The Central Arkansas Artisan Food Boom

From ice cream to rib-eye, Arkansas is full of artisan foods.

Michael Roberts, who edits Arkansas Food & Farm, told our sister publication Arkansas Business that “artisan goods are generally more expensive, but they are also goods where folks tend to get a better quality product.”

Arkansas Business took a look at some of the best artisan retailers around Little Rock, and we’ve got the highlights for you.

Arkansas Fresh Bakery is just a little ways down the road at 304 N Reynolds Road in Bryant, and is definitely worth the drive. Ashton Woodward started the business in 2012 after working for Belgian Chocolatier Piron, Bennison’s Bakery and Boulevard Bread Co.

The bakery’s offerings are sold in 50-60 restaurants, and it also provides products to Verizon Arena, other public venues, hotels and caterers. Arkansas Fresh Bakery is also home to Cocoa Rouge, Woodward’s line of handmade chocolates. 

Woodward says that an artisan product is one without additives or preservatives —it’s about the nature of the ingredients. Read more about Woodward, Arkansas Fresh Bakery and Cocoa Rouge here.

Hillcrest Artisan Meats, located at 807 Kavanaugh Blvd., Suite B in Little Rock, opened in October 2011 and sells house-made charcuterie and meats from local farms.

Owner Brandon Brown has worked in restaurants most of his career, so he knows his way around food.

“The thing that we like most about this store is I can tell you pretty much where anything in here came from, protein-wise, meat-wise,” Brown said. “I can tell you that all these animals until the very last day — I think they led happy lives. They’ve been outside doing what animals are supposed to do.”

And of course we have to finish off our bread and meat with some dessert — so last but definitely not least is Loblolly Creamery. The shop’s ice cream includes local products and no artificial coloring or stabilizers.

You can find it at The Green Corner Store at 1423 Main St. in Little Rock and all over central Arkansas in their food truck. The mission of the Green Corner store is to support local, sustainable goods, and that’s why Loblolly is the perfect fit.

Co-owner Sally Mengel calls ice cream an “art form.” We’d have to agree.

To learn more about the artisan food scene in The Natural State, check out the full feature in Arkansas Business.

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