Author Archives: admin

Farm to Table in Arkansas

We are so lucky here in Arkansas that, no matter where you live, you’re probably not very far from a source for fresh produce and other farm fresh goodies. Even if you live in one of our larger cities, farmers markets set up shop a couple of days during the week (usually Tuesday and Saturday) from April through October, and the freshest picked of nature’s bounty is brought just about to your doorstep!

But even without farmers markets, you can often find produce stands along our rural highways, as well as you-pick-em farms and orchards – you can’t get any fresher than that!

Festivals

Arkansas boasts several hot spots for growing particularly delicious fruit and vegetables. Towns nearby put on festivals around harvest time highlighting the best of the season’s crops.

Pick Your Own

This Arkansas.com page lists the U-Pick Farms all around the state, and I’m happy to let them update the links here so I don’t have to! Here’s another site provided by farmerdirect2you.com with some other options. And the granddaddy of them all, pickyourown.org, has listings for farms in other states besides Arkansas, if that interests you!

Local Farmers Markets

As far as established farmers markets in the larger cities – there are way too many to list here, and you probably already know where they are in your local area. (In case you’re curious, here’s a terrific website, Arkansas Grown, that lists many of them as well as other whole food sources all over the state!)

We are already more than halfway through this year’s growing season, but there’s still a lot of good eating left to come. I encourage you to #shoplocal #buylocal and support your local farming operation. Nobody said it better than Paul Harvey in his “So God Made The Farmer” tribute. Thank a farmer today!

#shoplocal #farmers

 

 

 

Spring has finally arrived…

Sorry for being late with the monthly events, but – fear not! – there are still plenty of things going on the rest of this month that you won’t want to miss.

Jazz in the Park

Jazz in the Park kicks off its third year this month and is better than ever through a new partnership with Art Porter Music Education!  Art Porter Music Education, Inc. (APME) continues its mission of keeping alive the musical legacies of local jazz statesman Art Porter, Sr. and his son, renowned saxophonist Art Porter, Jr.

Performances are Wednesday nights in April from 6pm to 8pm in the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park (in case of rain, the West Pavilion will be the alternate site). The event is completely free, but no coolers are allowed. Beer, wine, soft drinks and water will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Art Porter Music Education, Inc.’s scholarship fund.  Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and there is some seating in the natural stone amphitheater at the History Pavilion.

The scheduled artists are – April 8, Jazz R Us; April 15, New Era Jazz Project; April 22, Stellar Way; and April 29, John Burnette Band.

Central Arkansas Astronomical Society

Interested in celestial bodies? Want to see them up close and personal? Drop in on the next meeting of the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society!

The April meeting of CAAS will be 7:00pm April 11 at River Ridge Observatory.  Stephen Caldwell will explain the RRO RRT (River Ridge Observatory Robotic Research Telescope).   Then Jeff Robertson will present “Observing Variable Stars with Automated Telescope”. Jeff and Bruce have done some outstanding work in this area bringing notoriety to our club and Observatory.   This is an exciting time for our Club with the Mid States Region Astronomical League (MSRAL) convention coming up in late May and a lot of activities between now and then.  Lots of opportunity to get involved if you like.  As always the meeting is free and open to all with an interest in astronomy, member or not.
Carl Freyaldenhoven is bringing his delicious Taco Soup for the supper bowl at 6:00 PM. Please use the RSVP button above to let us know you will be eating with us.
If you need directions, contact us at info@caasastro.org.
CAAS also holds Star Parties at Woolly Hollow State Park during spring through fall, so “like” them on Facebook for dates and times. This is a great activity for kids and adults alike!
For my friends in NWA, Sugar Creek Astronomical Society has a Group Page on Facebook for information on their activities.

Farmers Markets Around the State

It’s time to enjoy farm fresh produce again – yay! Some of them have already started, and others are just warming up. Click on the links below to their Facebook page for more information, dates/times, new vendors, food trucks (!)… It’s difficult to get a complete list of all of the Farmers Markets around Arkansas, so I’ll just hit the major ones here and add to my list as I come across them… starting with…
Little Rock Farmers Market – This year marks the 41st year of the farmers market in Little Rock. It kicks off May 2 and will continue through October 31.  Vendors will be selling their wares every Saturday from 7am to 3pm in the River Market Pavilion (400 President Clinton Avenue). For the strawberry lovers among us (and who isn’t??), strawberries will be available on Tuesdays in May (2 – 26) from 7am to 3pm, and the FULL farmers markets on Tuesdays begins June 2 through August 21, also from 7am to 3pm.
Argenta Farmers Market (North Little Rock)

Hot Springs Gumbo & Crawfish Fest

You heard it right! There’s a Gumbo and Crawfish Fest in Hot Springs! It’s on Saturday, April 18, downtown from 2 to 6… you can register your team… or, be like me and just be a taster 🙂  More details here!

Paranormal Support Group of Central Arkansas

Interested in the paranormal? Do you have stories to share or questions to ask? Do you want to learn more about local spirits who are still seen and/or heard? Then this meeting is one you’ll want to attend!  Arkansas Ghost Catchers is hosting the Paranormal Support Group meeting at the MacArthur Military Museum, on Sunday April 12 from 2 – 4pm.

Ever wonder what that creak was in the middle of the night, or heard your name whispered when you walked by an empty room? This is the place to come to have those questions answered!

EtsyFest#15 is here!

In the last weeks of April 2011, a small group of Little Rock Etsy shop owners created a new Etsy Team called Etsy Little Rock. Since that time, this small and diligent group of artists have been working together to lay a foundation for a thriving, local Etsy community. This group has since met regularly to put their ideas/talents together to create event/sales opportunities for current Etsy sellers and artists alike.

April 25, 2015 is the BIG DAY!  EtsyFest#15 will be held from 11am to 6pm on Kavanaugh in Hillcrest between Spruce and Walnut Streets. Check out their Facebook page for info on some of the vendors who will be there – I think there are 100? Plus food trucks and live music – what more could you ask for??  It’s The Place To Be on April 25. Period.

Other Events in April

April 15 Tax Deadline… but we all know this already, right?

April 22 is Earth Day… and Administrative Professionals Day…

April 23 is National Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day. That’s always fun. LOL!

And April 24 is Arbor Day – certainly a day we Arkansans should appreciate. We have such beautiful forests and state parks. Why not visit an Arkansas State Park that weekend?  Awesome idea!

What to do in March!

We are all so ready for spring, aren’t we? And what’s one of the cues that spring is right around the corner? Daffodils, of course!

daffodils

daffodils

Next weekend, March 6-7, the city of Camden will be hosting their annual Camden Daffodil Festival. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill flower show – no, there are lots of different activities spanning both days, including a 5K Walk/Run, Civil War reenactment, steak cookoff competition (yum!), arts and crafts, music and dancing, and much more! Go to their webpage to see the schedule of events. Has it really been 20 years since this festival began? How time flies! They have it down to an art now… a must-see. This is wholesome fun for the whole family, and (fingers crossed) the weather will cooperate!

If you’re going to be in Little Rock next weekend, it’s time for the Lantern Festival at Wildwood Park. “A magical weekend [March 6-8] designed to delight children and adults alike, LANTERNS! celebrates the first full moon of the lunar year with a profusion of lanterns, entertainment, and gourmet treats. Lighted walking paths and fire pits along the lake lead park visitors into winter woodlands to discover vistas representing a variety of years, cultures, and locations.  Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, free for children under 5.” Also a wonderful family event that will likely become a tradition!

Don't forget to turn your clocks FORWARD an hour before you go to bed Saturday, March 7. Daylight Saving Time… Click To Tweet
Inn at Mountain View AR

Inn at Mountain View AR

The 2015 Spring Bluegrass Festival in Mountain View will be March 12 – 14 (subject to change, so check their website for the most current info). This event is held twice a year at the Ozark Folk Center. Such a beautiful drive to Mountain View, and you’ll want to stay at a local bed and breakfast to fully experience the feel of this lovely little town. “The Skillet Restaurant will be open during this event, and crafts people will be in the village.” Awesome!

st pats day

March isn’t complete without some kind of St. Patrick’s Day Parade! So far, we know of three parades – Little Rock, Fayetteville and Hot Springs. For a parade that’s actually held on Tuesday, March 17, you must be in Hot Springs for the 12th annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Mark Martin will be the Celebrity Grand Marshal this year, “join[ing] a long list of celebrities who have led the 30,000 annual revelers along the 98 jumping feet of world-famous Bridge Street, named by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the world’s shortest street in everyday use. Previous Grand Marshals have included 2014’s Jim Belushi and earlier Marshals such as Bo Derek and John Corbett (both of whom led the parade twice), Tim Matheson, George Wendt, Mario Lopez, Mike Rowe and others.” Everybody’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day… come join the fun!

As always, check the Arkansas State Parks Calendar of Events. They do such a good job of organizing their calendar, so you can either find a subject that interests you and your family, or you can decide on a state park to visit and see what they have scheduled there! There’s always something going on, as near or as far from you as you care to travel!

There are 52 state parks in Arkansas, and 52 weeks in a year. Coincidence? I think not! Click To Tweet

Those are the highlights I’ve found for the merry month of March. If you know of a sensational event I should have included, please let me know.

If you attend any or all of these festivities, I would love to see photos, and will include them on Facebook if you don’t mind sharing! Thanks!

 

Survey results are in!

A big shout out to all the folks who took a few minutes to fill out the Arkansas Native survey in January. To get a feel for what “works” on my page, what better way than to just ask?

While I didn’t get an overwhelming response, I feel like I did get enough comments to give me some direction.

Here are some of the results!
  • 91% of respondents currently live in Arkansas
Favorite posts to “like” and “share” are:
  • 87% photography and nature
  • 61% history and old photos
  • 48% festivals and events
  • 43% interesting trivia about Arkansas
  • 39% famous Arkansans
  • 35% local vendors and small business
  • 22% food and restaurants
  • 13% sports
  • 13% current events
Suggestions for other content included:
  • Guest writers, interviews, personal experience, historical stories about landmarks, and – haunted Arkansas!
Social media awareness:
  • 74% of respondents knew that “liking” and “sharing” posts on Facebook will keep Arkansas Native active in your timeline – yay!
  • 30% of respondents are not on any other social media platform, such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and therefore didn’t know we are also on those channels.
  • However, 26% did know about our other sites and are following there, too, and another 26% didn’t know but are now followers!
  • 74% of respondents were not aware of this blog before taking the survey.
Some parting thoughts:
  • Love the photos, keep ’em coming!
  • More regional coverage and info on interesting but obscure places.
  • Farmers markets and small local businesses.
Small business option:

I did garner some interest from a few local business who might want to partner with Arkansas Native, and I’m so excited about that! I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and helping promote small biz (especially in Arkansas!) is a passion of mine. Looking forward to working with these folks – stay tuned!

(P.S. If you know a business who would be interested, please have them contact me at native@thearkansasnative.com.)

SUMMARY:

Whew, that has given me a lot to think about, plan for and work on for a while! Ask, and ye shall receive, right?  Good to know that original content is important to my fans, instead of just sharing others’ posts. Let the writing begin!  My goal now is to devote more time this year to keeping this page updated with new and interesting content, and promote it more on social media.

Again I appreciate the feedback. Good to know I’m doing something right.

Oh, and the most important thing – the winner of the drawing! I had to use a program to help me pick a winner (www.miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker/), and I wish I could have given everyone who responded a little something.  I only know the winner’s email address and will be contacting them and arrange to send them the prize. I’m hopeful he/she will be willing to take a photo with the prize and post it on my page!!

 

P.S. This survey and the improvements I’m making are on the advice of an awesome social media consultant I’m working with. She’s an Arkansas gal and feels the same way about promoting our state and our people and business! Let me know if you, or someone you know, would like to have her work with you on promoting your business on social media… native@thearkansasnative.com… and I’ll put you in contact with her!

So, I figured out that trying to keep up with all the goings-on around Arkansas is biting off a little more than I can chew each month, so… instead, I’ll just hit the highlights and also may link to other sites that already do a great job with that – why reinvent the wheel?  🙂

If you haven’t been to Lights, Camera, Arkansas! yet, time’s running out! And it’s free, so by all means make it a date the next blustery weekend we have, since it’s indoors. And… this is new! – I went to the Old State House website and there is now a virtual tour of the building, so for those of you who are not in Little Rock or close by, you too can see the exhibits from the comfort of your own home!

Last week to take the kids to see Rumplestiltskin at the Arkansas Arts Center this Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  Friday from 7 to 9, Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4. Nothing is quite as amazing for young and old alike to see a live production!!

Spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart in Eureka Springs! Guess what’s going on that day?  The Chocolate Lovers Festival!  Love and chocolate – can’t beat that combination! Add a glass of champagne and we’re good to go 🙂  And Eureka Springs is beautiful any time of year.

Sunday, February 22, is the Arkansas DemGaz Bridal Show in Conway at the Expo Center. For more up-to-the-minute details on times, tickets, etc. click here!

And just a peek into next month, the 6th and 7th of March is the weekend for the Camden Daffodil Festival.  “Welcome to the Camden Daffodil Festival and Home and Garden Tours – an event that has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state of Arkansas! Festival chairman Clara Freeland said the event began in 1993 with “a few folding chairs out of the back end of a pickup truck at Dennis and Roxane Daniel’s gardens on Maul Road, where members of the community could drive through the gardens to see the beauty of what the Daniels had planted.” For more information and tour ticket prices, visit their website.

Here in Little Rock, it’s time again for the Lantern Festival at Wildwood Park, also on March 6 and 7. “A magical weekend designed to delight children and adults alike, LANTERNS! celebrates the first full moon of the lunar year with a profusion of lanterns, entertainment, and gourmet treats. Lighted walking paths and fire pits along the lake lead park visitors into winter woodlands to discover vistas representing a variety of years, cultures, and locations. $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, free for children under 5.”

If you know of other events going on in February or March, let me know and I’ll share them on Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re attending any of these events, please take photos and feel free to share them on my Facebook page!  Thanks!