Kentucky Proud Connection staff report

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Proud and the Kentucky Derby Festival once again have teamed up to celebrate the greatest two minutes in sports and fresh, delicious foods raised or produced in Kentucky by Kentuckians. Several thousand dollars' worth of Kentucky Proud foods will be available during the Festival, which opened April 11 with the They're Off! Luncheon at the Galt House East.


"We deeply appreciate our long-standing partnership with the Kentucky Derby Festival and Churchill Downs," Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Kentucky Proud producers to present their products to their Kentucky friends and neighbors as well as visitors from across the nation and around the world."


The estimated 1,500 guests to the 58th Annual They're Off! Luncheon enjoyed a meal that included blueberries from the Kentucky Blueberry Growers Association (KGBA) of Edmonton; pecans from Kight's Pecan Orchard of West Paducah; sorghum from Townsend Sorghum Mill of Montgomery County; filets from Laura's Lean Beef of Lexington; and bourbon-infused cheddar cheese from Boone Creek Creamery of Lexington.


Levy Restaurants, the in-house catering company for Churchill Downs, will serve KBGA blueberries, Kight's pecans, and Townsend sorghum in its dishes the week of the Derby.


Kentucky Proud has partnered with the Kentucky Derby for a decade and has worked with the Derby Festival for several years. Last year, Commissioner Comer announced at the They're Off! Luncheon that Churchill Downs would identify all Kentucky-bred horses on the Derby and Kentucky Oaks day racing programs with the Kentucky Proud logo; since then, Churchill has expanded the initiative to denote Kentucky-breds every day of live racing at the track.


Festival visitors also can find Kentucky Proud products at the Macy's Spring Fashion Show, Taste of Derby, the Waterfront Jam Concert Series, the Kentucky Proud Winefest, Kroger's Fest-a-Ville, and Celebrity Day at the Downs, as well as dozens of Louisville restaurants and retail outlets. For more information about the Kentucky Derby Festival, go to www.kdf.org.