DERBY MINT: Farmer's precious crop grown in PRP subdivision
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Churchill Downs will serve more than 120,000 mint juleps on Derby Day, and what makes them taste so good is what's grown in the middle of a PRP subdivision.
“It's my little claim to fame I guess,” explained farmer Bill Dohn.
Dohn has been a part of the Kentucky Derby for almost 30 years, even though he's only personally been to two and that was about 40 years ago. He supplies all the mint that goes into each and every mint julep served at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
“They usually use about 800 dozen bunches,” said Dohn.
He employs local middle and high school students who come after school to cut his precious crop.
“Some famous person could be drinking a mint julep that I made,” said 8th grader Cameron Davis.
Honest work, but an unlikely location. Dohn and Dohn Gardens worldwide headquarters is in the middle of Pleasure Ridge Park, not far off Dixie Highway.
“I actually sent some UPS last night to Los Angeles,” said Dohn.
Bourbon experts at the track say they like the way this locally grown spearmint pairs with bourbon. Some kinds of mint can be too strong and make bourbon taste too soapy in a mint julep. Dohn’s mint is nice and mild.
“The prettiest and the best and the freshest and the tender and the best color and everything is really right about now,” he said.
But it wasn't an easy year. A harsh winter meant a late spring. A freeze about two weeks ago killed some of the two acre field.
“I was worried about having mint that was tall enough because we like six to ten inches,” said Dohn.
But somehow it all worked out. Maybe Mother Nature knew about the new dirt bike Cameron Davis is saving up to buy.
“Its the one little thing that makes it different. It would just be a bourbon drink if you didn't have that sprig of mint at the top of it,” said Dohn.
The mint is so fragrant that is has desensitized Dohn, who can no longer smell his crop.
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