information in whatever feature story I end up filing.

For more information about 4-Got-N-Tymes Farm, visit the page on Facebook or call (606) 465-4501.

Penn Station home run

We all know I tend to pretend I don’t write about major chains and franchises, although I obviously do just that from time to time. I have to give a salute to Ashland’s Penn Station after a spontaneous supper plan was initiated by my new neighbor last week.

It was Tuesday, and we all met at Penn Station East Coast Subs at 119 6th St. (across the road from Ashland Town Center mall behind Texas Roadhouse, and a couple of doors down from Moe’s Southwest Grill), to take advantage of what my friend called “$5 special night.” While the two of them ordered something respectable, like a teriyaki chicken sub, I couldn’t resist ordering the Dagwood with everything possible except pickles.

I think my total for the meal, which included a fountain drink and a big pile of what certainly tasted like hand-cut french fries, was $5.25 or something like that, and I had to agree it was a good deal for that meal. The staff at Penn Station was also super friendly, and our meals were delivered to our table by a smiling young lady who seemed genuinely interested in knowing if the orders were correct, or if there was anything else we desired.

For more information about Penn Station, just drop by and have a meal (their complete menu is easy to find online) or call (606) 324-9272.

Burgers and tailgates

I believe I’ve established myself firmly among the “easily amused,” and confess I just love this next thing — a tailgate competition at the Boyd County Fair to determine who makes the best backyard burger.

“We want to encourage every backyard griller to bring their grill and participate,” advised one of the organizers, who adds there is also a tailgate party competition (alcohol, however, is strictly prohibited and will get you kicked out in a hurry).

“Any team, church, school, team, organization can come out and set up a tailgate party to compete, too. It is a great way to build comradery in the group as well as let the community see their enthusiasm for their organization.”

Registration will be from 10 a.m. to noon July 19, and all tailgates entering the competition must be ready for judging at 2 p.m. The cost to enter the tailgate competition is free, if entered in the BC FAIR Burger competition, or $10 if you are not entered. Tailgate judging will be based on creativity, participation, amenities and school/organization spirit. There is a detailed point system in place for the judging, so if you want to be strategic about it, consult the fair’s website. There is also an extensive set of rules governing the competition (no selling food or merchandise; no tobacco use while handling food; proper sanitization; no open fires; no pets ... you get the idea), and those who preregister will be rewarded with an admission and parking pass for their driver.

For rules, criteria and other information, visit boydcountyfair.com.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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