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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!

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Chef Talk: Greens and Flowers Galore

We are back from our short break in new shows this season with three new ones to share. Over the next few weeks, you will see some new faces and learn more about what is going on in the food story of Arkansas. I have been traveling around this great state meeting so many great people, I have been so overwhelmed with all of the outpouring of acceptance for what we have done with this program. The entire “Cook with Brooks” team is very proud and look forward to season 2.

First, let me tell you a little bit about our next show. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to take a trip out to Arkansas Natural Produce. I was so overwhelmed with all this guy was growing, I called my crew right afterwards and said, ‘We have got to do a show on this farm.’ After a couple attempts because of the weather, we finally got the chance to find out how Jay Fulbright and family have been growing food for the last 20 years. Even though we didn’t get his wife on camera, she is a big part of this operation and he couldn’t do it without her.

Jay Fulbright on the Tractor

This is high quality, chef-approved fresh produce in Hot Springs County. All the crops are grown using organic practices. He grows all kinds of amazing greens like gourmet spring mix, microgreens, edible flowers, fresh herbs and peppers in one of the largest greenhouse operations in Arkansas. I wanted to find fennel and some tasty and colorful greens.


I loved the hunt through all of these greenhouses and we found the perfect ingredients to travel back to the kitchen for my Fennel and Aragula Chicken Salad. There was so much to pick from, but it’s all worth it to get my hands dirty picking my own. Love my trips out to the farm.  Can’t wait to get out to some more this summer.

USEFUL LINKS:

UP NEXT: We take you to Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food in Bentonville, Arkansas. Because Chef Brooks teaches there, he give you an experience in the classroom that you won’t forget. Stayed tuned for more details on next weeks show on Facebook. Please keep up with us by following us on there and Instagram. We are always on there letting you know what we are up to. Just had an amazing response to a post about the Pink Tomato Festival. We had 153 shares and almost 30,000 views and we didn’t even boost the post. Sounds like Bradley County is excited about us wanting to come down there and do a show. Can’t wait to get out and experience the rest of Arkansas.

 

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Chef Talk: Roots in Music and Food

When I came to Arkansas in 2000, I was stunned by the beauty of The Natural State.  Northwest Arkansas is a great place to get your Ozark legs! There are so many great things going on here: a growing community filled with transplants from all over that work to support the retails giants; world wide trucking and rail company; the world poultry leader; and lots of educated palates. It helps make the region of the “Ozarks” unique.

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In this episode of “Cook with Brooks,” we enjoyed some fun at the Fayetteville Roots Festival. They had some of the most talented chefs in this area of the country, collaborate for the VIP kick-off party at Garner Farm. It was a night full of music and food. Twelve chefs were paired up to make six delicious dishes that everyone could enjoy. People were sitting at beautiful white tables, standing around and listening to some amazing music. We were so lucky to be apart of it and see what our local food community can do when they come together.

Music

Then they come to the historic Fayetteville square to compete in the Chef Cook-off, for cash and prizes, and to support locally-sourced food! And, with the help of some great sponsors, give 100s of pounds of food to the chefs’ favorite charities. Jason Paul and Matt Scott won with this dish below giving their winnings to Tri Cycle Farms, one of our favorite farms we featured on Episode 1.

Winning dish for the Chef Cook-off

I am lucky to be one of the judges of this group of heavy hitters!

judges for the Chef Cook-off

I will also make a trip around the Fayetteville Farmers Market to get supplies for my dish: lamb chops and a neat pear-herb medley!

CWB 110_final dish

Thanks to the great crowd and support of this event as we are working to feed the hungry! IT’S WHAT CHEFS DO!

MORE TO THE STORY: Other great resources in the great state of Arkansas!

4 Days at the Fayetteville Roots Festival

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A look inside the heart of Crystal Bridges


Hopefully you were able to watch our Episode at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. Whether you watch it on AETN or YouTube, it doesn’t make a difference to us. We just want to provide you a story that you found entertaining, while being educational about the food movement in Arkansas. It was our first pilot show we shot, so we learned a lot in the process. We learned exhaust vents in the kitchen can be a problem with the audio and that getting more food shots is important. Even with that, hope you enjoyed and watch the rest of ours shows that keep getting better.

If you didn’t watch, go ahead and learn how Chef Lyle pairs food not just with wine these days, but also with the art at Crystal Bridges. He created a delicious Quick Coq au Vin. This is a one pan dish that is a nice healthy winter dish with local herbs and chicken.  It is a flexible dish that you don’t have to follow exactly. Open your refrigerator and empty out the vegetables and experiment. The thyme and wine makes this feel like an expensive meal, but easy enough to make at home for the whole family.

Watch and hear how Chef Lyle is purchasing food locally the Eleven Restaurant. By staying in the region, he gets to meet the farmers and buy from them directly. He can visit their farms to know exactly what he is buying and putting into each dish that he serves his customers. He takes great pride in his work and finds it very rewarding. He gets to see the process from the very beginning to the end. From sourcing where the food comes from, to creating his own menu and costing them out. He is involved in actually receiving the products into the kitchen and to putting them together and firing them at the end of the night for a full dining room. And after all that hard work, then he is able to go out and speak to the customer and see their reaction. That is why he considers this one of the most rewarding professions he could be in.

Next, Steven takes us to the table to eat this delicious dish with an old friend. Eigthteen years ago, Case and Steven met at Marketplace Foods and immediately became good friends. They worked together and ended up doing a show on the Jones Network for several years and FOX. After the Markeplace closed, they moved on and opened a restaurant together, Soul Restaurant and Lounge. Find out more about their friendship and feelings about food.

Case Dighero and Chef Brooks

UP NEXT: This Saturday on AETN at 5 p.m., we visit White River Creamery in Elkins, Arkansas. After some rough times in California, they thought “Going a Different Whey,” would be a better decision for their family. This family worked together after moving from the Los Angeles area to start a dairy farm and a new way of life. Together, they are now making some of the best cheese in Northwest Arkansas. Brooks goes back to the kitchen to create a chicken slider recipe using their Triple Pepper Halloumi Cheese and other local ingredients.

Triple Pepper Halloumi Cheese from White River Creamery

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More than just pumpkins

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Cook with Brooks on ‘Country Pumpkins’.  As we covered in Episode 5, McGarrah’s Pumpkin Patch has a lot of pumpkins and sunflowers to enjoy in October. Well, fall is a few seasons away, but their is a lot more to do at this family owned farm during the rest of the year. They continue to provide a place where families can go to enjoy nature, spend quality time together, and provide a lot more fresh produce starting around Mother’s Day. That is when you can get some of their delicious berries. Keep reading to see all their produce and where to get it.

Their produce also includes:

  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Okra
  • Eggplant
  • Jalapeños
  • Bell peppers
  • Banana peppers
  • Anaheim peppers
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Butternut squash

You can find most of their produce at the local farmers markets, including Downtown Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Pea Ridge, and Fayetteville Farmer’s Markets. You may also see their produce in your local grocery stores.

Just like with the pumpkins, if you want to get out to the farm and get some berries, you can come out with the family and do the “U-Pick” or “We Pick” option from May through July.

Strawberries are usually at their locations near Mother’s Day. Strawberry season typically lasts 3 to 4 weeks, but all of this depends on rain, sunshine and temperature. Please check their website and Facebook page for updates on when berries are available or listen to our automated message at (479)276-3559.

Additional berry patch locations:

Our Pea Ridge strawberry patch address:
14804 Miser Rd, Pea Ridge, AR 72751.

Our Lowell strawberry patch address:
214-352 S. Bloomington Blvd. Lowell, AR 72745

Our Raspberry and Blackberry Patch address:
12001 Ervin McGarrah Road. Lowell, AR 72745

Additional resources:

UP NEXT we are “Going a Different Whey”. We take a trip to the farm to learn about White River Creamery in Elkins, Arkansas. This family worked together after moving from the Los Angeles area to start a dairy farm and a new way of life. Together, they are now making some of the best cheese in Northwest Arkansas. Brooks goes back to the kitchen to create a chicken slider recipe using their Triple Pepper Halloumi Cheese and other local ingredients.

White River Creamery

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From Farm to Oven


Hope you caught our Episode 4 last Saturday on AETN about Wood Stone Pizza Kitchen in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This was one of our pilot episodes that we shot a while ago, so people in Northwest Arkansas may have seen them before. But AETN loved it so much, we decided to use it as an episode. If you missed it, click above and WATCH IT NOW.

I think if you watch it, you can see how much fun it was in the kitchen with talking with Jerrmy Gawthrop and at the table with Clayton Suttle. Learning the story of how they meet at a horseshoe tournament and how they let their conscious cuisine drive their lives. It was inspiring to me. So many times we think our jobs are just jobs and what we are passionate about, happens outside those hours. But these guys did it backwards. They made what the were passionate about everyday, into a job. They have found a way to make money and make their community a better place at the same time.

Enjoy these 4 recipes created by Chef Gawthrop with 6 different ingredients from Northwest Arkansas.

1. Pork Chop Brine

2. Butternut Squash Puree with Fromage Blanc

3. Pork Belly Braised Kale

4. Pickled Apples

Try them out for your family. Everything worked together beautifully and tasted amazing.

Thank you Jerrmy Gawthrop and Clayton Suttle for letting us come out and tell your story. Hope you all love it and keep watching us grow on our Cook with Brooks.

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UP NEXT: We take a ride out to the pumpkin patch at McGarrah Farms in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. We learn how the pumpkins can bring a lot of kids to the country. Brooks joins Dennis “Farmer” McGarrah for a hayride around the pumpkin patch. Then they pick out the perfect pumpkin for Brooks to take back to the kitchen to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.  It is a dessert the whole family will enjoy.

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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.

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