Arkansas Backstories: Okra

By Joe David Rice   What do cacao, cotton and hibiscus plants have in common? They’re all related to okra. And, for the most part, they’re held in much higher regard than their misunderstood and maligned cousin.   Okra often generates negative reactions, especially among those who have limited experiences with this versatile vegetable. I’ve…

My Sweet Mountain Home

by Joe David Rice Not many Ozark communities can claim that slaves named the town. That’s just one way that Mountain Home is unique among Arkansas cities. The first white pioneers moved into the region around today’s Mountain Home well over 200 years ago. Maps of early Arkansas from that era show a village known…

Crystal Clear

By Joe David Rice // Photos By Casey Crocker   Richard J. Wegner never had any intention of settling in Arkansas when he stayed in Hot Springs Village and later camped out at Lake Ouachita State Park with a friend back in 1978. They’d left their homes in upstate Illinois, heading south for a few…

Arkansas Backstories: Cheese Dip

By Joe David Rice   Culinary enthusiasts find all sorts of especially notable goodies across Arkansas: apples, peaches, tomatoes, fried pies, barbecue, watermelon (both red- and yellow-meated), catfish and, of course, poultry.   However, certain vocal foodies will claim the state’s signature dish is cheese dip — and they can present a convincing case. For…