The other night my husband and I enjoyed an awesome dinner that included all local foods. We FEASTED on roasted corn, roasted potatoes, fried squash, cucumber and tomato salad and even had local watermelon and homemade ice cream made with eggs from our chickens for dessert. The meal was delicious and served as a reminder about how wonderful local eating can be. Local fruits and veggies abound in the summer months and it got me thinking about another summer favorite of mine, the BLT.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post.
BLT’s are typically something we only enjoy in the summer. While all of the ingredients in the BLT are important, even the best BLT can be ruined by a mediocre tomato. BLT’s are best enjoyed when tomatoes are at their peak of perfection.
The all local, all veggie meal got me to craving a BLT. Unfortunately, the tomatoes in our garden got a late start and are still green. And there was also the fact that we were fresh out of bacon. All of that could only mean one thing…
So early the next morning my husband and I got up early, took the tops off the jeep and headed out on “The Road to the GREAT Arkansas BLT”!
We set out on this journey with a mission (and our stomaches) on our mind and we set our compasses for Arkansas Hwy 65. For THIS is the Road to the GREAT Arkansas BLT! 236 miles, round trip, and worth every second and every cent!
Lettuce and Tomato
Tomatoes are the key ingredient in a BLT. Bad tomatoes = Bad BLT. Good tomatoes = Good BLT. GREAT Tomatoes = GREAT BLT. We were on the hunt for a GREAT tomato.
The lettuce can really be any kind of lettuce. Iceburg, leaf lettuce, bibb lettuce…doesn’t matter. Just please don’t use spinach!
The first stop on our journey took us to a tiny little farm stand just south of Leslie, Arkansas. There are a ton of farm stands along this highway and they all carry a great selection of local/in-season produce. The one we stopped at was currently selling tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, blackberries and some assorted other veggies. We picked up two delicious looking tomatoes and a quart of fresh blueberries. Unfortunately, none of the farm stands had lettuce so we used what we had at home.
Honestly, I love a BLT served on plain ol’ toasted white bread! That’s how my mom made them and its usually how I make them. But remember, we’re not going for usual! We’re going for GREAT. So we headed a few more miles down the road to the shop that put Leslie, Arkansas on the map...Serenity Farm Bread.
The location pictured above is one of two locations in Leslie. This one is in an historic home and overlooks the river. Inside they sell their handmade sourdough breads, yummy sourdough cookies and a variety of fresh pastries and health food items. Outside, you will find a variety of cute little seating areas, just perfect for munching on a few chocolate chip with almond sourdough cookies! YUM!
If you head a few miles over to downtown Leslie you will find their flagship store that contains their wood-fired brick oven and is where they bake all of their delicious breads. They do not bake on Wednesdays however and since it was a Wednesday we just stopped by the shop on HWY 65. But the Downtown shop is definitely worth seeing (and smelling) if you are in the area on a baking day!
I have a vegetarian friend and I always joke with her that bacon is the “gateway” meat. One bite of bacon and you will leave your vegetarian ways behind! That especially holds true with this Arkansas gem that you will find just a little further up Hwy 65 in St. Joe, Arkansas. (The truth is, Petit Jean Bacon is my FAVORITE bacon. They are also an Arkansas Based Company!)
Coursey’s Smoked Meats has been in business for over 60 years and one taste of their meats will let you in on the secret to their success. Inside their small storefront they carry smoked hams, turkey and summer sausage. You can buy smoked cured bacon by the pound. They also carry smoked cheese and a variety of local honey, jams and jelly. They even have a few handmade selections of Jerky.
While we were in shop we decided to pick up a few sandwiches. There is nothing fancy to their sandwiches. It’s just store bought bread topped with a huge portion of smoked ham or turkey. You can add a slice of smoked cheese if you wish. The sandwich is served simple on a big piece of foil and you can add your own mayo, mustard or pickles. Drinks are in cans and they offer a few selections of chips. These sandwiches aren’t fancy but they are OH-SO-GOOD!
But…as I mentioned we went in search of bacon! One pound of bacon is about $8 and contains about 20 thick slices of smokey, salty, meaty goodness!
Coursey’s isn’t online but they do offer mail order delivery and you can reach them at 870-439-2503.
The final piece of the puzzle is the mayo and of course no ordinary mayo will do. In the case of the GREAT Arkansas BLT only fresh, homemade mayo will do! Fortunatly for me I have a beautiful flock of buff orpington chickens that are always laying delicious eggs that are just perfect for making homemade mayo.
Well there you have it! We have FINALLY collected all of the ingredients we need!
Behold…the GREAT Arkansas BLT!