Tuesday Field Trip: Benton’s Country Hams

The past couple weeks have been pretty hectic. We were rushing to get the bar open by October 1 but then we realized that was insane and not going to happen. But we still had to push for our beer permit, health department, fire, and operation certificates by today.

It’s also time to start working on BaconFest 2011. So I got my proposal together and went out to see Allan Benton at Benton’s Country Hams. Back in June he already graciously offered to be the sponsor again, which is fitting since Allan has been the inspiration for bacon parties from the beginning. Through visits to his shop, him being on some panels with my dad, and last year’s BaconFest we’ve become friends. I knew when I called and smiled more than I had in weeks just from a 60 second phone call that the visit was going to be a good one.

Now I know I’ve written about visiting Benton’s a number of times but each time is a different kind of visit. This time I noticed the parking lot, for once, was not full of cars. Usually when you go into the little store there are at least 4 or 5 people waiting. The staff has started to recognize me as the person who has the bacon parties so I was greeted accordingly. Always the same 3 or 4 people working, slicing, packing. And Allan was actually in his office instead of the smoke house or helping a customer. So we sat and talked for about a half an hour. It was definitely the highlight of the past few weeks. We talked about pork prices and food in Knoxville. John Fleer and Joseph Lenn. BaconFest came up for a minute or two. I got some really good advice for the Public House.

After a half hour or so we went to get my pork rounded up. He always sends me home with a few packs of bacon and prosciutto. I got some stuff for my cousin and friends and then he gave me this big ol’ chunk of 17 month old country ham to serve as prosciutto at the Public House! Probably the best soon-to-be opening gift ever!

So stay tuned for more about BaconFest and Public House opening. Tell all your friends!