I’ve gotten e-mails from some of you over the past couple of weeks asking if maybe I’ve finally dropped dead after too many slices of gas station pizza and Capital Bar and Grill charcuterie platters. The truth is both far more mundane and exciting at the same time: I’ve been working on a new magazine to be published by the Arkansas Times in May called Farm and Food. This is a wonderful project that pulls together a lot of the things that have been on my wish-list for some time — a comprehensive directory of specialty product growers, producers, artisans, chefs, CSAs, and farmers markets from all over our great state.
We’ve been working with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture through their Arkansas Grown website to build a database of places all around the state that do food just like we like it: local and delicious. We want to bring together growers with chefs, consumers with artisans, and just generally make it easier for all of you to find that perfect tomato, pork chop, or jar of honey. It’s been (and continues to be) a large project, but I honestly haven’t been this excited about food writing in a long time.
Now for the good part: if you are an Arkansas grower, artisan, brewer, vinter, or chef, we want you. For the bargain price of absolutely free, you can sign up at that Arkansas Grown link above to be included in the magazine. I’ve gotten entries from a diverse amount of folks, from meat growers and apiaries to Christmas tree farms and folks that sell seeds and hay, and it’s been a wonderful education about the copious amount of local agriculture we have in our state. I don’t want to leave a single person out, so if you think you might qualify, take a few minutes to sign up.
For you consumers, you’ll be able to pick up copies of the magazine (also for free) at over 80 farmers markets statewide, as well as grocers and restaurants where the Times is distributed. This truly is a state-wide project, and we want readers from all over the state to take a look at what’s good to eat in their own back yard.
As we gear up for farmers market season, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our farmers and artisans than to publish an entire magazine dedicated to them. I hope you’ll all enjoy reading Food and Farm as much as I have putting it together, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have down there in the comments.