By Kevin Shalin Photography by Jamison Mosley
From fruits and vegetables to honeys and jams, these small markets around the Little Rock area offer a big variety of local goods. The fresh air just happens to be a bonus.
Me & McGee Market
It is hard to imagine a more tranquil outdoor shopping experience than what the Duvall family has created at Me & McGee Market in North Little Rock. The steadily growing roadside stand stocks a little bit of everything; flowers and herbs are out back, jars of pickles and onion relish reside in the covered area near the entrance, and a food truck is never more than a stone’s throw away. The Lab Food Truck, Keith & Co Artisan Sandwich Shoppe and Crepe Coop are all regular attendees.
Many of the products, like the pork rinds, apple bread and fresh-baked cookies, are made in house. The strawberry peach butter and banana nut bread are crowd favorites, as is the line of fried pies, including apricot, coconut and blueberry. And what is not made at Me & McGee rarely travels far to get to the market. That includes produce, and July happens to be a peak time for locally grown foods.
“Being an outdoor market in July is hot, but the good thing about the warmer weather is it coincides with local fruits and vegetables. Showcasing the incredible farmers we’ve partnered with is an honor,” says co-owner Logan Duvall.
Duvall is correct about our stifling Arkansas temperatures, however, regular patrons can attest to a pleasant breeze that winds its way through the heart of the market. The welcome shade of a massive pecan tree also pairs well with ice-cold lemonade. They happen to make that, too. There is nothing not to love about the market, and while the plethora of products is exciting, it is the setting and loving service that will keep you coming back.
“Me & McGee is more about providing a positive experience than shopping,” Duvall says. “Visitors will be greeted with a smile and treated like family.”
Location: 10409 US-70 (North Little Rock)
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Monday, Tuesday
Popular products: Stutzman’s Pantry Vidalia Onion Relish, Robbi’s Salsa, Serenity Farm Bread, Fennel and Fire Seasonings, RoZark Hills Coffee and Lake in the Willow Apiary Honey
The Curve Market
Head 20 minutes southeast of Little Rock to The Curve Market in Scott. The market shares a parking lot with the popular Seaton’s Scott Place restaurant right off Highway 165. After you are done scarfing down onion rings and chicken tenders at Seaton’s, stroll across the lot for a leisurely afternoon of shopping. Owner and operator Julie Chapman will greet you with a sweet smile and some Southern hospitality.
The Curve Market, a covered, open-air store, carries a host of artisan goods like jewelry, candles and soaps. But it is the local fruits and vegetables during the summer that really get folks excited. This includes watermelons and cantaloupes grown right at Chapman’s family farm.
“We have also partnered with several local farmers to offer a large selection of locally grown tomatoes, along with squash, okra, blackberries and many other varieties of fruits and vegetables,” Chapman says.
Fresh-cut flowers are popular among regulars and help add to the rustic, charming décor and inviting atmosphere of The Curve Market. For Chapman, creating an intimate setting goes hand-in-hand with carrying quality goods. Tables are filled with pickled beets and asparagus, honeys, hot sauces and sunflower oil. Keep an eye out for a line of products from At the Corner, the popular downtown Little Rock eatery. Cinnamon rolls, poppyseed lemon loaf, granola, bone broth, teas and even pork rinds have all made their way from the restaurant to Scott. A variety of hummus is in the chilled section, as are salsas, chicken salad and eggs.
“We want you to leave the market with quality local products and have an experience that you will want to share with your friends and family,” Chapman says.
Location: 15235 Highway 165 (Scott)
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; closed Monday
Popular products: Pozza’s Pasta, Wayne Plantation Sunflower Oil, Bear Kingdom Jelly and Jam and Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee
The Bramble Market
It is interesting that The Bramble Market resides in the far western edge of Little Rock, an area often associated with big-box stores and chain restaurants. Bramble manages to combine the best of both worlds — a well-stocked, cozy interior with an outdoor shopping experience, all in a relatively seamless fashion. This concept, the brainchild of founder David Rice, lends itself to all seasons.
“We love to be outside and enjoy the fresh air as much as possible,” Rice says. “Our large bay doors, back patio and 4-acre space all allow us to spread out for the outdoor market shopping, day and evening events, live music, exhibits, workshops and more. We are excited to be stepping into urban farming and gardening concepts this summer.”
There is always a lot going on at The Bramble Market, yet it is still a goods-driven business. Meats from several local farms are a big draw, but so too are items like the house-made chicken salad, farm-fresh eggs and the weekend cinnamon rolls. Jewelry and small works of art adorn the tables, as do items like honey, salsa and coffee.
New to The Bramble Market is a line of cheeses from Red Roof Cheese Company in Damascus. The cheesemaker started in 2019 and is steadily growing in popularity, thanks in large part to its presence in The Bramble’s refrigerated section. It happens to be one of the only places in the Little Rock area to find the product.
Seeing local artisans like Red Roof find success is an important part of why Rice started the market. “We want nothing more than to see fabulous brands like this grow their footprint,” he says. “We make huge logistical efforts to partner with the best, whether they are new or well-established brands.”
There is typically a food truck out front. Hosting these mobile eateries matters to Rice. “They all bring their own unique art of food and culture to The Bramble.” Patrons can often be found on the back patio, enjoying food and company in a natural setting. Low Ivy, El Sur and Loblolly are just a few of the food trucks making regular visits.
Rice’s commitment to community and the betterment of his fellow small business owners seems to be the driving force behind what he does at The Bramble Market. “We love to support and promote other local folks, services and businesses.”
Location: 9325 Ferndale Cut Off Road. (Little Rock)
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday
Popular products: Red Roof Cheese Company, Loblolly Ice Cream, Brown Ranch Meats, The Farm at Barefoot Bend and Honeyton Farms Cinnamon Creamed Honey