The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other announcements about our organization. If you have any questions about this program, please email us at littlerockfoodclub@gmail.com or call 501-396-9952.



 
Subscribe to an RSS Feed

To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn-


There Is A Season, Turn, Turn, Turn.

But what season? What’s going on out there? September in Arkansas apparently means days hot enough to wilt both you and your salad followed by nights chilly enough cause some serious stew cravings. What’s a devout local foodie and serious seasonal eater to do? Give in and go nuts at The Market! Want to dig your heels in and really savor that last bit of summer? Stock up on salad mix, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash. Ready to revel in change and bring on the autumn? Sample all the stew meat, apples and pumpkins you can stand. Not sure where your loyalties lie? No problem! Embrace the opportunity to enjoy it all. Order early. Order often. Order before The Market closes and get your multi-seasonal feasting on!

~Rebecca Wild

The Market is Open


Good Morning Everyone,
The Market is open!
I hope everyone enjoyed our first Northern wind in several months. One forgets how invigorating a cool wind can be. As you can imagine, a Northerly wind slows Summer vegetables down and provides ideal conditions for Fall seedlings. Hopefully, the broccoli and cabbage and lettuces we’ll be enjoying in a month or so like this cool wind as much as we do.
We just posted our visit to Arkansas Fresh Bakery. Look over the story and enjoy the mouth-watering pictures of bread. We hope this helps you enjoy Ashton’s Flaxseed Sourdough and infamous Challah buns even more.
Last but not least, there are whispers in the Northern wind of a 2nd annual Local Food Tour in a different neighborhood. But which neighborhood will it be? Hint: Mylo’s Coffee Company will be involved.
________________________________________

  • Organic Delicata Squash from Crimmins. You know, I forget that squash is a native vegetable. This particular squash is also known as the Peanut or Sweet Potato Squash, and it’s rich in potassium and fiber. Try it roasted and stuffed, like in this recipe.
  • Eggplant: Black Beauty, Japanese, Fairytale. At this point in the Summer, I always have to think of what I can do with eggplant. Here’s an interesting recipe: Japanese Eggplant Pickles. Eggplant, apparently, is a common pickled vegetable in Japan. It’s simple to make and perhaps worth a try?
  • OKRA! Organic okra from Crimmins and North Pulaski. Clemson from Barnhill. Okra is a vegetable I do not have to worry about: I roast it with olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, and a little brown sugar every time, and it’s always delicious. A word to the wise: slice your okra in half lengthwise before roasting to allow some moisture to escape.
  • Last Ditch Purple Hull Peas. Barnhill has some unshelled pink eye purple hull peas. The last of the fresh peas we’ll probably see. Order up and shell them over a movie!
  • Baby Pear Pumpkins from Willow Springs. I had the pleasure of seeing these little pumpkins in person at Robert’s garden two days ago. My Lord, they are cute. Robert’s Metro Butternut Squash are also small and tender. Very flavorful.
  • Sweet Potatoes from Drewry. They even have big boxes available, for the sweet potato fanatics like me.
  • The Fruit Story: muscadines and apples. It looks like Bluebird’s muscadine production may be winding down, so I’d order up now!
  • Goat! I’d encourage you not to overlook goat meat. It is lean and lower in fat than beef or pork, but it bears a less gamey flavor than lamb. Use it in a simple braise, make kabobs, or sear a chop. I think you’ll enjoy it. Plus, goat meat makes a perfect accompaniment to peppers, of which we currently have a lot.
    _______________________________________

News in the community…

Have you checked out the new Front Porch Arkansas podcast? They paid good mention to the Root Cafe and Loblolly Creamery.
And The Root is hosting its 2nd annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest. They organized last year’s in conjunction with our Local Food Tour, and it was an exercise in entertainment and sadism. Can’t wait for this year’s! October 13th. Mark your calendar!
And I encourage you to check out Laughing Stock Farms Facebook page. Great pictures and a lot of cool things happening on Josh’s farm right now.
Sincerely,
Sam Hedges
________________________________________

Not Feeling This Second Wave?


After that lovely respite that had us all hoping we’d be graced with an early autumn, those pesky triple digit temps are back. Despite the heat, I can’t stop pining away after all the heavy, rich cold weather foods I so long to enjoy. In fact, optimistic rebel that I am, there’s a pot roast (thanks, MeatWorks!) practically falling apart in my oven right now and though I wouldn’t mind the house being a few degrees cooler, I wouldn’t trade this homey aroma for all the crisp air in Sweden.

For those less inclined to suffer for the cause, there is hope! I hear rumors of a drop in both temperature an humidity all next week. Take advantage by ordering up all the things you’ve been waiting for. Reserve your own chuck roast from MeatWorks Butchery and Market, or practice your Thanksgiving skills on a Farm Girl poulet libre. Bake a few adorable, individual sized metro butternut squash from Willow Springs or half pint pumpkins from Drewry Farm. Creamy comforting soup, anyone? Don’t overlook the sweet potatoes and apples. There’s nothing sadder than an empty pie crust.

Don’t forget, The Market closes tomorrow morning, and there are plenty of late summer goodies too. Regardless of which season you favor, we’re here to make it as delicious as it can be!

~Rebecca Wild

The Market is Open


Good Morning,
The Market is open. We’ve come back round to yet another seasonal transition, from Summer to Fall. You can read it in the market, every time the local offerings seem to hover or stall. There is plenty of Summer abundance, but you can almost feel the tired out plants sending energy into the last of their tomatoes and squash. Our farmers are gearing up for Fall; their minds have already moved on to Fall’s offerings. I look forward to the return of greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, Winter squash (those are already here, aren’t they?), and root vegetables.
Until then, one more yellow squash and cherry tomato.
__________________________________________________

The second edition of FRESH

We’ve started working on the second edition of our FRESH Local Food Directory for this Fall. I’m excited about the additions and improvements we’re making, including as comprehensive a list of local farms as possible. Due to the success of our first edition, we’ll be printing 2,500 more copies, with more pages for more entries.
The core purpose of this directory is to provide a free service to the public, a resource so that everyone can easily find local foods. If you’d like to support the 2nd edition, consider becoming a Sponsor. For a contribution of $25 or more to the design and printing of this directory, we will forever engrave your name and goodness into its pages, listing you as a Sponsor. If you’d like to sponsor, flag me down!
__________________________________________________

This here market…

  • Farm Basket from Barnhill Orchards. An interesting new addition to our market: you can purchase a basket of select farm produce from Barnhill Orchards. The contents change week to week, but your support for the farm would be unwavering.
  • The Farm Harvest Package from MeatWorks is on Special and includes 1 medium Pork Roast, 2 packages of Cube Steak, 2 packages of Pork Chops, 1 Link Sausage, and 2lbs of Beef Ribs.
  • Organic Okra from North Pulaski. I love North Pulaski’s okra. In fact, North Pulaski taught me to love okra. I’ll probably roast some for lunch, tossed with smoked paprika, lemon juice, sea salt, and olive oil.
  • Organic Marconi Peppers from North Pulaski: beautiful in appearance and taste. These peppers are huge, vibrant in color, and perfect roasted or “pasta’d”, i.e., put in pasta.
  • Fresh, just-frozen Purple Hull Peas from Kellogg, certified naturally grown.
  • Half-pint Pumpkins from Drewry Farm & Orchards. Man, these pumpkins are cute. It would hurt me to eat them, but I must…
  • The last of Summer’s tomatoes: snag a few more. Crimmins has Juliet and Sungolds, Armstead has their Paste and Standards. But! Barnhill has their Fall tomatoes coming in. The tomato show isn’t over yet, my friends.
  • Drewry has plenty of apples: Gala, Pinova, Jonathan, and Red Delicious. More like, all delicious.
  • Ratchford just put on their frozen berries, including their Raspberries, Grown using natural methods at Ratchford Farms, grown using only organic fertilizer and cedar shavings for bug repellent.
  • Chicken. There is a lot of chicken available right now. I used to be afraid of cooking chicken, but it’s proven really rather simple. My favorite is to just pan roast drumsticks with a rich mustard-garlic marinade. Have you ever watched a chicken in motion? They remind me so much of little T-rex’s, although, I’ve never seen a T-rex. Chicken or egg situation.
    __________________________________________________

And a little bit of Foodie news: Mylo’s Coffee Co. is officially moving into a brick and mortar space. If you’ve not yet tried Mylo’s wondrous pastries, it’ll become much easier to do by 2014. These guys have been a huge boost to their respective farmers’ markets, and we are excited to see them realize a long-endured dream. I hope you like chocolate croissants.

Sincerely,
Sam Hedges
arlocalfoodnetwork@gmail.com
501-291-2769

Apples and Peaches and Pears - Oh My!


Feeling a little holiday jet lag after a fun filled three-day weekend? Get back on track with the help of some energizing, nutrient dense, local food! There’s a myriad of wholesome groceries still up for grabs on The Market:

Fill up on fiber with Jonathan and Gala Apples from Drewry Farm and Orchard. Replenish your riboflavin with Baby Spinach from Arkansas Natural Produce. Protect your prostate with Bok Choy from Kellogg Valley Farm. Double up on vitamin D with Pastured Eggs from Bluebird Hill Berry Farm. Metabolize some molybdenum with Black Beauty Eggplant from Bussey-Scott Urban Garden. Increase your iron intake with Moringa from Willow Springs Market Garden. Pump up the protein with Pork Tenderloin from Meatworks Butchery and Market.

But do it before The Market closes tomorrow morning or you’ll have to suffer procrastinator’s remorse and nutritional ennui.

~Rebecca Wild

The Market is Open


Why Hello! I didn’t see you there…
The Market is open and in its Sunday best. The Arkansas Local Food Network is enjoying a little quiet time before a Fall of fundraising and other exciting projects. Have you been keeping up with our Know Your Farmer series? Don’t you want to know these crazy kooks?
We are building steam designing our second edition of Fresh, the Local Food Directory. If you want to be involved or help sponsor the second edition, get in touch with me! We’re asking for $25 sponsor donations at the moment to help cover the cost of design and printing. This directory is free to the public, and we plan to keep it that way!
One little musing on weather: it’s hot. But I’m enjoying the heat at the moment, I guess because it feels temporary as opposed to something I’ll need to live and work through for the next two months. This weekend, it’s been a fantastic reason to laze around and dream about going swimming. I feel my life moving at a slower pace, but this bloom of heat makes it totally acceptable.
__________________________________________________

News from the Market…

  • Drewry Farm and Orchards is back with us, just in time for Gala and Jonathan apples and the last call on their Flame Prince peaches. What else? Well, they have butternut squash, Covington sweet potatoes, and cooking pumpkins. Drewry is famous in my world for its apples, and yes, they will have Arkansas Black apples. What a farmer loves most is a nice welcoming when they return, so order up!
  • Muscadine time! Bluebird Hill has plenty of Muscadine grapes, and he’s selling some in gallon bags for jelly making! Muscadines are fantastic for at least two reasons: (1) they are a native of the American South and (2) they are nature’s richest source of polyphenolic antioxidants, plus a whole mess of other beneficial nutrients.
  • Kieffer Pears from Barnhill Orchards. I’ve figured out what to do with these pears. While they are not the most delightful to eat raw, they make a mean Pear Sauce. Just slice and core them and cook them in a crock pot for 24 hours. The taste is fantastic, especially with a few spices and herbs added. Easy to make and very rewarding.
  • Tailgate Time! I heard somewhere something about a game next weekend. If it’s true, I’m wondering, do you need food for it? Bratwursts from MeatWorks? Or their House Sausage Sampler? What about Baby Back Ribs from Bluebird? What do you need? The Market is asking!
  • Armstead Mountain’s Paste Tomatoes come highly recommended for any and all tomato sauces. They’re low on water content and high on flavor. Plus, they’re shaped funny. Did I mention Gazpacho? Great for Gazpacho, especially with Crimmins’ pickling cucumbers and ANP’s sweet peppers.
  • Acorn Squash from Barnhill Orchards. I love Acorn Squash. I love all Winter squash, and we have plenty on the market now! Acorn, Delicata, and Butternut.
  • Turkey Time! Falling Sky Farm is taking deposits on their pasture raised turkeys for Thanksgiving. These turkeys are the tastiest.
    __________________________________________________

News from the Farm…

  • ABC Nature Greenhouse says:
    “Kaffir limes are ready to pick and the Yuzu fruit is ready to pick. Anyone want any? They are organically grown!” Contact ABC for more info.
  • Dunbar Community Garden needs you to can! For their Fall fundraiser, Dunbar is reaching out to the community to help preserve the fruits of their land. If you don’t know Dunbar, I highly recommend swinging by. They will give you a bunch of delicious pears for a very good price.
  • And Loblolly Creamery has Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry Buttermilk Bars. Just sayin’.

Ok ya’ll! Until next time,
Sam Hedges

Is It Labor Day Already!


Gearing up for a great three day weekend? Our Saturday and Monday pickups will not be interrupted by holiday festivities so don’t hesitate to place an order (or two, or three) before The Market closes tomorrow morning.

Speaking of Shopping:

Make sure you have all the ingredients for a phenomenal feast: franks and fresh bratwurst from Meatworks Butchery, apple brats and smoked sausage from Falling Sky Farm, jalapeno cheddar brats and buffalo hot dogs from Ratchford Farm, plenty of ground beef, buffalo, elk and lamb for gourmet burgers galore and whole chickens in every shape and size from Farm Girl Natural Foods. All pastured. All delicious. All available and ready to travel from an Arkansas farm to an Arkansas grill.

While you’re at it, don’t forget that sensational sides are often the stars of the show. Stock up on new red potatoes from Crimmins Family Farm for fantastic potato salad, an assortment of aubergines from Kellogg Valley Farm and Arkansas Natural Produce to grill, and a myriad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions for marinating. Finish the feast with refreshing melon salad featuring cantaloupe from Crimmins Family Farm and chocolate mint from Bussey-Scott Urban Farm, or truly indulge with poached pears featuring kieffer pears from Barnhill Orchard and honey from The Sweet Life Apiary, perhaps over ice cream. Either way you’ll return to work rested, full of zest and vigor, ready to dive back in to the daily grind. Or at least well fed.

~Rebecca Wild

The Market is Open


Good Morning Ya’ll,
I live in Hillcrest and have witnessed a rabbit invasion over the past year and a half. There are rabbits everywhere; there is a rabbit outside my window right now. Rabbit meat is good. People used to work hard to catch rabbits; this guy is right outside my window. No, I’m not going to eat him. How would I do that, hypothetically? I’m just saying, it’s early, and I haven’t reigned my brain in yet.

Sometimes I take for granted the locavore community that surrounds me, until I have a conversation with someone who, GASP, doesn’t really care whether meat is grassfed or raised in a fortress of inhumane cruelty.

I just had such a conversation with someone who sort of suggested that I only eat pasture-raised meat because I like being difficult and ruining her dinner parties.
She did not think that CAFO’s were all that bad.
I said, well why don’t you go spend some time in one?

The truth as I understand it, dear preached-to choir, is that what you put in your body matters, and animals raised in freakish circumstances become an extension of your circumstances when you ingest them, biologically, ethically, etc. That concept, I think, is pretty old. But it’s difficult to muster the care when CAFO’s are so hidden behind the industrial veil. All we consumers see, all we are evolved to really care about, are price tags. With a little education or drastic life change, your perspective can change, but it doesn’t seem to stick for everyone.

The rabbit is in the exact same spot. You know, I kind of feel glad for the little guy. Rabbits live in a perpetual state of fear, but he’s getting to enjoy a quiet Sunday morning on my lawn. Unnatural, maybe, but everyone deserves a break.
__________________________________________________

What we got here is a Market

  • Flat Iron Steak from Ratchford Farms. The perfect grilling steak, LC Ratchford says, for its uniform thickness. It’s hot! Grill!
  • Just cooked up a mess of Farm Girl’s Chorizo. With onion, garlic, and cherry tomatoes, it is just delicious. Toss it with some shredded cabbage, roasted peppers, fridge-pickled banana peppers (Thank You Kellogg Farm), creme fraiche, cumin, smoked paprika, and lime juice? Boy howdy.
  • Organic Butternut Squash from Crimmins! I love Butternuts. Butternut squash soup is so easy and always delicious. Plus, these guys have great shelf life, so it’s OK to forget about them for a week or two! (Or four). Crimmins also has Bulk Pickling Cucumbers for your canning needs.
  • Organic Cabbage from Armstead. This is probably the last of the cabbage we’ll see. Another veggie with great refrigerated shelf life. This is also probably the last week for their fantastic onions.
  • Lunchbox Mini-Bell Peppers from Arkansas Natural Produce. These guys look super cute. I want them. ANP’s peppers are also delicious and beautiful in their color.
  • Sorrel. If you haven’t tried it yet, I’d recommend it. Sorrel has a bright flavor and is excellent added to salads, soups, whatever. Interesting trivia: Sorrel’s flavor is akin to sour strawberries or kiwifruit, due to a poisonous acid that it contains, which is only harmful in huge quantities. So don’t eat 10lbs of this stuff in one sitting.
  • THREE kinds of Organic Cantaloupe from Crimmins. He has sizes to fit your needs as a ravenous family or humble, singular forager.
  • Kieffer Pears from Barnhill Orchards. Apparently, the Kieffer pear was developed on a 19th century Frenchman’s farm in Philadelphia, as a probable hybrid between Chinese sand pears and Barletts. They’re hardy trees, resistant to fire blight and cold. The pears, however, are firm and best used in pies or preserves.
    __________________________________________________

Be on the lookout for another entry in our Know Your Farmer series. I recently paid an enjoyable visit to Main Street Apothecary and can tell you this:
If you care about what you put in your body, than Main Street can offer you the most natural possible products for your body’s major organ: the skin. Check out their soaps, cremes, and perfumes, and just wait for the exciting story I will tell!
Happy week to everyone. Stop complaining about the heat; this Summer has been a blessing.

Sincerely,
Sam Hedges

Too Much of a Good Thing?


A fantastic cook and fellow local food fan once told me “This is the time of year when you stuff your vegetables with vegetables and you eat it. And you like it.” Wiser words have never been spoken. Our farmers’ fields are overflowing with peppers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant and even chard; all of it ripe and ready to stuff and be stuffed! Need even more ways to combine all the best aspects of summer’s generosity? How about ratatouille? Traditional or Hollywood style. Or, get in touch with your southern roots and whip up a mess of succotash. Everything you need to make a vast variety of veggie vittles is available via The Market right this very minute. Order before it closes tomorrow morning to eat well all week long!

Don’t miss out on these late additions and oft’ overlooked gems:

Delicata Winter Squash from Crimmins Family Farm – Don’t let the name fool you; delicata are more closely related to summer squash than winter, but they still have that rich, butternutty essence. Known as the lazy efficient chef’s winter squash, they cook faster than butternuts and acorns and, best of all, you don’t even have to peel them.

La Lot from Willow Springs – A betel leaf used in Southeast Asian cooking, usually wrapped around spiced ground meat and grilled. There’s no better time than the present to try something new.

Kieffer Pears from Barnhill Orchard – If the weather didn’t tip you off that fall is almost here, you can’t deny it once the pears start flowing. The first of the harvest, these pears are quite crisp and best suited to cooking and canning. As long as your canning tools are still warm from that last batch of tomatoes, why not put away some brandied pears for a fabulous winter treat? {Bonus points for throwing a leaf of Cinnamon Basil from Victory Garden into each jar… and then bringing me one.}

Loofah from Willow Springs – Also known as luffa, Chinese okra or Vietnamese gourd, these fruits are a common ingredient in many traditional Asian cuisines, but only when harvested very young. If allowed to mature, they become fibrous and inedible but very useful for other things. Look for them in the Bath & Beauty category.

Speaking of Bath & Beauty, maybe it’s time to take another look at the non-food products available from our farmers and artisans. We offer everything from the practical (Insect Repellent from Kellogg Valley, Deodorant from Maison Terre) to the decedent (Body Butter from Tammy Sue’s Critters, Solid Perfume from Main St. Apothecary). All brought to you by Arkansas.

-Rebecca Wild

Please be aware that Bluebird Hill Berry Farm will not be able to deliver this week. However, if you ordered products from them there’s still plenty of time to place another order.

The Market is Open


Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, depending on when you open this e-mail,
The Market is open! Things are looking good, despite the fact that Arkansas spontaneously fast-forwarded into Fall. Maybe we’ll just call seasons day by day in the future.
Tonight, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church is hosting a screening of A Place at the Table, in partnership with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light. The screening takes place at Market Street Cinema, starting at 6pm. The turnout should be great, and ALFN will be in attendance!
__________________________________________________

Happy Times with Ice Cream…
The Green Corner Store generously hosted a Happy Hour for the Arkansas Local Food Network yesterday afternoon. $1 from every Soda Fountain drink went to us, and they had their delicious ALFN Fig Chunk ice cream on tap. Liz Sanders, Dwayne McFarlan, Kristin Yates, Juli Brandenberger, and I enjoyed some Corner Store time, and everyone we talked with was happy, because they were eating ice cream. We particularly enjoyed the company of L.C. Ratchford from Ratchford Farms, Robert of Willow Springs Market Garden, and Bo Bennett from the Victory Garden. A big, perpetual thanks to the Loblolly Team and the Green Corner Store. Few places in Little Rock are as heart warming as that place.
__________________________________________________

Duck Eggs!
What are they about? Why are they so hip right now? Are they hip? Who said that?
Here is an interesting post making some claims about ducks’ eggs’ superiority over chickens’ eggs. After doing the requisite ten minutes of internet research, I can safely summarize that Duck Eggs pack a slightly bigger nutrient punch, which makes sense, as they’re twice the size of chicken eggs. Nutritionists and the health-obsessed like them for their higher content of Omega-3 fatty acids, but the health-obsessed skeptics are wary of them due to their higher cholesterol content (the value of that information sort of depends on your personal opinion regarding cholesterol’s villainy).
What can be happily noted is this: Duck Eggs have heavy duty shells (longer shelf life) and a higher yolk:whites ratio. For baking, they are ideal: super firm, yolky, etc., which is why chefs love them. There are some duck eggs from Willow Springs Market Garden available on the market right now, so consider this little post should you get the chance to try some. I know The Root Cafe is always putting fried duck eggs on things.
Here are three creative recipes for Duck Eggs
Red Potato Salad w/ Bacon & Duck Eggs.
Smoked Bacon Hash with Fried Duck Egg.
Over Easy Duck Eggs w/ Fontina & Grilled Toast.
__________________________________________________

OK Fine this is What’s in the Market…

  • Goat Chops from Ratchford Farms. A delicious, complex meat. Here’s a good recipe: Grilled Goat Chops w/ Savory and Garlic. A little goat trivia: the infamous McClard’s Bar-B-Q restaurant started out barbecuing goat meat.
  • Cherry Tomatoes from Crimmins’ Family Farm (organic) and ANP. Great fresh, or you can try making Cherry Tomato Ketchup.
  • Fresh Cow Peas from Victory Garden. You can cook them like a black eyed pea, so try some Moroccan Cow Peas.
  • Tasty fruit on the Market! Organic Cantaloupe from Crimmins Family Farm, Mixed Apples from Willow Springs Market Garden, Elberta Peaches from Barnhill Orchards.
  • Basil Galore of all kinds in our Herb Section. You could make the most complex pesto ever with this selection of basil!
    __________________________________________________

Foodie Findings…
I visited two excellent restaurant establishments this past week: Trio’s and South on Main. I was very pleased to see Armstead Mountain Farm’s organic veggies on Trio’s menu, and the kitchen prepared their excellent veggies deliciously. Most everything on South on Main’s menu is locally sourced from farms you find in our market, including some spectacular fried okra (hint: they pickle it first) from Bussey-Scott. South on Main opens for dinner this Tuesday! Now SoMa can be an all-day food marathon.

Sincerely,
Sam Hedges