Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 22, 2012

Tim Preston: Amish canteloupe, hair removal, bows and tutus: 7/22/12

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Ken Artrip must have seen me coming when I visited his produce market on 13th Street in Ashland last week to get another batch of those delicious white peaches. As a result, I walked out with something that had never been tasted by anyone in the newsroom — an Amish-grown cantaloupe.

The South Carolina peaches at Artrip’s Market seem a little small this year, but they are as sweet and juicy as ever and I picked a half dozen fuzzy units that were at the absolute peak of their ripeness. Once I had them bagged, Artrip put his hand on my shoulder and said something like, “You know what’s hot right now? Amish cantaloupes. Have you ever had one?” He then hand-selected one for me, pointing out the key to getting the perfect cantaloupe is putting your nose down next to the skin and sniffing for the one with the best “flavor” in the aroma.

Cantaloupe tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing, and I come from a long line of cantaloupe-loving Prestons. It’s a passion my baby does not share, so I knew better than to leave this thing in my fridge. I decided to bring the Amish melon into the office and share it with anyone who wanted a bite.

Sportsmen Rocky Stanley and Mark Maynard were the first in line to give it the taste test, and it only took one bite to transport Stanley back to his youth working at his dad’s produce business. I’d bet he said the words “so sweet” a dozen times before he’d finished his first slice and went back for more. Maynard, who proved quite adept at carving chunks from the unpeeled cantaloupe, agreed the Amish-grown melon was extra sweet and delicious, with a nice, firm texture. I noticed this particular cantaloupe had a definite melt-in-your-mouth factor, and several other cantaloupe lovers who happened to be in the office also gave the Amish cantaloupe two thumbs up.

The Amish cantaloupe has far less of the “netted” skin than any I’ve ever seen, and when we cut into it the seed cavity in the center was much smaller than you’d expect, meaning there was lots of juicy, sweet melon flesh inside.

For some useless trivia, the cantaloupe is America’s most popular melon and is also known as cantaloup, mushmelon, muskmelon, rockmelon, Persian melon or spanspek. If you want to taste some good spanspek, just stop by and ask Artrip to help you pick out a few.

Happy Rain Baby Towel

I recently wrote about a local woman working to market a new invention/product called the Happy Rain Baby Towel, and inventor Michelle Lee Bowling then dropped off a couple of photos of the prototype, and some information about her other ventures.

“I make custom bows, tutus, bow ties and more. I do a lot of different styles. In fact, I’ve never made two bows the same! Even if I use the same materials, they all look different. I don’t follow a pattern. I make them so that each one is unique,” she said, adding she had a booth at Summer Motion this year with her aunt, Gina Lee Lewis, whose business is called Frontdoor Couture.

“She does custom door, or wherever you want to put them, designs. They are actually Dry Erase now. She has just started manufacturing them. You can check out her page on Facebook. Her designs are amazing. I've never seen anything else like them. She does mascots, birthdays, holiday designs and more.”

Along with her bows, tutus and tie work, Bowling continues her quest for a provisional patent on the Happy Rain Baby Towel, and is stil looking for an investor, while researching the best way to have the baby products manufactured in small batches. For more information, call the inventor at (606) 922-0886.

Bel Viso now with Identity

The owner of Bel Viso Electrology Permanent Hair Removal has joined forces with the team at Identity Salon and Spa at 121 16th St. in Ashland to provide a one-stop location for hair removal, beauty and spa needs.

Bel Viso, which means “Beautiful Face,” offers a variety of services including eyebrow design, nonsurgical facelift, anti-aging red-light therapy and acne blue light therapy for adults and teens. The latest service is cellulite and body-sculpting therapies for legs, thighs, buttocks, stomach and under the arms. For more information, call (606) 324-4247 or (606) 325-2213.

Gold-en opportunity?

It has been a year since Gold Star Chili, “The Flavor of Cincinnati,” opened in Russell and it is one of my favorite places to meet with people for lunch interviews. While known for its Cincinnati-style chili, the place also has great double-decker sandwiches and some of the finest milkshakes you’ll find at a quick-service place. I’m also a bit of a nut for their cheese-covered coney dogs.

Building on the success of the Ashland/Russell restaurant, Gold Star Chili CEO Mike Rohrkemper will be in town on Wednesday to “help facilitate opportunities to expand Gold Star’s presence in eastern Kentucky and surrounding areas” via two initiatives: the introduction of Cincinnati-style catering services such as those now marketed by the Ashland/Russell store; and by arranging meetings with potential new franchisees to discuss new store opportunities.

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