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The Market is Open

And a brisk one it is. Yesterday’s weather was what some would call manic, but I enjoyed it. The evening sky was especially beautiful, all blues and greys. I wonder what this little cool snap has done to our vegetable friends?

Plenty of things to talk about. Here’s the most pressing bit: the market will be closed the day of October 19th, due to the Race for the Cure. As all of you know, Downtown becomes an impassable maze on the day of the Race, so we’ve decided to schedule our annual week off for the Race. This means that, next Sunday, the Market will not be open for ordering. You may consider stocking up this week on your local needs!

Our 2nd edition of FRESH is shaping up nicely: we’ve almost tripled the number of farms we’re including and are adding some new segments. If you’d like to support our local food system, FRESH sponsorship is a good way to do it. Help us publish this directory for local foods, while the directory helps unite our local food system and make it more accessible. If you’re interested, purchase a sponsorship in the market, under our Tickets and Gifts section!

I’m also excited to announce the 2nd Annual Little Rock Local Food Tour. We hosted the first annual last October in the South Main neighborhood, and it was a tremendous success. In fact, it helped generate The Root’s annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest. The 2nd Tour will take place this November 9th, in Hillcrest, a neighborhood filled with local food. Expect exciting things from Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Mylo’s Coffee Co., Little Rock Urban Farming, and the Pulaski Heights school garden. This tour is going to be a gastronomic adventure. a limited number of tickets will be on sale soon!

For your eating pleasure…

  • Red Russian Kale from Crimmins. Certified organic. This purple-stemmed kale is one of my favorite varieties. Great for making kale chips.
  • Mizuna from Crimmins. This is one of my FAVORITE salad greens. Its flavor is like arugula except much more mild. The season for Mizuna isn’t long, so enjoy it while it lasts! Speaking of arugula, Kellogg has some delicious certified naturally grown arugula available, as well as a whole mess of greens.
  • Delicata Squash from Crimmins. I’ve been enjoying this flavorful squash for weeks, courtesy of this excellent recipe for Squash Hummus. The skin is tender, easy to cut through, and they roast fantastically.
  • D’Avignon Radish from Willow Springs. Robert specializes in these French breakfast radishes. They’re incredibly bright, tender, and mild.
  • Granny Smith Apples from Drewry. Interesting; I’ve never seen Drewry grow this variety. I’ll have to try it. Nothing goes better with peanut butter than Granny Smiths.
  • Japanese Persimmons from Willow Springs. I had the pleasure of eating one of these persimmons from Robert’s trees. Delicious, perfectly ripe, none of that astringent unpleasantness that persimmons are known for.
  • Honey in the Comb from Crimmins. I saw a jar of this honey yesterday. It was outstandingly dark, just like I like my honey. Crimmins is set in the midst of a river valley, so I can imagine the wonderful variety of flowering plants his bees have access to.
  • Farm Girl Bacon. This is an exciting new product from Farm Girl Natural Foods. As I understand it, this bacon is fresh from the processor. In fact, Farm Girl just hit the market with a ton of great pork offerings: thick spare ribs, Hmong sausage, sliced deli ham, and roasts. Farm Girl tends to work in small batches, so it’s likely that these cuts won’t be around for long.

Community Happenin’s…

  • The 2nd annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest will be this following Sunday, at the Root Cafe. The 1st annual was a ton of fun, if not a little disturbing.
  • I recently dined at The Fold Botanas & Bar and very much enjoyed the food, a lot of which was locally sourced from farms like Ratchford and MeatWorks. Eat there and support our local farmers!
  • Travis McConnell of Butcher & Public just announced a Kickstarter campaign to help open Travis’ butchery, community hangout, and restaurant. Check out the video: this guy has some innovative ideas for his community butchery. He’s about halfway to his goal; we can send him over and get some delicious food in return!
  • The Main St Food Truck Festival defied the elements yesterday and had people turning out, covered in rain, hunting for food. Loblolly sold out in their new, solar-powered truck! Just goes to show, how far people will go for good food.
  • And some positive feedback from Willow Springs Market Garden – “Ahead of the rain we planted another round of seeds, including Nelson carrots, Green F1 spinach, Hakurei Japanese small turnips and Five Star lettuce mix. Today we have had the best seed rain, light and effective but it didn’t produce even a light green blob on radar over our garden. Perfect.”