Tag Archives | farm to table

Wide view of Fayetteville Roots Festival

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.


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

Cook with Brooks on the Big Screen.

We did it!

Watching Cook with Brooks with Don BennettLast night was so rewarding just to stand next to Don Bennett, the founder of Tri Cycle Farms and see his expression. It is a 30 minute show, but felt like 10 minutes. I guess that is good because it means it was entertaining, but it went so fast.  I found myself to be emotional and so happy I wanted to cry, but kept myself together.  Unless you have worked in TV, I don’t think people understand how much work one episode takes. A lot, but once you see it on the air, it is all worth it.

This episode started with an trip to Wood Stone Craft Pizza for an episode you will see soon. While there shooting, Jerrmy Gawthrop, who is an owner of that restaurant and Greenhouse Grille, told us of an event he was doing for his birthday. His idea of a great present was to create an event that brought people together, but benefited a local community garden, Tri Cycle Farms. At the time, we didn’t really know what the farm was all about, but learned a lot from talking to Don that night. The seed was planted to grow the idea of what to do for an episode.

We made it out to Tri Cycle Farms following that dinner to learn more about what they do and the story behind the farm. A Northwest Arkansas magazine, Edible Ozarkansas, wrote an amazing article last year on them, so please read more HERE. If you really want to experience and learn more about Tri Cycle Farms, go out to there farm anytime. You can usually find Don out and about doing something in the fields or bringing fresh ingredients to a local kitchen.

We hope you enjoyed our first episode. Please give us feedback. We would love to hear from you.

Episode 2, we visit the first and only Cidery in Arkansas. “Brewing Change,” looks at Black Apple Crossing, in downtown Springdale. Brooks discusses the important role the brewery is playing in the revitalization of downtown Springdale, as well as the history of apples and chickens in the area. In the kitchen, Brooks makes Cider Pork Tacos inspired by the Princess Peach cider and the Taqueria across the street. Check it out next Saturday!

A Cook with Brooks showing raising party!

Two weeks to go

In two weeks, we will get eyes from all across Arkansas. We are excited for the first episode of COOK WITH BROOKS to air on Saturday, January 7, at 5 p.m.! Please join us for an informal WATCH PARTY at Brick Street Brews in downtown Rogers, Arkansas. We can’t wait for everyone to see the first episode featuring Tri Cycle Farms and the Ozark Beer Dinner at the Greenhouse Grille.  We are looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate and see a few local chefs on the ‘Big Screen’. JOIN US! We will have some nibbles prepared by Chef Brooks, ice cold beverages served up by Brick Street Brews and door prizes! Kids welcome!

This is pretty exciting for us because that was our goal from the beginning. We wanted to be statewide, own the show, and be on a network we were proud of. Check, check, check! This was a risk for us to take. Michelle quit her full-time in shopper marketing to focus on the show. She created this blog, and helped shoot and edited 7 shows with no pay. Her husband, Jeremy and her, took a lot of time from paid work with Bod High Productions, to focus on this dream. Chef Brooks took time away from his family and work to host this great show. It is the most fulling thing any of us have done and look forward to what this next year brings. More farms, local business, meals, and celebrations to experience.

Over the next year, we will keep you up-to-date with what is going on with our show on this blog and on our Facebook page. But because of our contract with AETN, you will also find all this information and more on their platforms as well. Our arrangement with AETN is new to them and us both, since we are the first show to be on their network, but be produced outside the network. We are both swimming in new waters. and we are all learning everyday what that means. But one thing we do know is that all the new information about upcoming shows will be shared through their AETN engage blog and Facebook page first. Doesn’t mean you won’t find it here, but you can also find out what we are up to through them.

Please continue to follow us on all platforms and look forward to this upcoming year! Already have the next two episodes shot, now on to editing and making the magic.

Thank you

Chef Talk – Thank you and ready to party!

What a ride this has been. Said with the biggest smile! So...I am just a kid from Alabama that moved to Arkansas and the world has been opened to me! 

I am so proud of the Cook with Brooks team. Jeremy Duckworth and Michelle Hammarstrom have been a blessing in my life. Jeremy and I did 282 episodes of 'Cooking Today' on KNWA in 2014 and 2015. He made me believe that we could accomplish anything. Michelle keeps us focused on the goals we have which is simply to tell the stories of Arkansas food. It is a story worth telling.

Now it is really happening and you guys are going to see what we have been working so hard on. Our promo is running on AETN everyday (super awesome). The press release went out last week and we were on the cover of the Harrison newspaper. We are getting close, but are still planning on doing more up to when our show premieres on January 7th.  This month, we have more new episodes to film. Can't wait to get out to Paul Chapracki farm to see all he provides to Native Nectar who has its fingers on a lot of local products through juicing.

First, we would like to thank AETN for making us part of their amazing team. DeWayne L. Wilbur for listening to us and giving us a chance. The Senior Producer, Casey Sanders has been nothing but helpful, understanding and welcoming.  The Promotions Manager, Tiffany Head, was vital on sending out our press release that spread the word around this great state.  Look forward to working more with Julie Thomas, Katie Culpepper, Larmon Vanwinkle and Jess Setzler to make our print and on-line presents shine. They are providing support and helping us learn the ropes of public television on a daily basis, so my team wants to thank you very much. 

Secondly, we want to thank the folks who came on as underwriters to Season 1 of our show.  You have a team behind this show who is really excited and can't wait to make you proud. Thank you all for your support.

Tankersley Food Service, LLC - This is the company I have my day job with and they are thrilled to play a major roll in the show.

Metro Appliances and More - This company supported me back on my old show too and so happy to have them on board again.

Rick McLeod Agency - Farmers Insurance and Financial Services is a big part of the community in downtown Rogers and happy they remembered their roots of helping farmers.

Richter Solar Energy - We are a big supporter of making the earth a cleaner planet.  So happy to have Flint Richter getting some exposure around the state.

Springdale Farmers Market - James McGuire came on from the goodness in his heart and his love of AETN. We are so grateful that we are able to highlight them for all the state to see.

We also want to give special thanks to......
–  Bansley Berkshire Ridge Farm - Carol and Sean Bansley for your personal donation and support.
–  Hanna Family Ranch - Will and Walton for the use of your beautiful kitchen that they so graciously let us use.
–  Simple Machines - Sean and Ally Morrison have been so helpful on getting our website up and functioning the way we need it to. We are still working on it, but appreciate all they do.

Without the support of all of you, we would not be here. Thank you for seeing the value in what we are doing and the value of Public Television. For more details on who they are and how to find them, view our underwriters page.

Save the date

We will also be having a Premiere Launch Party on January 7th to launch our show! We will be inviting anyone who loves farms, the seed-to-fork movement and Public Television. Overalls will be welcome. Instead of a Barn Raising, will be doing a "Show Raising" to help build up this show into what it needs to be. Details to come very soon. We have a lot of ideas for the party and will announce the full details on the 15th.

So excited and proud to part of the thriving Arkansas Food scene. We look forward to the future with AETN and sharing some great stories with all of you! We have some awesome recipes to share with you as well. Meet you in the kitchen.


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.

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.