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Chef Talk: Berry Delicious Family Recipe

Chef Talk: Berry Delicious Family Recipe

Well, we are a little behind on posting after a little vacation, but back to summarize our thoughts on the last episode and the end of Season 1.

Randy Arnold at Arnold Family Farm

The Arnold Family Farm was so fun to visit. Of course we went out looking for strawberries, but we also learned about their general store and also their chicken egg operation. The chickens is how it all started for Randy at this location and he has never looked back. As his father, Fred told us, that is all Randy ever wanted to do even if he didn’t suggest that life for him.

Hard at work

Randy logging information in the chicken house after we gathered a few eggs for show.

Randy gets up earlier that I can imagine everyday and takes care of business. You would truly have to love what you are doing, to do that every morning. But he does without complaint. His parents have supported him all along the way because he is such a good son. Fred even claims he never had to spank him, but once. It was always after a visit to the grandparents that would make Randy act up, which I can totally relate with my kid.

While out picking, we got to learn about what they have been doing to educate kids about farming and where their food comes from. What started as a half-day field trip for a few Crawford County kindergarten students six years ago, has become an outdoor classroom experience for more than 1,000 children and parents. Check out this video the Farm Bureau had put together a few weeks before we were there. So happy they grabbed some great footage from.  Thank you again for providing that footage!

After going through the process of growing strawberries and then picking these strawberries, I went back to the kitchen to make a homemade pie, crust and all. This is a Brooks family secret I’m sharing with you. Our recipe for pie crust is so good, man, it’s going to make this strawberry pie just plain delicious.

Because of the additional general store footage and farm, we had to cut a lot from this episode. We didn’t even get to show you how to make the Whip Cream topping. We shot it of course, so we will create a little video to show you how to finish of this delicious, refreshing dish as soon as we can. Look for it here and on Social Media.

Whip Cream Recipe

WHAT’S NEXT: We are in the process of working out details for Season 2, so don’t have anymore info to share about future episodes. What we do know is that it has been fun and there are a lot of stories out there to tell. More stories that episodes, but we will do our best to get out there and capture what is happening as well as give you ideas on what to do with that produce. Until then, support your local farmers markets and let know what you are doing with the Arkansas Grown Produce.

Thanks again for your support and keep watching each week!

Steven with Will Hanna

The other pink meat?

Nothing in Arkansas is bigger than pig. Physically and culturally they have made their mark, but they are also a big deal on the plate.  Here in northwest Arkansas, their has been a movement to raise some variety of breeds that most Americans have not tried in their life-time. Most pork, you think of the ‘other white meat’, but the reality is, a lot of pork is pink. Hertiage breeds and Berkshire breeds are two of the varieties that both farms we looked for this episode. We go into what makes them different in flavor, size, and stature. All the pigs are raised outside on green grassy pastures with fresh air, sunshine, with a stress free life. All this good living gives their porks amazing flavor and quality.

Hanna Family Ranch in Bentonville has focused on the Hertiage breeds that are kind of silly looking, but quite tasty. They are longer and more slender with floppy ears that cover their eyes. This is to protect their eyes while rooting around.

Floppy Ears

 

The Bansley’s are more in the business of breeding the Berkshire breed.  You can tell they truly love these animals. They were always petting and scratching their dirty little backs. You can hear the pride they have, knowing they are doing everything they can to make life good for these pigs. Plus, they recently got solar panels to make sure they area doing things right for the earth too.

CWB 109-PettingPig

 

Both farms are owned by the nicest folks around. We have had the pleasure of meeting both families many times and they are highly regarded in the food community in Northwest Arkansas. So happy we could show them off to the rest of the state.

If you would like to buy any local meat directly from the families, contact information is below.

Will and Waltina Hanna

Hanna Family Ranch

Waltina and Will Hanna

479-586-8010

www.hannafamilyranch.com

 

Carol and Sean Bansley

Bansley’s Berkshire Ridge

Sean and Carol Bansley

Bansleys Berkshire Ridge Farms

 

Thanks again for watching and looking forward to finishing off our last three shows for Season 1 for you. They will start airing this coming June.

Kale is not a fad

Kale is not a fad


Here is a glimpse at what aired tonight on AETN. If you missed it, you can always find our shows on our AETN Channel.
Cook us lunch
Here is a little more about the story behind the story. Going out to Ozarks Alternatives in Lowell, Arkansas was a lot of fun. Paul has been a vendor at our new Roger’s farmers market and he has been a joy to get to know. He always has a smile on his face and has some wonderful vegetables to sell. The day we went out there, he even made us lunch, so we were happy little camera people. It was a cold day, so welcoming us into his home and giving us a meal was greatly appreciated. It was so cold, we even experienced the first day of snow for the 2016 winter season. Even in these temperatures, Paul Chapracki was still growing Kale. We knew it was a hardy green, but it was great to learn how this vegetable helps him survives as a farmer in Northwest Arkansas during the winter months. Because of the limited hours for the sun, it doesn’t quickly regrow, but he has figured out a system that keeps the Kale growing almost all winter long.
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Given the fact kale is having a revival after years of only being used to be the decor around the plates at the buffet. Now it has become an important part of a lot of peoples diet. Native Nectar, a local juice bar in Fayetteville and Bentonville Arkansas, is tapping into the desire for fresh, local foods by using Ozark Alternatives vegetables. Businesses like them love having that local source. It keeps money local and it is also a lot fresher with more nutriention than kale shipped in from other parts of the country. And it is quite tasty in their jucies, salads and more. Check out their menu now.
Plateshoot of Kale and Bacon Frittata
Chef Brooks goes on to get in the kitchen and makes a delicious Kale and Bacon Frittata top with some local feta. This one pan dish could work for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make your simple shopping list now and check out this recipe.

Foodmatters.com has great facts around Kale. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. A serving of Kale has more absorbable calcium than a small carton of milk.

2. Kale tops the nutrient density scale – 1 cup of raw kale has just 33 calories yet contains 684% of vitamin K, 134% of vitamin C, 206% of Vitamin A, plus iron, folate, omega-3s, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, and 2 grams of protein, BAM!

3. The average American eats 2 to 3 cups of kale every year – one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Is it any wonder our collective health is a mess?

4. Kale is not a fad – kale is having a spectacular, even unprecedented run. As we all get more focused about eating for health, kale will continue to be a staple for those in the know.

5. The world of kale is vast and varied – keep exploring! – There are many tastes and colors of the dozens of varieties of kale: lacinato, redbor, Gulag Stars, True Siberian, Red Russian, White Russian, Dwarf Blue Bates, Red Nagoya, Chinese Kale, Seal Kale and the six-foot tall Walking stick Kale.

6. Kale offers unmatched culinary versatility – Name another green that you can whip into a smoothie, toss into a salad, amp up your juice, saute as a side. bake as a chip or mix in a cocktail. #kalejito

7. Kale is an awesome deal – A tasty bunch of 1 to 20 organic leaves costs two bucks. It’s one of the few superfoods that’s accessible to everyone, everywhere.

8. Kale is really easy to grow – Try it! You will have more than you can eat. Watch the show and learn how to keep it growing all year long.

A lot of great information! Hope you enjoyed this episode.

UP NEXT: We take you to two farms – Hanna Family Ranch in Bentonville and Bansley Berkshire Ridge in Harrison – are making a mark in the Arkansas pig business. Visits to both farms teach viewers about the di erent breeds, what makes the farms di erent and how they have had a pig partnership at times. When Brooks returns to the kitchen he prepares Pork Tenderloin Vegetable Medley. “Pigs are Big” in Arkansas, so tune in next week to learn more.

Goats love shoes

Goat Cheese Please

White River CreameryLast year when we were shooting some pilot episodes of the show, we found this amazing McCormick family at White River Creamery. We really enjoyed getting out and meeting them. It is so interesting to learn about all the work it takes to create this great cheese. Little did we know what a great story they had to share. This was a life changing decision to move here and start the farm. So glad they did and hopefully this Episode with tell you a little more about them and spread the word about what a great family they are.

Plus, Chef Brooks created a great Chicken Slider Recipe using their cheese. That along with other Local Ingredients made a great dish.

• Spicy 3 Pepper Fromage Blanc
• Chicken from Crystal Lake Farms
• Sliced pork belly bacon from Bansley Berkshire Ridge
• Ozark Mountain Bibb Lettuce from Ozark All Seasons Farm

Hope you enjoyed this episode of Cook with Brooks. We will not be on the next couple Saturday because of pledge drives on AETN. Please consider donating to us directly during that time since we receive no funding from the network.

Also during that time, we are working hard to make more episodes for you. Next up we go out to Ozark Alternatives in Lowell, Arkansas. Then a visit to Native Nectar in Bentonville, Arkansas to see what they are doing with all his vegetables. Juicing is a new to all of us, so hopefully you learn something too.

To find more out more about this family, check out Edible Ozarkansas’s story: Milking beauty. Great article that updates you on what is happening more recently with this family.

The Steve's picking

The roots at Vanzant Fruit Farms

Late last September, we wanted to do an episode to highlight the history of apples in the area. This was something we had heard about, but really didn’t fully understand until we started looking into the episode. Wow, so much information on the history alone that a movie could be made on that. It was neat to learn with the coming of the railroad in the 1880s, growers began planting apple trees by the thousands in the area. While every county in Northwest Arkansas grew and shipped apples, Benton and Washington Counties were the major players in the area. Now with the changing times and weather, apples are not a major player in the area, but one that should not be forgotten.

We choose Vanzant Fruit Farm to dive into that history. This family has a long been in the area. Steve Vanzant mentions Peter Graham in the episode, so here is what we learned from doing some research. Peter Graham homesteaded Northwest Arkansas in the early 1800’s and was Steve’s Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather. I don’t have a picture of Peter, but we did receive this one from Regena Shelby that shows his grandson, Silas Graham(1850-1929).

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Peter had a son, Nelson Graham who was killed at the spring mentioned in the show. Nelson was the father of Silas Graham. In this photo, Silas is in center surrounded by his grand children. He was born in Benton County Sept. 5, 1850, and spent his entire life in this area. For many years, he has made his home on the farm originally known as the Barr place just east of the Butler ford on the White River. Silas Graham’s son was John Nelson Graham, who had a son, Harvey Graham. Harvey was Steve Vanzant’s grandfather on his mother’s side. He is pictured here two people to the right of Silas.

Steve’s mother Kahylene Vanzant, was born on May 14, 1927 on their family farm here in Lowell, Arkansas. When she was 15, Kahylene caught the eye of Fred Vanzant, 17, while her parents were singing at a small church in Sonora — this chance moment marked the beginning of their 74-year love story.

After Fred returned from his WWII tour in the Navy, the two were married June 27, 1948. Together they established Vanzant Fruit Farms in 1949. It was a run down Chicago Fruit Farm at the time of purchase, but together made it the successful Fruit Farm we know today. Now they grow the finest peaches, apples, and grapes in Northwest Arkansas.  They have been providing us and the four state region with only the highest quality of fruit and vegetables. They also grow pumpkins and tomatoes on their farm to make sure they always have something available in their market.

When we talked with Steve Vanzant for this episode, we were surprised by what a character he was. He was so much fun to talk to and learn from. He has adapted to the markets, the regulations, and varieties over the years to make sure to keep this farm going. It has not been easy, but his heart is there.

Even though Steve Vanzant was light-hearted, he was also in a hurry because he had to go check on his mother who had just returned from the hospital the day before. She was not doing well. We heard soon after, on October 29, 2016 she passed peacefully surrounded by family. We asked the family if we could mention it and dedicate the episode to her, and they said yes. We dedicated it ‘In Memory to Kahylene Graham Vanzant’. She sounded like a lovely lady and although I did not meet her, I was touched by what her and Fred have created.Kahylene Vanzant

If you want to experience Vanzant Fruit Farms, just visit the market on Highway 264 when they open for the season in 2017.  We were able to take some delicious Black Apples and honey and make this Honey Mustard Chicken and Apples dish. We couldn’t resist this meal, and we don’t think your friends and family will either! Be sure to let us know how your cooking adventure turns out.

Cook with Brooks Honey-mustard chicken and apples recipe

If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, WATCH NOW! You will enjoy learning even more about this great family farm and how to make this one skillet dish that is healthy and hearty.

If you want to learn more about the history of apples in the area, here are some great resources to check out:

Bumper crop

Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Arkansas Apple Festival

 

Couple of Chefs. Jerrmy Gawthrop and Steven Brooks at Wood Stone Craft Pizza.

UP NEXT on Episode 4: Watch this Saturday on Cook with Brooks, when visit to Wood Stone Craft Pizza in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to talk with owner and chef Jerrmy Gawthrop. He cooks up a pork chop and belly with braised kale and butternut squash puree with goat cheese that highlights six different local ingredients. Brooks then sits down with Clayton Suttle, Wood Stone Craft Pizza co-owner, to learn more about what inspired them to start this business and thoughts on farm-to-table movement in Northwest Arkansas.

Black Apple Crossing outside

Chef Talk: Episode 2 is in the world

Before we get started, first let me say what an honor it was to premiere “Cook With Brooks” on AETN this last weekend! What a kick to see our show on the television. Thank y’all for watching with us and helping make it possible. I hope you enjoyed it! And now that we’re rolling, we’ve got lots of great places, dishes and more on the way!

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There’s something pretty amazing brewing in Springdale, Arkansas! Hopefully you caught this week’s episode of “Cook With Brooks”. Some of our crew went down and watched it with a cider and taco in hand. Wish I could have been there, but so glad they got to do that. It makes our job rewarding when we can see the faces of the folks we are showing off. If you missed it, check it out now. You can watch me as I made a visit to the first and only cidery in The Natural State: Black Apple Crossing in historic downtown Springdale. I learned about the cidery, the history of chicken and apples in the area, and how this business is helping to revitalize the city after years of neglect. Black Apple Crossing has transformed an old office building and hatchery that once housed George’s Chicken and Hatchery. It’s a great mix of history and innovation that are giving downtown Springdale a whole new flavor.

CWB-102_ChefandLeoWe talk with owner Leo Orpin about the dream behind this place, the juice they use to produce the product and how the cider is made. From the Ozarks, to Michigan and Washington state, there are some great U.S. products involved and a fascinating process behind it all!

And, of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of “Cook With Brooks” without something mouthwatering you can whip up at home. Watch how I get inspired by the cider and the local Mexican joint, Taquería Don Güero, across the road from Black Apple Crossing.

To learn more about this great Arkansas business, READ THIS article by Edible Ozarkansas. They wrote it back in November 2015, but still full of great details you will love to know. It goes into more depth about the history of apples in Benton and Washington counties, the history of how cider came to be and gives you a sneak peek at all other two founders,  Trey Holt and John Handley. Leo was more than happy to talk and get in front of the camera for us, but Trey and John were not too excited to about that idea.  We understand, but here is your chance to see their faces too.

UP NEXT: Next Saturday, January 28th, on Cook with Brooks, we take a trip to the Vanzant Fruit Farms in Lowell, Arkansas. As we walk through an orchard of Black Apples, we learn more about the history of apples in the area with Steve Vanzant, as well as the history of his own family fruit farm that has been in operation since 1949. He explains how the farm has adapted over the years to changing demands and has learned how to keep a constant supply of fruit by growing several varieties of apples, peaches and grapes. Then he takes Brooks to their market on Highway 264 to get ingredients for a honey mustard chicken and apple dish.  

Watch next Saturday to learn more about a local orchard and how to make a delicious dish using their ingredients.

 

It is go time

It is go time

What have we been up to...well a lot! We officially signed at the end of September with AETN/PBS. Now we are finishing up editing our first seven shows of Cook with Brooks. All this while also trying to get support from local underwriters. It has not been easy, but we are proud of what we are doing and know the stories are good. We know that telling the stories of the state’s No. 1 industry, agriculture, is crucial to Arkansas’s economy. More than 44,000 farms spread across 13.8 million acres annually contribute more than $20 billion to the Natural State. That’s nearly one quarter of the state’s economic activity. We are capturing those stories of this important industry, while also getting in the kitchen with those local ingredients and making a delicious dish.  For this first season, we are focusing on northwest Arkansas, but hope to get out and see more of Arkansas in Season 2. So many stories to tell, it can be overwhelming.

Don Bennett with Tri Cycle Farms

Stories on farmers like, Don Bennett with Tri Cycle Farms will open your eyes to the hunger issues in Arkansas and how it is all around us.
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Stories like Farmer Steve Vanzant of Vanzant Fruit Farm, will make you laugh, but also make you realize how much this area has changed with the apple industry.

Dennis McGarrah of McGarrah Farms in Pearidge, Arkansas.

And Dennis 'Farmer' McGarrah of McGarrah Farms was such much fun to watch in action as the Santa Claus of October.

Black Apple Crossing with Leo Orpin.

We have also learned about some local products produced with local ingredients, which was interesting too. Black Apple Crossing let us into their 'kitchen' to see how they make cider as the First Cidery in Arkansas. With each stop, Chef Brooks picked up ingredients and went back to the kitchen to make some magic.

As we are editing, we are laughing out loud. We know that once people see these characters and learn more about them, they will understand why a show like this is important. Their are a lot of great magazines and stories on-line, but for me, there is nothing like a story captured in video. The jokes and random conversations are the magic of the moment. That is the craft we are bringing to the table.

Please make sure to watch our season premiere on AETN/PBS this coming January 7th at 5pm. Until then, please consider becoming an underwriter for this locally produced show that is receiving no funding from AETN. You can buy your media locally directly from us in Northwest Arkansas and get 15,000 to 33,000 eyes on your spot 4 times a month. Your spot will be embedded in the episode forever unlike most commercial spots. Considering AETN is still rerunning cooking shows from 6 years ago, that could be for years to come. Help us tell the good story of food and be champions with us on the most trustworthy institute seven years running.

 

Tri Cycle Farms

Finishing up Episode 4

Greenhouse Grille

At Greenhouse Grille fundraiser with Don Bennett, founder of TCF.

We have been working away on an episode combining an event we went to at Greenhouse Grille a couple of months ago to raise money for Tri Cycle Farms, with a visit to Tri Cycle Farms. We were able to go out and see LIVE United volunteer day in action. It is a really fun and educational journey around the farm. Don Bennett, founder of TCF, is a character who is passionate about growing community through soil as we steward food awareness, education, and empowerment. Can wait to finish it up and share what we learned about this amazing little garden on 2 acres of land in the heart of Fayetteville.

Next, we are going to pick blue berries and make a pie with a local business and highlight what is going on with the local farmers markets. So many stories to tell. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas on stories you think we should tell. We would love to hear from you.

Until then, we are still trying to finalize up airtime and sponsors. If you have any interest in supporting what we do and the stories we are trying to tell. Please contact us!  We want to keep this conversation going, but right now, we are just doing it in a spare time with no money.

Season 1 Episode 3

Season 1 Episode 3

White River Creamery


It is ready to share with the world and the friends of White River Creamery in Elkins, Arkansas. The fact of our love of goat cheese was enough of a reason to get out there. But, it was also our first chance to get out to the farm and see that side of the story of food. We had been in the kitchen at the Eleven Restaurant at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art and Wood Stone Craft Pizza in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Both were great places to learn about the Farm-to-Table movement and to see recipes inspired by local ingredients. Although that was fun to learn about, we really enjoyed getting out and meeting the families that work so hard to create those ingredients. Little did we know what a great story they had to share. This was a life changing decision to move here and start the farm. So glad they did and hopefully this Episode with tell you a little more about them and spread the word about what a great family they are.

Plus, Chef Brooks created a great Chicken Slider Recipe using their cheese. That along with other Local Ingredients made a great dish.

• Spicy 3 Pepper Fromage Blanc
• Chicken from Crystal Lake Farms
• Sliced pork belly bacon from Bansley Berkshire Ridge
• Ozark Mountain Bibb Lettuce from Ozark All Seasons Farm

Enjoy this new Cook with Brooks while we work on making more for you. Our next show, we will be going out to Tricyle Farms in Fayetteville to learn about what they are doing there to feed the community around them. After going to Greenhouse Grill for a fundraising event for them, it peaked our interest, so we had to get out there for the Live United day. There will be a lot of volunteers out there from Wal-mart, so can't wait to get that story wrapped up to share with you. Thanks again for your support!

Third Show Shot

Third Show Shot

Today, we went out learn about Arkansas’s last farmstead cheese, White River Creamery in Elkins, Arkansas. There were lots of baby goats running around that melted my heart. It was great sitting and talking with the family and learning about their story.

After living and teaching in California outside of LA, life was telling this family they needed a new start. Scott went and trained at Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese where he completed basic and advanced cheese making courses. Tessa and her three daughters, Amber, Caily, and Emily, did an internship in Vermont and learned goat health and husbandry. After that, they started building their herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats in 2011 and passed our final inspection in 2013. Since then, they have been getting bigger and bigger selling their cheese to more and more people.

These Nigerian Dwarfs have the highest butterfat of any dairy goat, which gives a rich and creamy milk and amazing cheese. Everything we sampled was amazing and good for us because they manage their herds organically. We could see how much they loved these animals and the pride they took in what they have created.

Thanks so much to White River Creamery for letting us come out there. Keep making great cheese! We will share this episode in more in the weeks to come. Until then, follow them on Facebook and buy directly from them. Look for their cheese at Fayetteville and Bentonville Farmers Market and Whole Foods.