From Eureka Springs we motored just a ways down the road to Fayetteville – time for some fun with family and friends! While I was enjoying the fall hues along Hwy 62W, Steve’s efforts were focused on keeping Betsy between the lines on the continuously curvy and narrow roads. Warnings were posted in two areas (a 2-mile and a 6-miles stretch) alerting us to the crooked and steep terrain we were entering. At the end it was all in a day’s work, and we arrived in Fayetteville unscathed and ready for a cold beer.
My nephew Jerome and his wife Liz had activities lined up for us to experience while here. They picked fun things that my adorable great niece Hattie would enjoy, too. First they took us to Fayetteville’s farmer’s market. We try to patronize as many FM’s as possible, and Steve was so impressed with this one that he declared it the best we’ve been to this year. Of course, that meant we went home with a lot of fresh veggies and other goodies – yum!
Next we visited a local small family-owned farm on the outskirts of Fayetteville, where we met up with some other families and their little ones. We had never heard of pastured pigs before coming to Mason Creek Farm. They breed and raises pastured pigs and chickens that are free to roam around and eat grass and seeds as they please.
Steve used to raise pigs when he was young, but when he saw the size of these hogs I thought we was going to take off running! Pastured pigs, which we learned first-hand taste a lot better than store-bought pork, are typically raised on small farms and often sold at farmer’s markets. So if you see a meat vendor selling pastured meats, pony up the extra cash and get ready for something special. They are rightfully proud of how they care for their animals. I only wish we had bought more while we were on the farm!
The sows, boars and litters on the farm were free to roam around the large fenced areas. Believe it or not, there was no “pigsty smell” here!
We can attest (as Hattie does below) that pastured pigs create the BEST tasting pork chops ever. That night we had a delicious BBQ dinner of pork chops we bought from the farm, and green beans from the farmer’s market. Now that we know the difference, we’ll be looking harder for the “real deal” pork in the future.
On another day I met a girlfriend from my hometown in the Philippines, Jenna, and her husband. They invited me to check out the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, AR. The museum, opened in 2011, was founded by Alice Walton, youngest daughter of the Walmart empire’s founder. I initially thought it would be just another museum to celebrate someone’s success, but boy was I surprised. Nestled in a beautiful wooded area, the architecture flowed naturally with the surroundings and there were walking trails available for those not so into admiring fine paintings. There is also a section there for kid activities.
The inside of the museum might remind one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, except that you’re in rural Arkansas. And the best part is that viewing the world-class permanent art collection is free! Since I have never acquired much of a taste for fine art, we pretty much just breezed through this pavilion.
However, Jenna and I were more fascinated with the one-of-a-kind exhibition at the State of the Art section, where more than 100 artists from every region of the U.S. display a diverse offering of American art. All the displays at this pavilion were everyday stuff made into something with “grace and grit”. This is where we spent most of our time, inspecting and admiring the work of these talented artists. The State of the Art will be on display until Jan 14, 2015.
Continuing my Walmart experience, we went to where it all began – at the Bentonville town square where Sam Walton opened his first Walton’s 5&10 in 1950. Next door was the Walmart Museum yet another free museum. Inside was a multi-room gallery showcasing Sam Walton’s life and his leadership in making Walmart into the company it is today.
My Walmart experience was enhanced by being with my friends, who took time from their busy schedule to show me around. Thanks Jenna and Dingcol!
Spending time with little Hattie and the family was a great break from our usual “routine”. It’s always nice to have such wonderful tour guides to show us their town and have a good time. I sure will miss Hattie for I won’t be seeing her for a quite a long time.
Fresh meat tastes like it used to so many years ago…delicious. Ginger?! Oh….how fine! Cutiest family ever, especially that darling Hattie!
We are now discerning consumer on a constant look out for those pastured meats. And yes like you said how it used to taste and should taste.
Thank you Hattie is zoo adorable, I will be missing her.
Hattie certainly is a cutie! It’s nice to spend time with family. That Farmer’s Market looked fabulous!
Thank you, she is a doll.
Looks like a really neat stopover. I don’t believe I have ever seen fresh ginger at a farmers market (or anywhere for that matter).
MMMMMM, pastured pork!I bought some amazing bacon at a FM once from pastured pork…the wonderful flavor has remained locked in my brain!
We bought some of those gingers and it too taste different from the usual ones we get at the store.
We also bought Jerusalem artichoke (have you seen then at FMs out there?) which does not taste like the real Artichoke but was a good snack during our hikes.
Your posts are always so enjoyable, informative and full of great photos…. I do enjoy this blog…
Thank you Rob.
Hattie is so adorable! I am sure it was hard to say good bye to that little one.
I will definitely be on the look out for range free pork now. I know I really like grass fed beef now I can add the pork to the list. Ruby was one huge baby!!! Great experience for everyone, especially Hattie!
We aren’t big art museum people but this is one I would like to see. I heard a lot about it when ti first opened. How nice to see the beginning of the store we spent a lot time visiting. Nice that all the Walmart museums are free.
Glad you had a nice family/friend visit:)
Oh yeah, Im missing her already. Hattie would be a good reason to come back to Arkansas next time.
Once you tasted pastured pork, you will no longer back. We too are on the look out for those.
The museum also has several trails which I wished I had followed if I was by myself.
What a special post about a special time! Hattie is an absolute doll! Love the picture of her with the pork chop. And thanks for the tip on the free range pork. We will be on the lookout for it.
I agree about the art museums and like you would have chosen the “everyday stuff” creations. Who would have ever thought lottery tickets could be so pretty?
Thank you Gay, she is a doll!
Oh yeah be on the look out for those pastured pork and taste for yourself how good they are.
What a wonderful visit with family and friends — Hattie is absolutely darling! Arkansas definitely has some hidden treasures. We would enjoy the art museum, and especially the “State of the Art” exhibit. We’ve been buying pastured pork for several years — we first found it on Lopez Island. I was surprised at how different the flavor is from even “natural” pork. That fresh ginger looked delicious, too. I’m imagining some yummy dishes with fresh ginger and pastured pork…
Thank you Laurel, Hattie is really a darling.
Tasting pastured pork we are now discerning meat consumers.
Arkansas has really surprised us, but then again that is why the monicker is the Natural State. There are lots of hidden treasures here that we might come back to check out the ones we missed and just another excuse to visit Hattie.
We were able to get pastured pork just down the road from our farm. We knew the farmer well. Pigs actually do not like to be dirty and smelly. It only happens when they have no choice in confined places. I do absolutely believe that unhappy animals and frightened animals send those enzymes into their meat. It matters how your food is treated and where it is grown. So glad you found this. I know how terrific it tastes. Your little great niece is absolutely darling. Amazing that your nephew and hometown friend were there in Arkansas.
Yep, I was glad they took us to the farm and learned about pastured pigs and how they taste better. The visit really made me think of those unhappy animals that are packed like sardines and be slaughtered.Now we know the secret to best tasting meat. I wished they had eggs too.
Now those are some big pigs!
Sounds like y’all had a wonderful visit. I never would have guessed that there was a Walmart museum. What will they think of next.
I was looking forward to this visit and be with little Hattie.
Hattie is simply adorable! Fayetteville looks to be a place we should add to the list if/when we get back out that way. The farmers market looks wonderful. Nina and Paul introduced us to pastured pork a few years ago and we feel it is definitely worth the extra money.
Hattie is such a cutie. Your time with family and friends looks like it was a fulfilling one. Love the look and feel of that museum building. State of the Art would be the kind of art exhibit we enjoy as well … fine art is nice, but we only know what we like.
Looks like a really great time there. Thinking about those pork chops, making me very hungry. That Walton/Walmart museum sounds very interesting.
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