CityBeat Blogs - Food & Drink http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-40.html <![CDATA[Rhinegeist Saber Tooth Release Party]]> Rhinegeist's rarity Imperial IPA Saber Tooth is only let out of its cage twice a year — and one of those times is Saturday, Aug. 30. 

Saturday's launch party starts at noon and it is the only day you'll be able to fill crowlers (Rhinegeist's can-growlers) with Saber Tooth. If you miss the party, you miss your opportunity to take the beer home. 

Saber Tooth IPA is 8.5-percent alcohol by volume, with notes of papaya, mango, peach and a crisp, citrus bitterness. Crowlers are $12 for a 32 oz. refill and $20 for a 64 oz. refill. Crowlers themselves are $14. Limit per person: 4 growlers/8 crowlers. 

Get there early to get a free Saber Tooth Tiger poster with your first beer purchase (while supplies last). Noon-midnight. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinegeist.com.
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<![CDATA[Bars and Restaurants with Riverfest Views]]>
Instead of hanging out on the riverfront all day, claiming a prime viewing spot with a lawn chair, make a reservation at one of these river-view restaurants for dining deals with great views of the 9:05 p.m. WEBN Rivefest fireworks.

Ohio
  • The Celestial: A four-star, four-course, prix-fixe meal before the show. 5:30-6 p.m. seating. $129. 1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams, thecelestial.com.
  • Incline Public House: Pig roast, fireworks and two drink tickets. $75. 2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill, email Dan@inclinepublichouse.com for details and reservations.
  • Primavista: This Price Hill haunt has a great view of the city and the fireworks, with a special four-course dinner deal. 5 p.m. $65; $20 deposit due at time of booking. 810 Matson Place, Price Hill, reservations available by phone only at 513-251-6467.
  • The Rookwood: Hosting an event called OTR Country Club in honor of the fireworks with live music and a pig roast. Transportation provided from Washington Park. 4 p.m.-midnight. $25. 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams, facebook.com/therookwood.
Kentucky
  • The Chart House: Buffet. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $100. 405 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 859-261-0300.
  • Claddagh Irish Pub: Offers two different fireworks packages: VIP ($100; patio seating; four course dinner at 6:30 or 7:30 p.m.) or Classic ($60; inside dinner; buffet). 4:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., claddaghirishpubs.com.
  • Dick's Last Resort: A self-proclaimed "not so fancy fireworks party." Includes a seat and three beers. 6-10 p.m. $75; $50 kids. On the old Jefferson Hall Patio, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., facebook.com/dickslastresortnewportky.
  • Mitchell's Fish Market: Hosting a private, tented party with a buffet for the fireworks on the Newport Aquarium Plaza. 6 p.m.-midnight. $99.99. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-291-7454.
  • ThreeSixty at the Radisson: A full buffet plus a view of the fireworks from atop the rotating restaurant. 5-8 p.m. buffet. $70. 668 W. Fifth St., Covington, Ky., 859-491-5300, threesixtydining.com/events.php.




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<![CDATA[Taste of Blue Ash]]> Taste of Blue Ash is the suburb's answer to downtown's annual (and the nation's longest running) food festival, Taste of Cincinnati.

The free event, celebrating almost 30 years this year, will have more than 25 food vendors including Buona Terra, City BBQ, Alfio's Buon Cibo, La Petite France, Rascals' NY Deli and more. And 16 of those are “Best of Taste” winners. Crowds typically reach about 120,000 over the course of the three-day event, and this year should be no different because along with the food there will be live music from headliners The Charlie Daniels Band (9 p.m. Friday), Michael McDonald (9 p.m. Saturday), TOTO (7 p.m. Saturday) and Kellie Pickler (7:30 p.m. Sunday).

Join foodies and those just looking to soak up some final summer nights at Blue Ash’s new Summit Park; bring lawn chairs and blankets to reserve concert seating. There will also be festival rides and games.

6-11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22; 2-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23; 2-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24. Free. 4335 Glendale-Milford Road, Blue Ash, blueashevents.com.

 

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<![CDATA[Macaron Bar Coming to OTR]]>

Macarons. You can't walk a block in Paris without seeing boulangerie windows lined with the colorful, little cookies — even McDonald's McCafe has a selection: pistachio, raspberry, chocolate. And while a couple of local bakeries specialize in the treat (pastry of merengue and almond flour sandwiching a filling of buttercream, jam or ganache), like Frieda's Desserts in Madeira, helmed by fourth-generation, certified master pasty chef Armin Hack, Macaron Bar will be the only bakery in Cincinnati devoted strictly to macarons.

The brain-child of former P&G brand manager Patrick Moloughney and Nathan Sivitz — who studied pastry with a focus on macarons at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, Calif., and has taken a macaron master class at Ecole Lenôtre in Paris — Macaron Bar is slated to open in November.

They plan to offer core macaron flavors, complemented by seasonal selections, as well as a selection of coffees and teas from local partners Deeper Roots Coffee and Essencha Tea House. 

Their building on Main Street is right next to Park + Vine. Stay tuned to their social media — twitter and Facebook — for updates. 

1206 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, macaron-bar.com.

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<![CDATA[Do Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week]]> Do Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant and Bar Group is an association of downtown restaurants and clubs that work together to build awareness and enhance downtown dining and entertainment. This week — through Aug. 17 — is the sixth annual Do Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week, when downtown/The Banks/OTR restaurants offer deals: either $35 for a three-course dinner or for two dinners. A great opportunity to try something new on a budget.

Participating restaurants include: 
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<![CDATA[Look Who's Eating: Ryan Santos]]>

CityBeat is resurrecting our popular "Look Who's Eating" column, where we ask local chefs and food industry insiders where they've been dining and what is exciting them about Cincinnati's current culinary culture. This month, we talk to Ryan Santos. 

Chef Ryan Santos has already built a reputation as the man behind Please, a mobile dining pop-up. Having recently returned from an internship in Denmark, Santos plans to wow taste buds again with a new dinner series — and soon, Please’s very own space. 

On a remote island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, Santos learned how to utilize and preserve ingredients. He toured the Nordic Food Lab, tasting their latest experiments — everything from bee larvae and grasshopper soy sauce to six-year-old quince vinegar. 

Santos will put his food expertise to work with a dinner series at Cheapside Cafe one weekend per month. To prepare, he picks chanterelle mushrooms a few times a week, and plans to use summer produce like blackberries, blueberries, corn and summer squash.

Using commercial cooking equipment for the first time, in addition to the communal seating and four walk-in spots offered each night, Please will be accessible to more Cincinnatians than ever before — and it’s only just getting started.  

CityBeat: What was the last great meal that you ate and where did you eat it?
Ryan Santos: I spent a week dining around Copenhagen before my internship and had some amazing meals. My meals at Kadeau, Relae and Amass were all fantastic. Copenhagen is also a big supporter of natural, organic and biodynamic wines. I had some eye–opening glasses (and bottles) of wine at wine bars. 

CityBeat: Locally?
RS: I'm happy any time my meal is in the hands of Jose Salazar.

CB: What's in the future for Ryan Santos and Please? 
RS: Right now I'm helping chef John Shields do dinners at Riverstead, in Chillhowie, Virginia, one week a month, doing our Cheapside Dinners one weekend a month, and we are in the process of getting the pieces together for a place of our own open. I think the time is finally right for us to have our home base!


To learn more about RYAN SANTOS and Please or sign up for a dinner at Cheapside, visit at pleasecincinnati.com. Wanna hear what your favorite chef's favorite meal is? Email suggestions to eats@citybeat.com.

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<![CDATA[New Cold-Press Juice Bar Coming to OTR]]>
Big news for local juice fans. Cold-press juice bars are a new staple in most big cities — follow any model, actress or fashion blogger on instagram and you'll see oodles of the stuff from places like Venice Beach's juice bar Moon Juice. 

Now, locals Annie McKinney, Cydney Rabe and Steve Vickers are bringing the trend to Cincinnati with their new OTR juice bar Off the Vine (1218 Vine St., OTR, facebook.com/otvcincy).

"Cydney, Steve, and myself firmly believe that healthy eating is vital to a healthy and happy life," says McKinney. "Juicing is such a fantastic way to easily absorb important nutrients — nutrients that the vast majority of Americans lack from their diet." 

Off The Vine will offer cold-press juices made from fresh produce and herbs. Cold-pressing is a form of juicing that basically uses extreme pressure to juice produce, without adding heat. Heat possibly denatures the enzymes, vitamins and minerals in the vegetables; cold pressing preserves the health benefits while also squeezing out more juice than traditional methods. Off the Vine juices will range from $8-$11, a pretty standard price for cold-press. They'll also be making their own vanilla cashew milk.

"We have three different 'levels' of green juice," McKinney says, "from a basic spinach and apple to a hardcore, all-vegetable juice. Something to please the person who has never tried a green juice before to those who are looking for an intense blend of greens."  

Off the Vine will also be offering juices cleanses with a daily series of five juices and one meal-replacement nut milk as a "kick start for people looking to rid their bodies of the toxins that build up from poor eating habits," McKinney says. The group will also offer support for those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

They plan to open this fall, possibly in September. Follow their progress at facebook.com/otvcincy.

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<![CDATA[Maribelle’s eat+drink to Host Fourth 'Food Fight']]>
The fourth round of Food Fight at Maribelle’s eat+drink is coming up at 6 p.m. on July 14. 

This live, Chopped-style competition was started by Maribelle’s chef/owner Mike Florea to create and maintain camaraderie between restaurant professionals and the public alike. Anyone is welcome to participate. If you would like the opportunity to compete, simply inform the door attendant and put your name in the pot. Twelve names are chosen. 

There are two rounds of competition, each consisting of three chefs and three judges. The winner of each round will compete for the championship. Each cook will receive five or six very random ingredients and has 30 minutes to make an entrée style plate utilizing all of them. They also have a small selection of pantry and walk-in items to choose from to boost those ingredients from the basket. Appliances are limited. 

“Food Fight is knowing your surroundings,” says Florea, “Feeling the camaraderie, learning the craft, being the passion. ... And watching shit go down. It's amazing to see some of the best chef's in the city go against some of the best cooks, farmers, housewives, stay-at-home dads, business owners and foodies alike. The best part about it is giving them all ingredients that none of them are 100 percent comfortable with. Eat. Drink. Fight.”
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<![CDATA[Taste of Belgium Clifton to Host World Cup Viewing]]>
The Clifton location of Taste of Belgium — Cincinnati's only Belgian-inspired eatery — will host a World Cup viewing party for the Team USA versus Belgium game on Tuesday, July 1. (The game begins at 4 p.m.)

The Clifton locale of TOB has seven HDTVs, one large HD projector screen, a big bar and a large beer selection. Afraid of who to cheer for in the Belgian bar? Owner Jean-François Flechet, a Cincinnati resident and Belgian native says, "What better place to come watch USA vs. Belgium than at Taste of Belgium? The entire staff and all our customers have cheered for both teams so far — we hope to see some good soccer."

“I’d be happy either way for either my homeland or my adoptive land to make it to the next round,” Flechet adds

TOB will also be giving away one official Belgian and one official American soccer jersey. Patrons can enter to win the American jersey by ordering a Budweiser and the Belgian jersey by ordering a Duvel. (Those under 21 can simply enter their names.)

Parking is behind Taste of Belgium by the corner of University and Vine streets. Taste of Belgium Clifton, 2845 Vine St., Corryville, 513-394-7105, authenticwaffle.com
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<![CDATA[Lavomatic and Local 127 Close]]> Two local restaurants served their last meals this weekend. Lavomatic, OTR's first Gateway Quarter eatery, and Local 127, the New American eatery on Vine Street downtown, both announced via their social media that they would be permanently closing their doors. 

According to Local 127's Facebook account, their last night of service was Saturday, June 28: 

"To all the supporters of Local 127, Chef Kyle Johnson, General Manager Jenny Filipski, and the entire staff: We are sad to announce that this evening, June 28, will be our last night of service. We have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Cincinnati food community and are forever grateful to those who helped establish an amazing community within our restaurant. The staff at Local 127 is made up of some of best employees, but more importantly, some of the best people in this industry and in this city. A very specific thank you to all the farmers, purveyors, foragers, and harvesters who represent the true objective of Local 127. We leave with our heads held high, proud of the food we served and the service we provided."

And then yesterday (June 29), Lavomatic released this post on their Facebook:

"Lavomatic has closed. Thanks to a great staff and Thanks to everyone who supported us over the years."

The two restaurants join a slew of recent downtown and Northern Kentucky restaurant closings, which includes the freshly shuttered Blue Wisp. 
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<![CDATA[Please to Start Serving at Cheapside Cafe]]> Ryan Santos and his team at Please — his novel farm-to-table style pop-up dining experience, which has previously found homes in storefronts like OTR's streetpops and at Carriage House Farm in North Bend — are making dinner a regular date at the new Cheapside Cafe downtown. 

Friday and Saturday nights, Please will be taking over the cafe (located at 326 E. Eighth St.) offering communal-seating dinner service for 12 people at 6 and 8:30 p.m. The dinners will remain five-courses for $59 (per person plus tax and gratuity), with accommodations made for allergies and dietary restrictions if noted in your advance reservation. Dinners are BYOB with coffee service provided from Cheapside for a separate purchase. 

New to these dinners will be walk-in service. Up to four walk-in diners will be accepted at each dinner, for those who weren't able to reserve in advance. Walk-ins will be accepted 15 minutes prior to each service on a first-come, first-serve basis. Their current available seatings are:
  • 6 p.m. Friday, July 25 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 5:45 p.m.)
  • 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 25 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 8:15 p.m.)
  • 6 p.m. Saturday, July 26 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 5:45 p.m.)
  • 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 8:15 p.m.)
Reservations go quickly, so head to pleasecincinnati.com or facebook.com/pleasecincinnati to sign up.
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<![CDATA[Cincinnati Public Library Offers Free Children's Lunches]]>
The Cincinnati Public Library is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools and Window Arts Enrichment to fill the summertime nutritional gap left when children aren't receiving reduced-cost/free lunches during the school year through programs like the National School Lunch Program by offering kids under the age of 18 free lunches all summer.

In 2012, the library and Cincinnati Public Schools provided more than 8,800 free summer lunches to children and teens at select library locations. In 2013, Window Arts Enrichment joined the cause and expanded lunch service to 15 summer feeding sites to serve more than 13,000 lunches. (See all Window Arts Enrichment feeding sites here.)

Lunches will be available Monday-Friday through Aug. 8 (except for on Friday, July 4) at these locations:
  • Main Library, Teenspot & Children’s Learning Center: 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Avondale: 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Bond Hill: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • College Hill: 1-2 p.m. 
  • Madisonville: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • West End: 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Covedale 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Deer Park: 1-1:30 p.m. 
  • Elmwood Place: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • Forest Park: 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Groesbeck: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • North Centrall: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • Reading : 2-2:45 p.m. 
  • Sharonville: 12-12:45 p.m.
Find the addresses and contact information of participating library locations here.

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<![CDATA[Enoteca Emilia to Open Adjacent Southern Restaurant]]> The team behind O'Bryonville's successful rustic Italian kitchen and winebar, Enoteca Emilia (2038 Madison Road), has announced they'll be opening an as-of-yet unnamed Southern restaurant in the former (and adjacent) eat well cafe/What's for Dinner? space. 

Restaurateur Margaret Ranalli and Enoteca's executive chef Adam Cobb plan to reimagine the classic “Southern joint." According to a recent press release, the Culinary Institute of America-trained Cobb envisions the restaurant will be an eatery and bar reminiscent of his experiences moving throughout the Carolinas as a Southern minister’s son.  

“This is a tribute to many things: Southern grandmothers, tow-behind barbecues, church picnics, low-country boils and all things bourbon," he says in the aforementioned release. "The food will be simple and soulful; but above all, it will be incredibly satisfying."

The menu will feature in-house, bourbon-bottled cocktails and picnic packages for convenient takeout and dinner will spotlight fried chicken, beer-braised brisket and low-country classics like shrimp and grits and roasted oysters. The restaurant's daily brunch will feature Southern eggs Benedict, breakfast biscuit sandwiches and French toast. 

Ranalli says the full-service restaurant is slated to open in July. Keep up with news at facebook.com/EnotecaEmilia.


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<![CDATA[Food Truck Festival for a Good Cause]]> Josh Cares, a local nonprofit that provides companionship and comfort to children hospitalized in critical and chronic care units at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, on Wednesday (June 18) will host its second annual lunchtime Food Truckin’ for Josh Cares festival. More than 10 diverse area food trucks will be on Fountain Square — from New Orleans to Go and C’est Cheese to streetpops and Dojo Gelato — providing entrees and desserts, which will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges (Elizabeth Mariner of Express Cincinnati; Ilene Ross, chef, editor of 513eats.com and contributing writer for CityBeat; and Jeremy Lieb, executive chef at Boca) in a contest to win the Golden Spatula Award. 

11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, June 18. $2 food tickets. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, joshcares.org.
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<![CDATA[Father's Day Dining Specials ]]>
Father's Day is equally as important at Mother's Day. And so, on Sunday, June 15, area restaurants are offering specials meals and deals for dads.

BrewRiver GastroPub — Traditional brunch menu items including beer-inspired cocktails. All Dads receive free bacon-infused donuts, while supplies last. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, 513-861-2484, brewrivergastropub.com.

King's Island — Dad's eat free on Father's Day with the purchase of another ticket. The park offers up a special barbecue cookout and family activities 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 15 in the picnic grove. The all-you-can-eat buffet includes grilled baby-back ribs, all-beef hotdogs, fresh-grilled burgers, mac and cheese, baked beans, sliced watermelon, ice cream treats, iced tea and assorted Coke beverages. $15.99 adults; $11.99 juniors and seniors; park admission required. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.  

Meatball Kitchen — Offering a special Father's Day takeout deal: from-scratch spaghetti with tomato sauce, a dozen meatballs, house salad, homemade garlic bread and four pieces of spumoni cannoli. $50. 2912 Vine St., Corryville, facebook.com/meatballkitchenusa.

Mitchell's Fish Market — A 14-ounce char grilled ribeye served with cold water lobster tail, smashed redskins and sautéed asparagus. $34.99. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., mitchellsfishmarket.com.

Summit Restaurant at the Midwest Culinary Institute — On Friday (June 13) and Saturday (June 14), The Summit is offering a steak dinner for dads. Along with their regular dinner menu, they'll be offering a 14-ounce chipotle-rubbed sirloin, sea salted baked potato, baby carrots and a red-wine demi-glace. $27. 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu/eat-create-enjoy/the-summit/the-summit

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<![CDATA[Graeter's "Official Ice Cream" of the Western & Southern Open]]>
Graeter's has been named the official ice cream of the annual Western & Southern Open (Aug. 9-17) tennis tournament — which makes sense because Cincinnatians love Greater's and the W&S Open is in Cincinnati ... well, technically Mason.

Cincinnatians and W&S Open out-of-towners (nearly 200,000 fans from 50 states and 30 countries) alike will enjoy the ice-cold and creamy Oprah favorite in two full-service custom ice cream parlors at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. (Last year, the event sold more than 25,000 scoops, bars and shakes.)

The custom W&S Open menu will feature Graeter's French Pot ice cream, their new gelato, other confections and a custom flavor made for the event. Graeter's will unveil the brand new flavor, designed specifically for the W&S Open to be served both at the tournament and in their 31 family-owned stores, in early August.  

"The off-court food, drink and entertainment options have become a strong attraction of the event," tournament director and COO Vince Cicero says in a recent press release. "Graeter's Ice Cream is a world-class product that pairs well with the world-class talent on the courts."  

And both are a celebration of Cincinnati: The W&S Open, which was first played in 1899 at the Avondale Athletic Club, is the nation's oldest professional tennis tournament still played in its city of origin, and Graeter's was first established in Cincinnati by Bavarian immigrants in 1870 and has grown ever since.   

Visit graeters.com or cincytennis.com for more.
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<![CDATA[Camp Washington Coney Eating Challenge]]> Fountain Square's Freaky Friday Series gets meaty during the Camp Washington Chili Coney Eating Challenge (Friday, June 13).

This chili-crazy city has more chili parlors per capita and square mile than any other city in the United States, eating more than 2 million pounds of chili each year ... topped with 850,000 pounds of shredded cheese. If you're one of Cincinnati's chili freaks and enjoy speed eating, this contest is for you. In the contest, 12 people compete against each other in a timed event. The object is to eat as many cheese coneys as possible in three minutes.

Noon-1 p.m. Friday, June 13. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. Register here.
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<![CDATA[Avery Brewing Tap Takeover ]]>
Boulder, Colo.'s Avery Brewing takes over the taps at The Lackman at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 12. 

On tap will be the brewery's Avery IPA, White Rascal, Karma, The Maharaja, plus a special tapping of their 21st Anniversary, Lilikoi Kepolo and a limited amount of their sour release, Rufus Corvus, by-the-bottle.
 
The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. More info here.  
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<![CDATA[12th Annual Taste of the NFL Tackles Hunger]]>
The Cincinnati Bengals host the 12th annual Taste of the NFL, a celebrity dinner, to benefit the Freestore Foodbank. 

The dinner-by-the-bite event combines food, football and fun at Paul Brown Stadium. Hosted by Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (#42) and chef Stephen Williams of Covington, Ky.'s Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, the event pairs chefs from more than 40 area restaurants with Bengals players, coaches and alumni. The evening will also include a silent auction of sports themed items, a live auction of dinners and other Bengals experiences and a raffle featuring gift certificates to favorite Cincinnati eateries.

6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 11. $150 individual ticket. Paul Brown Stadium, Club Lounge West, Downtown, freestorefoodbank.com


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<![CDATA[City Roots: The Giving Fields]]> Tucked away on the Ohio River, 10 miles from downtown Cincinnati, lies a quiet farm with long, beautiful rows of nutrient-dense kale, broccoli and lettuce, ripe strawberries and blueberries, bee hives and a magnificent orchard of nearly 400 fruit trees. 

This idyllic and very productive farm doesn't earn a penny.

Welcome to the Giving Fields in Melbourne, Ky., a 10-acre farm operated by the Freestore Foodbank growing fresh produce for people who can’t afford to buy food.

"The people we feed are at high risk for diabetes and heart disease," says Jennifer Steele, director of community partnerships for the Freestore Foodbank. "We want to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer highly salted, highly sugared processed foods.”

Five years ago, less than 10 percent of the food the Freestore distributed was fresh; most was canned or boxed. Now, 40 percent of the Freestore's food is fresh or frozen, Steele says.

At the Giving Fields, farm manager Molly Jordan grows produce specifically for the Freestore’s food pantry and soup kitchen partners in Northern Kentucky.

"Our food goes to Northern Kentucky because the need is greater there," Steele says. 

It’s easy to see why, since state laws make fresh food less available to Kentucky charities.

In Ohio, the Agricultural Clearance Program sets aside $17 million a year for Ohio farmers to sell surplus or blemished food to food banks. A similar initiative in Kentucky, still in its infancy, allocates only $600,000 for food banks to receive surplus produce annually.

At the same time, the number of Kentucky residents who depend on food donations is increasing. The Kentucky Association of Food Banks reported that 620,100 people now rely on food banks, an 84-percent increase from 2006.

The Giving Fields harvests fruits and vegetables for 117,000 meals in Northern Kentucky each season. Food pantries and soup kitchens receive the produce the day it is picked.

"The Kentucky Department of Agriculture also gives out recipe cards at food pantries so people can learn how to prepare the food we grow," Jordan says.

The farm relies on more than 1,000 volunteers — civic organizations, corporate teams, church groups and others — who work there each year. Jordan alternates rows of crops with wide strips of grass so volunteers can move easily throughout the fields. She also cultivates plants in tall wooden beds so people with limited mobility and senior citizens can weed and harvest, too.

At 10 acres, the Giving Fields is one of the largest food bank farms in the country, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network of U.S. food banks.  

The Freestore funds operational costs for the farm, collaborating with Doug and Sheila Bray of Wilder, who own the land, and the UK Cooperative Extension Office. The Giving Fields is now in its fourth growing season.

To volunteer at the Giving Fields, call the Freestore Foodbank at 513-482-7557 or email Tawanda Rollins at trollins@freestorefoodbank.org. 


ON THE CITY ROOTS CALENDAR

June 7: Gardening for Pollinators Workshop

Honeybees, which are crucial to the production of local fruits and vegetables, are vanishing. Greenacres offers a workshop to learn how to attract butterflies, bumblebees, honeybees and other pollinators to your yard from 10 a.m. to noon at Greenacres Old Church, 8680 Spooky Hollow Road. $15. green-acres.org.

June 9: Garden Basics Class

Pest control, plant disease, watering and water conservation and other seasonal topics will be reviewed in this class offered by horticulturist Bennett Dowling at the Civic Garden Center from 6-8 p.m., 2715 Reading Road. $10; free to Civic Garden Center volunteers. civicgardencenter.org. 

June 17: Foraged Foods Dinner

As part of its farm-to-table dinner series, Carriage House Farm features wild and foraged foods from the farm collected by botanist Abby Artemisia and prepared by Nuvo on Greenup. Artemisia will be on hand to talk about local foraging. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. at Carriage House Farm, 10251 Miami View Road in North Bend; $125 for dinner, drinks, tax and tip. Tickets available at nuvoatgreenup.com

June 28: Medicinal and Edible Plant Workshop

Using plants for food and medicine connects us with our ancestors, say Wes and Diantha Duren of Marvin's Organic Gardens. Their workshop at the Civic Garden Center introduces useful plants to grow in home gardens and shows how to blend herbs to make tinctures and teas. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Civic Garden Center, 2715 Reading Road. $30; registration required by June 15. civicgardencenter.org.


CITY ROOTS is a recurring monthly blog at citybeat.com about local urban agriculture issues.
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