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Derby Day Delights

The first Saturday in May holds a very special and time honored tradition for us Kentuckians, though the joke is that it barely even lasts two minutes. We’re talking of course about the Kentucky Derby which, since its start in 1875, has been the place to be and be seen – and we’re referring to both the horses and the hats here.

The traditions extend into eating as well with favorite dishes and drinks focusing on spring flavors through and through. Since most of us won’t be attending the actual race, here’s what we’ll be adding to our menu as we enjoy watching from home.

Our Go-To Mint Julep Recipe

It wouldn’t be the Kentucky Derby without mint juleps and now that mint is in season here at the farm there’s practically no excuse not to make them! Here’s our recipe:


6-8 mint leaves

¼ ounce simple syrup

2 ounces Kentucky bourbon (we like Woodford Reserve)

Crushed ice

Mint sprigs for garnish



Add the simple syrup to a glass and muddle in the mint leaves.

Pour in the bourbon and fill the glass with crushed ice. Stir.

Top with additional crushed ice as desired and garnish with the mint sprigs.

Photo: Kathryne Taylor

Sometimes called Southern pâté, pimento cheese is meant to be a dip for crackers and fresh veggies but we love to use it as a spread on sandwiches too. This version packs a punch with the addition of a jalapeño and cayenne but feel free to adjust as needed to turn down the heat.

Photo: Victor Protasio

It’d almost be a crime not to include at least a variation of a Hot Brown on a classic Derby Day menu. First created by the chef at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville in 1926, thick-sliced turkey is piled high with crispy bacon, tomatoes and topped with cheese. This version uses pull-apart rolls for eating while entertaining.

Photo: Holly Erickson and Natalie Mortimer

This simple, springy salad is a welcome addition to the menu and the radishes and avocados pair perfectly with the creamy mustard dressing.

Photo: Woodford Reserve

Chocolate bourbon balls are almost as famous as Kentucky bourbon itself around here! These ones made by Woodford Reserve are our absolute favorite and we always keep a few boxes of them in stock at our farm store throughout the year, just in case the craving hits.

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