Hillcrest Farmers Market

April showers bring May produce—and maybe some flowers, too. We’re observing Arkansas Heritage Month in May, and this year’s theme celebrates the flavors of Arkansas (see page 66 for more details). Shopping at your local farmer’s market is not only tastebud-friendly, it’s also a great way to support your local growers, discover where your food really comes from, and help the earth by reducing shipping costs and more. Oh, and did we mention the free cheese samples? Grab your reusable grocery bags and head to one (or more!) of these five farmers markets.

1. Argenta Farmers Market -- This Saturday morning market, located on Main Street in downtown North Little Rock, boasts an impressive number of vendors at the height of the season. Look for eggs, berries, squash, cheese, honey, bread, meats, hummus and more. Shoppers can also enjoy an artisan market and live music. Plus, shopping is made even easier with a special token system that eliminates the need for cash. Swipe your credit card at the Argenta Farmers Market booth and receive tokens that can be used at any vendor booth. The tokens don’t expire, so if you don’t spend them all, you can bring them back the next week for more shopping. 7 a.m.-noon Sat. Located at 520 Main St., North Little Rock. For info: 831-7881 | Facebook

2. Bernice Garden Farmers' Market -- Sunday shoppers can pick up sustainably-raised and -grown produce, cheese, nuts, salsa, soap and more at this hip market in SoMa. Scope out the public art and sculptures in the surrounding garden and treat your family to a snack from Boulevard Bread Co. or the participating food truck—we spied the Waffle Wagon on our last visit. After picking up your goods, enjoy the nearby shopping at Moxy Modern Mercantile and Green Corner Store. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun. Located at 1401 South Main St., Little Rock. For info: 617-2511 | Facebook

3. Little Rock Farmers' Market -- This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Little Rock Farmers’ Market, located in the River Market. Find bargains on fresh Arkansas crops, as well as a bountiful array of handmade arts and crafts. In addition to Saturday markets, this year’s schedule will also include a “Night Market” each Tuesday from May 27-Aug. 26. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.; 3-7 p.m. Tue. (May 27-Aug. 26). Located at 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. For info: 375-2552 | Facebook

4. Westover Hills Presbyterian Church Farmers' Market -- This evening, mid-week market is perfect for picking up last-minute needs like veggies, fruit, flowers, baked goods and more. The market takes place on Tuesday evenings, but the spot is also known for Westover Wednesdays, a gathering of local food trucks that typically includes Thai cuisine from kBird, Asian barbeque from Southern Salt Food Company, handcrafted ice cream from Loblolly Creamery and pizza pies from Pizzeria Santa Lucia. We won’t judge if you make a habit of stopping by twice a week: Tuesdays for groceries and Wednesdays for a delectable dinner. 4-7 p.m. Tue. for Farmers’ Market, 5-8 p.m. Wed. for food trucks. Located at 6400 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. For info: 420-4132 | Facebook

Hillcrest Farmers Market

5. Hillcrest Farmers Market -- Little Rock’s only year-round farmer’s market is located at the Pulaski Heights Baptist Church in Hillcrest. Stroll down Kavanaugh Blvd. on Saturday mornings to survey all-local honey, greens, nuts and granola, eggs, bacon, dog treats and more. Plus, visitors can enjoy brunch at one of the regular food trucks including Southern Salt Food Company, The Southern Gourmasian, Beast Food Truck and more. 7 a.m.-noon. Sat. Located at 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. For info: 661-1129 | Facebook

Meet the Farmers

Get to know the farmers, bakers and makers you’ll meet at central Arkansas’ farmer’s markets. Here are a few vendors we love:

  • Arkansas Fresh Bakery supplies some of Little Rock’s favorite restaurants with incredible rolls and breads, and you can find them serving up breakfast and baguettes at the Argenta Farmers Market on Saturdays.
  • Barnhill Orchards in Lonoke is a family farm established in 1980 by Bob Barnhill. In addition to selling at several Little Rock markets, “Farm Baskets” are also available for purchase online. For info, visit BarnhillOrchards.com.
  • Falling Sky Farm raises chicken, duck, turkey, cattle and pig free of antibiotics, growth hormones and synthetic pesticides. Year-long meat shares are available online at FallingSkyFarm.com.
  • Freckle Face Farm is a family affair—a family of nine! In addition to raising seven kids, this farm family raises cows, pigs, and chicken. At the market, you can buy a variety of meat products, including free-range chicken, bacon, brats, chorizo, chops and sausage.
  • Geek Eats produces hummus, pesto and granola. Made in North Little Rock by a husband-and-wife team, you’ll find yourself addicted to snacks like Carrot Curry Hummus, Rosemary & Black Bean Hummus and Cilantro Almond Pesto.
  • Kent Walker Artisan Cheese crafts distinct cheeses in downtown Little Rock, including Habanero Cheddar, Leicester and Gouda varieties. The local favorite is a constant on the farmer’s market circuit, though you can also find the products at stores around town. For more info, visit KentWalkerCheese.com.
  • Laughing Stock Farm is a USDA Certified Organic farm in Sheridan that is dedicated to farming sustainably. You’ll find their plants and veggies at Whole Foods, as well as local markets.
  • Little Rock Urban Farming grows organic fruits, vegetables and flowers right in the heart of Little Rock. Learn more about the group’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and how you can be a shareholder at LittleRockUrbanFarming.com.
  • Jelly Madness, produced by the Martin Family Farm in McRae, satisfies cravings for sweets with its homemade jellies. Don’t miss adventurous flavors like Lavender Peach, Dandelion and Hot Pepper; sugar-free jellies are also available.
  • North Pulaski Farms, a USDA Certified Organic farm, is owned and operated by Kelly Carney. Produce is grown year-round in high tunnel hoop houses; seasonal goods include blackberries, kale, tomatoes, sweet peppers, raspberries and more. Learn about the farm’s organic CSA membership program at NorthPulaskiFarms.com.