by Kat Robinson
This rather wet Saturday saw me packing the girl and heading to the Augusta district, where I had hoped to score dinner-making goods from the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market. Alas, the rather turbulent skies had forced all but a handful of hardy souls to abandon the lot at 6th and Main, and with the Argenta Market not yet open we were left to head south for the other market of note.
Both of the River Market pavilions were packed with individuals and groups selling their produce and breads, jams and pet treats, flowers and meat. I picked up a fragrant quart of Cabot-grown strawberries, other produce from Holland Bottoms, some hothouse Arkansas-grown (I was told) green tomatoes and garlic chives, fresh dug wax potatoes, and more. Some of the food was certainly not local -- I don't think hothouse corn would be common around here -- but it was all certainly rather fresh.
Dinner tonight consisted of locally-raised chicken roasted with salt and pepper, red pepper, and Parmesan cheese; fried green tomatoes battered with AP flour and ground white cornmeal from War Eagle Mill; slices of zucchini roasted with olive oil and a little oregano; wax potato medallions in butter and garlic chives; roasted corn on the cob, no butter needed; cornbread made with previously mentioned cornmeal and kernels of fresh corn mixed in with a little Cheddar cheese; medallions of sweet potato with dots of ghee and honey from Garland Gilliland's stand in Damascus; and of course a dessert of sweet, fresh strawberries, no sugar necessary.
Of course, we have more produce to consume from my takings today, which included all but the chicken, grain products, oil and honey -- and which set me back around $12. Our dinnertime conversation at Chez Robinson centered around the local food movement -- and just how far will the typical consumer go to fulfill their desire to help save the environment. For instance -- yes, we are lucky enough to have many War Eagle Mill products on hand, since we stock our pantry with them. But for the average consumer, wold that be better than simply purchasing organic from one of the grocery chains? What about fresh bread bought from Old Mill Bakery or one of the other vendors that also comes to Market? And such products as olive oil, which to my knowledge isn't produced anywhere here in Arkansas? Where does economy fit in?
Recent discussion on this list has pointed out that much of what you can find at the Little Rock Farmers Market comes not from this state but from elsewhere. There have also been discussions on the whole homemade/housemade titles and such. Here's your opportunity to talk more about said things, particularly the slow food and local food movements and what they mean to you. Enjoy.