FRANKFORT – Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles will host a series of “Restaurant Roundtables” in the coming weeks 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.

“No industry has suffered more during the coronavirus pandemic than those businesses in the hospitality space, namely Kentucky’s bars and restaurants,” Quarles said. “Despite those challenges, our Kentucky Proud Buy Local restaurants have continued to support local farmers. Through these Restaurant Roundtables, I want to personally thank them for being part of the farm economy, hear directly from these small businesses owners about how they survived during the pandemic, and how we can partner with them to promote excitement as Kentucky reopens.”

Quarles will kick off his Restaurant Roundtable Tour with stops in Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green, Owensboro and London. Each roundtable will follow recommended Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing.

“The Kentucky Restaurant Association is proud to support both our farmers and local restaurants,” said Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association. “We applaud Commissioner Quarles and the Buy Local program and enjoy helping our restaurants connect with local farmers in their communities.”

Buy Local is a Kentucky Proud program for restaurants, caterers, schools, and other food service participants that source and support local farms. Offered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, this program rewards participants for enhancing their menus with locally-sourced Kentucky Proud farm ingredients. The Buy Local program is funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.