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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

 

 

 

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!

January events you must see!

I would never forgive myself if I didn’t let you know about these exhibits and events that have been here for a while and are still going on now… but ending very soon!

Johnny Cash – The Man In Black

If you’re a Johnny Cash fan (and who isn’t?) and proud that he’s from around these parts, don’t miss the Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon exhibit… but hurry – it’s only here through January 24!  The hours are 9am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday at 401 President Clinton Avenue, which is the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture.

And if that exhibit doesn’t tell you more about The Man In Black than you ever wanted to know, you need to visit his boyhood home in Dyess!  It’s been restored and is now a museum telling the history of the Dyess Colony that was created there in 1934 to help folks out of the Great Depression. So, while you can learn some American history and Arkansas history as well as Cash history on this website, there’s nothing like seeing it in person. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9am to 3pm, $10 admission. This is an ongoing exhibit, but don’t put it off – it’s fascinating!

Arkansas in Hollywood

If you haven’t already seen Lights! Camera! Arkansas! at the Old State House Museum, you really must make time to visit… but be sure to go before March 1 cos that’s when the stage goes dark 🙂  Admission is FREE and you’ll be treated to wonderful displays of where Arkansas meets Hollywood – or vice versa.  Open to the public 9am to 5pm Monday through Saturday, and 1pm to 5pm on Sundays. I would be willing to bet there are some celluloid connections to Arkansans you didn’t already know!

Friday, January 9 – Second Friday Cinema

Looking for something special to do Friday night, January 9? The Old State House is hosting their Second Friday Cinema from 5pm to 8pm, and this month’s movie is The End of the Line, starring Mary Steenburgen and Levon Helm and was filmed on location in Benton. Can you recognize any of the local places? It also stars Wilford Brimley, Holly Hunter and Kevin Bacon.

Childrens Theatre

The Arkansas Arts Center will present Rumplestiltskin January 23 through February 8, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the young and young-at-heart. There is something magical about watching a live play, especially for children!

Bridal Shows!

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Bridal Show will be held Sunday, January 18, at the Statehouse Convention Center. If you’re getting married this year, this is THE event to go to! Tons of vendors, and drawings for great prizes!  If you miss this one, there will be another in Conway in February, and yet another in Little Rock in August – details TBA.

If you live in NW Arkansas, EventNation is having their Bridal Expo January 24 at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. For more information on times and admission prices, click link above.

I think that’s about it for January. If you know of an event coming up, feel free to email me at thearkansasnative@gmail.com – thank you!