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Little Rock and Central Arkansas Farmer's Markets and Local Eating

Support Local Farmers

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Market Stall
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Eating local has become the new call to arms among environmentalists and health conscious individuals everywhere. Eating local has several advantages: normally the food is fresher because it's harvested nearby and needs no preservatives or chemicals, you learn to eat seasonally when foods taste best, you support your local economy and local foods have a lower carbon footprint because they don't need to be transported as far and oftentimes, small farms are more likely to use environmentally friendly processes than larger, mass market farms. There's a book titled, "Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet" by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon that gives more insight into the movement or you can check out About's Local Foods site.

Since Arkansas is an agricultural state, we have plenty of opportunities to eat locally or, as they say, become a locavore. Even in the big city of Little Rock, there are opportunities to support local agriculture.

Farmer's Markets

The Argenta Farmer's Market -
The Argenta Farmer's Market is a “source verified” market. All vendors have been inspected to verify that they are the source of the product they are selling. Nothing outside of Arkansas can be sold at the market. It's the easiest way to be assured of local food.

The market is open from Saturday, April thru September in downtown North Little Rock's Argenta district on Saturdays from 7 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Where to go: The Argenta district is located in downtown North Little Rock, not far from Verizon Arena. The Farmer's Market is at 6th and Main Streets. (Map)

Bernice Garden Farmer's Market -
Any Arkansas farmer or gardener is welcome to sell what they raise and produce. Farmers, gardeners and growers can rent a 10 ft. by 10 ft. space at the market for $10 each Sunday. Local artists, musicians and food providers also can rent space at the Farmers’ Market. It's one of the most fun farmer's markets in the city.

The Bernice Garden is open from April until Mid November every Sunday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., rain or shine.

Where to go: The market is located at 1401 South Main Street, in downtown Little Rock, near The Root cafe.

River Market Farmer's Market -
Located in the Little Rock Farmer's Market, there is no requirement to be locally grown to have a booth here. Many local farmers do display their goods at this market and those vendors normally display the "Arkansas Grown" logo. This market normally has a larger variety than the others.

The River Market Farmer's Market is open Tuesdays and Saturdays May 27, 2014 -   August 26, 2014.  It's open Saturdays only May 3, 2014 - October 25, 2014.  Hours on Tuesdays are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Directions: The market is located in the open-air pavilions behind the River Market building in downtown Little Rock.

Hillcrest Farmers Market -
This is another all local market that has locally-grown vegetables, fruit, cheese, flowers, pasture-raised meat, poultry and dairy, eggs, and locally produced jams, jellies, bread and candy.

Hillcrest Farmers Market now operates Saturdays year-round. Spring-Summer hours are 7 a.m. to Noon. October to April hours are 8 a.m. to Noon. They utilize the building when it's really cold.

Where to go:  Located in the Pulaski Heights Baptist Church parking lot (2200 Kavanaugh)

Other, less expansive, markets-
Maumelle has a small farmer's market at 449 Millwood Circle, in a parking lot. The "Arkansas Home Grown Market" can be found on 8700 N. Rodney Parham in the church parking lot. The YWCA at 1200 S Cleveland sometimes has a small produce market too. They generally tend to open up around April, like the bigger Farmer's Markets.  There's also an online version of a locally grown market.

 

Restaurants Serving Local Foods
There are some restaurants that strive to use local foods whenever possible. A few them are listed below. If you know of a restaurant that uses local foods for most of their menu choices, email me and let me know.

Some of these are pretty pricey, but a few of them are bargains.


Local Meats & Dairy
Most from grass fed animals. Some are certified-organic, but some small farms cannot afford to be certified, but still raise their animals organically. Local Grains
  • War Eagle Mill - Organic grains ground locally on water-powered stone buhr mill.
Local Produce and Orchards Local Food Festivals
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