Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 10, 2013

Tim Preston: Plenty of fresh goodness; a move to Flatwoods; and hometown holidays: 11/10/13

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Ken Artrip reports he has fresh loads of produce, including holiday seedless grapes, at Artrip’s Market on 13th Street in Ashland (across from Suplex Tacos).

I missed this year’s peach season and I was anxious to catch back up with Artrip and staff. Artrip was hauling in crates of fresh produce from Florida and California when I arrived, and he explained they are dealing with a major misperception they have closed for the season. He also explained they are keenly aware people are dealing with “hard times,” and pointed out the red, white and blue list near the counter listing free bonus items customers can choose from when they spend $20 or more.

“Hard times — you want to get the most for your money, right?” he said, noting the freebies range from a cucumber to a bag of chips.

Perhaps the thing I most appreciate about Artrip is his knowledge of where to get the good stuff at different times of the year. The produce market is anticipating a load of white half-runner beans from Homestead, Fla., on Monday, Artrip said, and they already have an excellent amount of holiday seedless grapes from California, as well as white seedless and black seedless grapes.

I packed a bag of the holiday seedless grapes from Columbine Vineyards back to the office after visiting Artrip’s and I had to restrain myself from eating the whole bag. Artrip also sent along a mixed bag of apples, oranges and other goodies including a “Dinosaur Egg” plum, to share with everyone at the newspaper. I’ll collect comments on that good stuff as it gets consumed, but I can say there was one small apple in there that was just so good, I can’t even try to describe it (super snappy, tart and sweet is as close as I can get). Artrip had mentioned many of his apples are “new crop” apples from Virginia and New York, and I suspect the little apple that tickled my tastebuds was one of those.

The market also has an outstanding selection of Amish goods, which Artrip reports have been well received locally, including real butter, pies, cookies, eggs, pumpkin rolls and other goodies. The Amish goods do tend to be a bit more pricey than the other merchandise at Artrip’s, although by all accounts all of it is worth the extra dough. The market even has one customer who buys the Amish pies 12 to 18 at a time. I have a peach pie and a couple of cookies from the Amish I plan to enjoy after work, and I will write about that in a future column.

Going back to the “hard times” talk, Artrip is fiercely proud he keeps his prices lower than Walmart and Kroger. “All the time — on purpose,” he said.

And, if you enjoy gospel music with your fresh produce make a point of asking Artrip about his band’s new CD “You’d Do That For Me.” If the timing is right, he might even break out his Ovation guitar and sing a song or two for you. The band is called Songs From the Heart, he said, and is made up of himself, Jennifer Jividen, Jeff Riffe and Rock Nickell, and Artrip is serious when he says he intends to give away 1 million copies of the new CD. “Free. No charge,” he said, explaining he simply hopes the message of the music will somehow make a difference in someone’s life. The band, which was a big hit during the last day of this year’s Poage Landing Days festival, has a few performances scheduled at area churches, he said, and will have free copies of the CD to distribute at each.

Artrip’s Market, at 3466 13th St., is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Wednesday when it closes an hour early, and Sunday, when it’s open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (606) 923-5226.

Moved to Flatwoods

Kyle Robinson and the crew at Print My Threads in downtown Ashland have been extra busy in recent days moving their operation from the 800-square-foot space on Winchester Avenue to a 9,000-square foot building at 2200 Argillite Road in Flatwoods.

Robinson said the new building had been vacant for several years, but was originally a roller-skating rink, and affords lots of opportunities to expand operations and be more efficient and competitive.

“This building will allow us to increase production by 10 times,” he said.

The decision to relocate was difficult, he said, explaining there was a strong desire to remain in downtown Ashland. With financing for the building, as well as new equipment, through the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development organization, he said it didn’t take long to realize buying made much more sense than renting.

In addition to Robinson, Print My Threads relies upon two full-time employees and two others are already waiting to be added to the payroll. Once everything is in place at the new shop in Flatwoods, Robinson said they are planning “a big open house” event. I’ll pass that information along when the time is right.

For more information, call (606) 571-0297.

Hometown holidays

People in Grayson are making plans for the city’s first Grayson Hometown Holidays! celebration on Dec. 6 and 7, which will include a parade along Main Street in addition to extended hours at downtown shops, a live nativity scene, Christmas caroling and food.

“Pretty much the whole town is taking part in it,” said Mary Richardson, tourism assistant for the Grayson Tourism and Convention Commission. Richardson said the event will be centered around Park Street, near the city building and Grayson Art Gallery.

The event is taking applications from crafts vendors, and encouraging musicians who might enjoy a chance to perform for an appreciative hometown crowd to sign up.

“Anybody that wants to participate ... Volunteers would be awesome to put on a little show to get their name out there,” Richardson said, explaining there is no stage and musicians are asked to perform on the street as part of the celebration.

“We have multiple contests that will be throughout the Grayson Hometown Holiday weekend. Start thinking about which one you may want to enter,” Richardson said, noting there is a $50 prize for best wreath, $100 prize for both best holiday breads and best holiday cakes, $50 for best “ugly Christmas sweater.”

After the wreath judging, Bush’s Florist will price each wreath and they will be sold with proceeds being donated to the Carter County Community Fund. After extension agents judge the holiday breads and cakes, a homemaker’s group will slice and price each, with proceeds donated to the Carter County Community Fund.

For more information or to submit a vendor application, visit heartoftheparks.com or call (606) 474-8740.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at (606) 326-2651.