• By John McDaniel, Midway Correspondent

Personals & Comments

We have another big week coming up this weekend. The turkey eating thing will be over and the Christmas thing will be going into second gear as Midway will be having their tree lighting ceremony this Friday night. As the Midway Mayor, Grayson Vandegrift has pointed out the area across from the Steppin’ Out Boutique, that was often referred to as the “Gathering Area” during the Streetscape era, where the community Christmas tree usually stands is void of a tree. This is the same magic area that produced the largest pumpkin in Woodford County this year so it would be disappointing if the little Christmas tree that was planted last week isn’t full size by the time of the community Christmas tree lighting which takes place at 6:30 Friday night (truly a Christmas miracle right here in Midway). So take time to come downtown and watch the streets light up for Christmas and to get everyone in the mood there will be a few Christmas carols sung. If you can’t sing be sure to sing anyway, no one will say a word. The Mezzo Saturday night karaoke sessions has conditioned Midwegian ears to all types of vocal noises.

After Friday night comes Saturday morning and what a morning it will be. There will be an R.J. Corman train making its way into downtown Midway at11 a.m. You’re saying so what, trains come into Midway five or six times a day. Everyone knows that Midway is a “Drinking Town with a Train Problem.” However, you also need to know that Santa will be on that train and can’t wait to talk to all the boys and girls visiting Midway. He wants to find out what he needs to bring them for Christmas. He will be at the Eat, Drink & Breathe building until 2:00 p.m. After visiting Santa, train rides will be available for the kids and parents who want to be kids again will be able to try out the mini train that will be chugging around town.

When you’re downtown be sure to visit the shops. The shop owners, Midway Merchants Association, and the City of Midway have made all these activities possible so be sure to enjoy the day.

When we watch the movies where people are at a big fancy gathering and there are lots of different little sandwiches, slices of cheese, and most often there will be someone dipping this little knife or spoon into a small bowl of tiny black pearls and then place them on top of a little bitty cracker.

The fancy food that I’m talking about is called caviar. According to my research if you use the good stuff a cracker full of these little fish eggs can cost over $500. Now if I have $500 for something, I’m gonna be driving it home.

Did you ever think about where caviar comes from? There are lots of answers to that question and it depends on what kind of caviar you want. According to Wikipedia the traditional term caviar refers only to roe (fish eggs) from wild sturgeon in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea (Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga caviars). Depending on the country, caviar may also be used to describe the roe of other fish such as salmon, steelhead, trout, lumpfish, whitefish, carp, and other species of sturgeon.

What does this have to do with Midway? Please let me continue as I tell you about what part Midway plays in the caviar industry. Some of you may be aware that the old Midway sewer plant has been used for aquaculture or aquafarming projects over the last eight years. Kentucky State University’s Division of Aquaculture which is part of the school’s College of Agriculture grew fish hatchlings there as part of one of their projects. It was interesting to watch these little fish babies no bigger than the fingernail on your little finger grow into big fish. I’m not sure what happened but the project didn’t turn out well. It seemed that ice covered the reservoirs cutting off the oxygen to the growing fish and they all died or most of them did anyway. The University didn’t renew the contract for the sewer plant and that was the end of that.

After a year or so Steve Mims, owner of Advancing Sustainable Aquaculture Performance for Fish, wanted to see if he could put the old sewer plant in use again. After learning from the failure of the Kentucky University project he wanted to develop his own fish project and worked out a deal with the city of Midway and started growing baby fish in the old sewer plant reservoirs again.

Now back to the caviar thing. Last Monday, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Francis Quarles visited Midway and the sewer plant fish hatchery to see what was going on there. He toured the grounds along with Steve Mims, Renee Koerner, owner of Big Fish Farms; Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, and myself, Midway council member, official event photographer, and interested bystanders.

It’s when everyone sat down we were introduced to Kentucky caviar. Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as Kentucky caviar. World famous caviar is produced by Russian sturgeons. Kentucky caviar is produced by (after 10 years) a creature known as the Kentucky paddlefish. Paddlefish are an ancient cousin to sturgeon, one of the most revered fish in the world, and their meat and caviar is very similar in flavor. After getting a quick rundown on the Kentucky caviar industry, everyone was taken out to a small portable reservoir that had several year-old Kentucky paddlefish in it. One was fished out for everyone there to see and hold.

So the next time, say about 10 years from now, and you’re at a party in Kentucky and you’re wandering around looking for something to snack and you spy a bowl of tiny shiny black beads and take a bite remember you might just be eating caviar that was produced by a Kentucky paddlefish that went to school (pun intended) and was raised in Midway. Thanksgiving is upon us and I can’t wait to dive into my special turkey this year. After learning that caviar was prescribed to alleviate depression, and because caviar was once prescribed for impotence, sorta like a fishy Viagra I going to have my turkey stuffed with caviar this year; and I’m going to spread some on my baked potato in remembrance of my Irish grandmother. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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