A café in every town

Here's a new Savoring Kentucky feature: a fledgling map of local food sources and businesses. If you want to add to this map, or help build it, say so here.

My dream: Every Kentucky town (oh, I'll be generous and include ALL towns) supports a thriving, locally owned restaurant, café or coffee shop that serves delicious food from surrounding farms and gardens. People gather, tease, comfort, fuss about politics, laugh, and lead richer lives because this third place exists. Personal health, community health, farm health, and the local economy benefit.

The warm, wonderful, popular Bluebird Café in Stanford, Kentucky offers a recent example.  At the other end of the longevity spectrum, Whitesburg's acclaimed Courthouse Café boasts a long track record of pleasing its customers. New cafés are popping up like Surprise Lilies in many small Kentucky towns. Joy! These gathering places deepen the life of their communities, adding contentment, promoting connection and providing comfort for both regulars and visitors.

Bluebird Café, Stanford, Kentucky

Bluebird Café, Stanford, Kentucky

This week's Sustainable Kentucky post about Jennings Hollow Farm profiles an impressive farm and young farmer in an exquisite setting. I cheered Chase Campbell's aims to nurture a new trend of local eating in the towns and counties that produce the great food.

And then my daydream took over: soon, Chase Campbell and other growers will provide excellent food for successful cafés and restaurants in Monticello, Albany, and other small Kentucky towns. As we travel in Kentucky, we will assume that we will find havens in every town where local farms' produce and meats fill the plates, and a steady steam of locals and strangers fill the seats.

Thank you, farmers, cooks, chefs, investors, and intrepid entrepreneurs who are rebuilding the gathering places our towns need to thrive. Thank you, banks like First Southern (supporting the Bluebird and many other improvements) and Monticello Banking Company (supporting the renovation of the Historic Wayne Theater, which may encourage more Main Street investment.) You helping Kentucky and Kentuckians benefit from the 10 reasons connecting spots matter.