Owensboro restaurants, chefs, stakeholders meet with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner during 'Restaurant Roundtables'
Kentucky Proud Buy Local restaurants give insight to challenges faced during COVID-19 pandemic
OWENSBORO (April 27, 2021) – Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles has been making rounds across the state this month for his “Restaurant Roundtables” series to thank Kentucky small business owners and chefs for sourcing food from Kentucky farms and hear firsthand about the challenges they faced during the coronavirus pandemic. Today, he met with several Owensboro small business owners and chefs to continue these discussions.
“Owensboro is known as the Bluegrass Capital of the World and nothing goes better with Bluegrass music than barbecue. As home to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and site of the world-famous International Bar-B-Q Festival, Daviess County’s hospitality industry is very important,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Across the state, this industry was one of the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite those challenges, our Kentucky Proud Buy Local restaurants continued to support local farmers. These Restaurant Roundtables are one way I can personally thank them for being part of the farm economy and hear directly from these small business owners about how they survived during the pandemic. It’s time to reopen Kentucky.”
“Attending the roundtable this morning and listening with Commissioner Quarles to restaurateurs talk about their challenges really highlights the relationships and partnerships we need with the KDA, farmers, and connectors all over Kentucky,” said Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association. “As Kentucky restaurants prepare to fully reopen, these connections will remain invaluable. We thank the Commissioner for prioritizing our local restaurants, cornerstones in each of their communities.”
The Commissioner has already made stops in Lexington, Louisville, and Bowling Green with future Restaurant Roundtable stops in London, and northern Kentucky. Each roundtable will follow recommended Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing.
Those taking place in the forum are small businesses, restaurants, and other stakeholders in the hospitality sector. The forum is also a way for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to promote its Kentucky Proud Buy Local program for restaurants, caterers, schools, and other food service participants that source and support local farms. The Buy Local program rewards participants for enhancing their menus with locally-sourced Kentucky Proud farm ingredients. The program is funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.