Last Saturday, a friend and I visited the Argenta Certified Arkansas Farmers’ Market (CAFM). She is young, newly married, and wanting to learn more about fresh, local foods. It was the first official day of the market for the season, although they did a kickoff the week before.
We arrived around 9, and the crowd was just starting to buzz. (Oh, heck, what do I know…I can’t see straight before that time, anyways.) We looked over booths of produce that were nothing short of spectacular, especially considering that much of it is grown organically. Not many bug munches to be seen on those greens.
At first, I was a bit bothered by the fact there wasn’t a huge variety of items available. There were gobs of early strawberries, lots of leafy greens, flowers, some herbs and the like, but I found myself wanting more.
Soon, however, I came to myself realizing that this isn’t Kroger, and eating in season means waiting for some stuff to make its way out of the ground.
I was specifically looking for asparagus. It is early spring, after all. My guest was coming back to my house for a quick cooking lesson, and I planned to help her make asparagus risotto. One booth said they had a little, but sold out early. Some others said they won’t have any.
I did have a good conversation with Kelley Carney, owner of North Pulaski Farms. He said his booth had better selection earlier in the morning, and much of it had already sold. (Note to self.) He also told me about his plans for the future to offer even more varieties, such as my coveted asparagus, even during cooler months.
I’m not knocking anyone else there, though. A good number of them specialize in just one or a handful of things (cheese, meat, peppers, etc.) and do them very well. The others may just have things they like to grow, and that’s what they grow. And others still, like Hardin Farms, grow a bazillion things that just aren’t available yet.
Okay, so I’ll keep coming back and see what crops up. (See what I did there?) And maybe I’ll get there when they open, at (gulp) 7 a.m. Or not.
I still love them. Meet you there!
Argenta Certified Arkansas Farmers’ Market
6th and Main, North Little Rock
7 a.m. – noon, Saturdays during growing season
P.S. I’m really into P.S.’s now, so I’ll add one. I’m totally not knocking off the Pioneer Woman.
P.P.S. This is where I get really sad the CAFM is no longer doing online ordering. I could pick what I wanted and schlep by there before noon to pick it up!
P.P.P.S. Whatever happened of the asparagus risotto, you ask? Well, I bought the asparagus elsewhere and helped my awesome student make it. Yummers!
P.P.P.P.S. Consider this another random plug for the Food Blogger Bake Sale next Saturday, April 28, benefiting Share Our Strength. It’s gonna be right next to Argenta CAFM, so you know I still love them!