Farm 2 Home
Where I Live

A City Girl Goes to the Farm-Farm2Home at Moss Mountain Farm

Last week the hubs and I joined the Arkansas Women Bloggers along with several of the nicest farmers I’ve ever met at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm for their annual Farm2Home Arkansas event. Okay, so I haven’t met that many farmers in my life, but these wonderful men and women took the time out of their incredibly busy schedules to introduce us to their farms and way of life. It was eye-opening, educational and humbling. Beautiful Moss Mountain Farm just outside of Little Rock was the perfect backdrop…Farm2Home Arkansas

Let me be really honest. Living in a 42-story downtown highrise, you don’t really think too much about farming. Or at least I didn’t. Yes, I was definitely at the San Diego Little Italy Mercato as often as possible. I have always believed in buying local but the amount of time, ability and talent-yes talent-that goes into farming was a bit of news to me when I moved to Arkansas. I really had no true knowledge of the dedication farmers have to providing OUR food. I think many people picture a stereotype when they think of farmers: older guys on tractors in overalls with a piece of straw hanging from their mouths. For many of us there isn’t a realization of all of the details farmers have to think of right down to rainfall amounts and financials. In other words: Farmers are SMART.

Shedding a Light – Farm2Home Arkansas

Hubs teases me now because I missed about half of the farmers’ stalls. I couldn’t help it! I spent so much time in awe and asking questions. I also “may” have spent a lot of time with the KuneKune pigs.

Farm2Home Arkansas

On the topic of pigs, here’s a confession: I never “got” bacon. I just didn’t understand it. All these bacon references and memes. I would think, “I mean it’s okay, but what’s the big deal?” After I was finished ooohing and aahhhing over the Kunekune piglets, we walked toward the loveliest couple from The Hanna Family Ranch in Bentonville (about ten minutes from our house-score!) and they offered us some bacon. I politely declined and they assured me it’s pretty good. Not wanting to be rude, I partook and O.M.G.! Uhhh, seriously I am ruined for all other bacon. It was the best bacon I’ve ever had in my life and I will be visiting their farm. I now totally understand the bacon thing.

Thank you Farm2Home Arkansas-I now know what real bacon is.

Understanding how their pigs are raised and taken is important. There is such a disconnect I’m finding because a lot of people in Arkansas actually go out and hunt their food or they’ll go to a local farmer and share the cost of a  freshly butchered cow to put in their freezer. Yes, you can go to the grocery store, too; but here hunting for your own food isn’t the faux pas it was when I lived in the city. Heck, hubs hunts and we just had amazing venison stew for dinner last night. That two pounds of venison would have cost about $85 at a butcher. I have known people who were against hunting, but perhaps they didn’t realize how the meat in the grocery store got there…food for thought. No pun intended.

Connecting the Disconnected – Farm2Home Arkansas

When it came time for the Arkansas Grown panel, I listened intently as Bryan Brandon, Sr. of Ozark Natural Bread, Shelley Green of Green Corner Store, Shawn Peebles of Peebles Organic Farm and Tara Stainton of Rattles Garden spoke to us. Their stories are pretty remarkable.

Farm2Home Arkansas

During the panel, P. Allen Smith himself spoke up and exclaimed he is surprised at what a disconnect there is between the general public and farming. Soon thereafter my hand went up. I asked the panel what they would recommend as a way to connect people like me (the “disconnected”) with what it is they do and the number one answer was to realize what you’re putting on your table. Realize what you’re feeding your children and TALK to farmers. They want to talk to you! At Farm2Home Arkansas they made true on that welcoming my gazillion questions. Another takeaway: When you go out to eat ASK if the food you’re eating is locally sourced. It’s probably better for you, much fresher and it helps your local farmers.

Farm2Home Arkansas – Conversation and Cuisine

Farm2Home Arkansas

After the panel we sat down to a wonderful lunch. The hubs and I had a chance to speak with more of the farmers and here’s something interesting. I asked how they answer when someone tells them their products are too expensive. One of the farmers told us she explains to her customers they can go buy beef at the grocery store for a few dollars cheaper. It’s full of fillers, hormones and who knows what else. When it’s cooked, it shrinks down so you have to eat more of it to feel full, therefore you have to buy more of it. When you buy her beef you can buy less, it’s healthier and you’re going to be full when you cook it. She signs the back of her business card as a guarantee that it may seem more expensive, but it isn’t because you don’t have to buy as much. Love it.

Farm2Home Arkansas – The HomeFarm2Home

Next up we got the treat of touring P. Allen Smith’s house. It looks like a Greek Revival right out of the 1800’s. It was actually built about 10 years ago and has some really, really cool features:

I mean, really. Everyone should have a sleeping porch scented by stargazer lillies overlooking the river valley with a copper tub, right?

Farm2Home Arkansas

The rest of the house was just as spectacular:

Farm2Home Arkansas

When it was time to go, I took with me a lot more than my purchases and some samples (and memories of amazing bacon).

Farm2Home Arkansas

I took with me a new found connection to where I live and a realization this small slice and often overlooked part of the USA provides SO much. ALL crops are grown here with the exception of citrus. That’s pretty amazing. It’s no secret moving to Arkansas wasn’t easy for me. It’s been almost a year (a year!) and it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come. Yeah, I miss San Diego and the ocean most especially, but I’m HERE now-in Arkansas and the Farm2Home Arkansas event was a reminder of all there is to embrace here in the Natural State.

Farm2Home Arkansas

P. Allen Smith wrote the following:

“As a farmer, there’s no greater satisfaction than putting fresh product on the table, like the eggs and vegetables we produce. Direct from the farm to the market, and then to the table makes good sense for fresh food and homemade goods. This approach supports farmers and the local economy, and neighbors want to buy from their neighbors more than ever before…”

I think this is awesome. I have a choice to sulk or to embrace. It isn’t always easy, but I’m choosing the embrace route.

I think Mr. Duncan would think that’s pretty cool, too.

Farm2Home Arkansas

You can take a look at the event and all of the farmers and bloggers who attended Farm2Home Arkansas by clicking here. It’ll come in handy. 😉 

36 Comments

  • Tammy

    I was raised in Missouri in farm country, so basically thats all I know and I love that you are experiencing what farmers go through to put out their products. Arkansas is another great farming state. Isn’t his house beautiful!! I’ve seen several pictures of it in the past. I know as time passes you will love living the country more and more.
    Tammy recently posted…Sunday’s Simple Homemaker Party #2My Profile

    • Heather

      I am very humbled by this experience – farmers rock. I mean that sounds so trite, but darn they work hard and they do SO MUCH and have to know so much. It’s amazing. And yes, his house is GORGEOUS! 🙂 Thanks, Tammy. I am definitely enjoying the peace.

  • Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    This looks like such a fun experience. I was born and raised in the city, and now I live in the suburbs. I would love to experience farm life. It sounds like a quieter, more peaceful lifestyle!

    • Heather

      I can tell you it is definitely much, much quieter LOL! And peaceful in its own way, for sure. I do miss the city, but I am definitely enjoying it here more and more. 🙂

  • Jeanine

    What a lovely trip. I haven’t been to a farm in so long and I’ll admit it would be so out of my comfort zone but such a fun experience to give a try. My kids would enjoy too.

    • Heather

      Sarah, haha be careful what you wish for! I kid, I kid. 😉 It’s definitely peaceful and the food here is so good and fresh!

    • Heather

      Vera, haha yes a HUGE adjustment. But since my husband’s kids live here and he finished his military career, I didn’t want to be the reason keeping him from them. So that’s why I’m here now. And yes – you are so right. It really was fun! I can’t wait ’til the next one!

  • Jaclyn Anne

    That copper tub is so beautiful – I have never seen anything like it! But wow, moving from a city to rural Arkansas does take a huge adjustment I’m sure!!! But Arkansas looks beautiful!

  • Dorothy Johnson

    Great post and wonderful pictures. I loved being part of that day, too. As a small town Arkansas girl, raised under street lights, I learned a lot, too.

    • Heather

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I can imagine, Dorothy. Always something to learn somewhere new – I’m trying to remember that.

  • Melissa

    What a neat event! I love those little piggies and that house is amazing! We have really tried to go local on our food the past two years and what that lady shared with the grocery store meat shrinking and not filling you up is so true! Once we made the switch we will never go back, plus it’s pretty gross!

  • NYC Single Mom

    I Love this post. So informative. I have never been to working form so this would really interest me. Love the house!

  • Rebecca Swenor

    It looks like you had a wonderful time and I would so be in awe with the piglets. I have to admit the farmhouse that was built ten years ago does indeed look gorgeous and I would so love a sleeping porch like that one. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Heather

      I love it, too. The only other one I’ve ever seen is at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in San Diego, CA. They are just soooo lovely.

  • Christy Garrett

    I remember growing up and going to my great grandfathers farm. It was so much fun to run around. He didn’t have any animals at this point because he was in his 90s. He contracted the crops out. It was a different way of life though.

    I have always wanted to have enough land to have a horse. However, since I have medical issues this won’t likely happen since they are a ton of work.
    Christy Garrett recently posted…Easy Salsa Chicken Fajita Salad #DollopOfDaisy #SuperMomVoxBoxMy Profile

  • Susan Pazera

    Looks like it was an amazing experience! Ia sure it was tough to adjust with your move but I have heard that Arkansas is so beautiful!

  • Dawn gibson-thigpen

    your photos are awesome. i have a friend who grew up in the city and she married a grow who grew up on a farm. when she does home with him to visit she always has so much fun.

  • Sarh S

    I’ve always been a city girl, but since I’ve had my two boys who are only 18 months apart I really wish we lived in the country. We’d have such a big back yard, there wouldn’t be a busy street (hopefully), so I would feel more comfortable with them playing outside, etc, etc. It would just make day to day life so much easier with these two wild boys of mine.

    • Heather

      Sarh – We live on a acres of land and not many cars go through here so I can understand. Just remember the city offers so many amenities you cannot necessarily find as easily in the country. 🙂 I do hope you get your country home, though!

  • Julia Schafer

    Great article, raising your own food is optimum, but buying locally is the the next best thing. BTW. I don’t think the majority of people are against hunting for food that is actually eaten. The problem is hunting for sport with high powered rifles.

    • Heather

      Thank you for stopping by! Unfortunately, most people I know from the city are against hunting altogether – even though they’re not vegetarians. I even have a friend who stopped dating someone because he hunted for food. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience, but hopefully through awareness more people will think that way.