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Here Come the Nuts
We’re off to a great start into 2015 and many of us are focusing on our health. Nuts are healthy and good for you when eaten in moderation. Eat a handful of nuts before a meal and it can help prevent you from overeating.
Today we will start our 4-course tour of Arkansas with a few nutty towns.
Not much is known about Peanut, Arkansas other than that it is a “populated place in Franklin County.” The term peanut often refers to something tiny and this town certainly fits the bill.
The acorn is another tasty nut, especially to deer and other wildlife. Acorn, Arkansas is a “suburb” of Mena. The town was presumably named so due to the abundance of oak trees in the area.
We would not have a true feast on nuts without enjoying the ever-popular walnut. Walnut Ridge, Arkansas became well-known in 1964 when the Beatles attempted to secretly land at the Walnut Ridge Airport, take a short vacation in a nearby area and then return to fly out of the airport. Of course, details of their itinerary were leaked and most of the town was awaiting the four singers when they returned to the city Sunday.
What’s a meal without a big piece of meat or fish? (Unless you’re a vegetarian – but fear not, we have a section for you below!) Arkansas is full of meaty towns.
Deer and Bass are unincorporated towns both located in Newton County, Arkansas. Fishing abounds in Newton County and the four major game fish which can be found in the Buffalo River, Little Buffalo and Piney are the smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass and of course, catfish. If you’re interested in trying some local game you might drive up to nearby Jasper, Arkansas and check out the Arkansas House Boardwalk Café which serves a variety of game and fish entrees.
Wiener, Arkansas is sure to bring some giggles to young and old alike but was actually named after a man who lived in the area. Hamburg, Arkansas was originally home to a lot of German immigrants and was likely named after Hamburg, Germany. Either way both of these towns are perfect picnic fare!
Most adults will benefit from eating around seven servings of fruit and vegetables every day. That should be easy with these seven healthy Arkansas towns!
Strawberry, Arkansas is a tiny little town of around 275 people. I don’t know if you will find any Strawberries in Strawberry but they are known for the gazebos handcrafted by a local group of Mennonites.
Wild Cherry and Peach Orchard are tiny but delicious towns. Wild Cherry remains unincorporated while Peach Orchard boasts a population of around 175 residents. Peach Orchard was named so after a French settler by the name of Pierre Le Mieux planted an orchard in the area. No evidence of the orchard remains today.
Possum Grape is another tiny unincorporated town that gets a lot of laughs and giggles. Although rumors often allude to something else, it is generally thought that the town gets its name from the possum grapes or fruit bearing vines which grow in the area. While you should always be certain that what you are eating is safe to consume, you can actually make jelly out of possum grapes!
Tomato, Arkansas is known for once having the nation’s tiniest post office. Tradition maintains that this town was named while discussing the new post office. A local woman was holding a can of tomatoes in her hand and declared “why not just call it Tomato?” And the name stuck.
Pea Ridge was named for; you guessed it, a variety of wild peas that grew in the area. During the time of its settlement the peas were prolific and often called hog peanuts or turkey peas and were praised by local Indians and settlers as a food source for humans and as a forage crop for livestock. The peas can still be found in the wild and make a tasty treat.
To round out our seven servings of fruit and vegetables, we can’t forget Pickles Gap. Pickles Gap is a mountain pass located just outside of Conway. Although it’s not really even a town, it is well-known for the Pickles Gap Village a string of shops that sell antiques, fudge and locally made products.
It’s January and most of us are thinking about getting healthy, cutting back on what we consume, and eating less sweets. Everything in moderation, right?
Well Sugar Grove, Sweet Home and Maple, Arkansas are sure to fix any sweet-tooth.
Sugar Grove and Maple basically exist only as a dot on a map while Sweet Home is a dwindling but still present community in Pulaski County. Sweet Home is home to the state’s oldest cotton gin listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally, over two dozen communities in Arkansas were named Sweet Home although this location is the only one to still have a post office.
Of course, no 4-Course meal would be complete without utensils to eat with and something to wash it all down. Fear not, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re feeling mighty hungry, you might want to dig in with a Big Fork. Big Fork is essentially non-existent today and it’s only recent claim to fame was when trees were damaged in the community during the April 2011 tornado outbreak. The town does have some fabulous history, a lot of which can be found on the no-longer-maintained Big Fork Blog. If a Big Fork is not your style, or if you’re looking to share you might enjoy Three Forks in Crittenden County.
Finally, no meal would be complete without a refreshing beverage to drink it down and Coldwater should do the trick!
I hope you have enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek look at some unique towns in Arkansas. Unfortunately, many of the towns listed above are small and their history has been lost to time. If you live near any of these towns or others we didn’t mention today, I would encourage you to go out and talk to some of the locals who have lived there for decades. Each day we let pass, another memory begins to fade. Arkansas has such a rich and vibrant history and we need to work hard to preserve it.
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