Road Food: Little Rock and Denver Farmer’s Markets

May 9, 2011 by

Mr. Green Bean greets customers at Little Rock’s River Market. He gave his number to one of my friends!

Travels have kept me away lately as you may have noticed, but I’m back and getting into the groove again. I was in Little Rock, Arkansas at the end of April dodging dangerously close tronados while attending a P. Allen Smith event which you wil read more about shortly. I just got back from Denver where I was celebrating a close friend’s monumental birthday. In both cities I made time to stop at the local farmer’s markets. Not that I can bring veggies or flowers back with me on the plane, but I love to see the local offerings, meet the people, and compare what’s freshly available and unique in the various cities.

Little Rock, Arkansas: River Market

Luscious onions at the River Market in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In two outdoor, open-air pavilions overlooking Riverfront Park and the Arkansas River, downtown Little Rock’s farmer’s market offers fresh produce, beef and poultry, and handmade crafts– and if you get there at the right time, you can be greeted by Shane, the guy dressed up as a green bean.

Local Little Rock Chefs Bring Farm to Table
Every other Saturday there is the Garden Gourmet Second Saturday chef series, a new series that focuses on bringing locally grown food to the family table by connecting local growers, chefs and food artisans.

Local strawberries at River Market.

The spelling may not be perfect, but the broccoli is pretty close.

Denver’s Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market
Named the “Cadillac of farmers markets among nearly 50 markets throughout Colorado” by Colorado Biz Magazine, this farmer’s market in Denver’s posh Cherry Creek neighborhood, tempts the palate with ready to eat offerings like paella, quesadillas, crepes and numerous fresh baked breads and cakes. The Biscuit Bus had a long line, and as I was thirsty beyond belief, I guzzled down a bottle of Colorado cherry juice then snagged some Colorado wine for later.

Fresh peppers waiting to be roasted at Denver’s Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market.

After spinning them over coals in a large wire bin, the roasted peppers are gathered up for sale.

Catering to Those Who Love Local
Pastures of Plenty, a 35-acre organic vegetable, herb and cut flower farm 49 miles from Denver, had gorgeous flowers for sale, below. Their catering company, Big Bang Catering, grows and sources its food and flowers at the farm, evidence of their belief that true commitment to great food begins with the first link in the food chain, the growers.

Pastures of Plenty offering flowers in time for Mother’s Day. Orange you happy?

More flowers from Pastures of Plenty…

Don’t Panic, It’s Organic!
Personally, I prefer to buy locally grown food than some USDA-certified “organic” product trucked in from a thousand miles away. (Did you know the average carrot travels a thousand miles to your local grocery store?) Cottonwood Creek Farm offers pastured poultry, beef, and pork, and eggs from their family farm located on the original South Platte River homestead that’s been farmed continuously since 1932. With all labor and management provided by family or relatives, Cottonwood plants, harvests and mills all the grain used for their chickens, pigs and turkeys.

Alyssa and Matt of Cottonwood Creek Farm.

Chickens raised at Cottonwood Creek Farm are fed the farm’s own grain.

I admired the colorful hats modeled by this friendly vendor at the Cherry Creek market.

Little Rock River Market
Tuesday and Saturday, 7 am-3 pm.

400 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas

Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market
Wednesday, 9:00 am-1:00 pm
Saturday, 7:30 am-12:30 pm

Bed, Bath, and Beyond Parking Lot
1st Avenue and University
Cherry Creek, Colorado

All photos: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

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