Kentucky Ag program helps veterans who are farmers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Kentucky Ag program helps veterans who are farmers

(KFVS) -

A Kentucky Department of Agriculture program is helping open retail doors for the products of farmers who are U.S. veterans.

Homegrown By Heroes aims to help Kentucky’s veteran farmers forge careers in agriculture. The brand designates farm products produced and value-added by Kentucky veterans.

The program also helps veteran producers open new markets in grocery stores and restaurants.

Kris Wissing, a Marine Corps veteran who operates Paradise Jellies of Louisville, got word Nov. 3 that his Florida Orange spicy fruit jelly soon will be stocked in 60 Kroger supermarkets throughout Kentucky.

Wissing grows Trinidad Scorpion peppers and infuses them in his spicy fruit jellies. He plans to source blackberries locally in the future.

Ed and Lora Ginter of Woodford County run Bluegrass Aquaponics, which raises fish and hydroponic vegetables, using the fish waste to fertilize the vegetables. Bluegrass Aquaponics provides lettuce and cucumbers to Common Grounds Coffee of Lexington for its salads and sandwiches. Bluegrass Aquaponics is growing tomatoes and green peppers to supply to Common Grounds in the near future.

Ginter served 21 years as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He works for Precision Agricultural Services in Versailles, which provides consulting for the agriculture industry.

Dallas Robinson of LaRue County provided blackberries to Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen of Lexington this year. Robinson is a sergeant in the Kentucky National Guard and an Olympic athlete.

Paul Dengel of Whitley County grows certified organic romaine lettuce for The Weekly Juicery in Lexington and lettuce, tomatoes, and garlic for the Wrigley Taproom & Brewery in Corbin.

Dengel served in the U.S. Air Force from 2006-2010. He rose to the rank of senior airman and traveled to five continents during his service.

Homegrown By Heroes expanded nationally on Veterans Day 2013, and today the program claims more than 275 members in 43 states. Eight states have adopted the Homegrown By Heroes brand, with many more scheduled to follow suit in the near future.

To find out more about Homegrown By Heroes, go to www.homegrownbyheroes.com.

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