Arkansas: “The Natural State”

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State Bird: Mockingbird

State Tree: Pine Tree

State Gemstone: Diamond

State Flower: Apple Blossom

State Capital: Little Rock

Arkansas State Flag:

Made in Arkansas Gifts and Specialty Arkansas Products

Arkansas is one of our states with ample home grown and home made products. Small businesses seem to thrive here, from great BBQ joints to candy makers to wine and juice producers.

We’ve visited Arkansas several times, tried most of the products listed below, and find interesting new items every time we visit! We encourage you to discover their unique Arkansas stories!

Arkansas Life MagazineArkansas Life Magazine: Most of the 50 states feature a statewide magazine with features about the state’s lifestyle, shopping, dining, and special destinations.

These magazines make a great state themed gift, and we’ll be featuring as many as we can here at State Gifts USA. We’ll start with the premier lifestyle magazine from one of our favorite states, Arkansas Life

You can give Arkansas Life as a gift subscription and have it sent directly to the recipient’s door step.

Each issue features news, events, wellness topics, dining destinations, and much more. There’s a digital edition as well!

Subscribe directly at the Arkansas Life website …

Whole Hog BBQ, ArkansasWhole Hog BBQ: We love great barbecue and seek it out every time we’re on the road. While perhaps not as renowned as some of the nation’s barbecue capitals, Arkansas is a BBQ hot spot unto itself.

There are some terrific barbecue restaurants in the state, like McClard’s in Hot Springs (see below) and many others. On our recent visit to Little Rock, we discovered the wonderful Whole Hog Cafe, feasting on a bountiful Whole Hog Platter which contains pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs, and sides …

Whole Hog has two Little Rock locations (try the one on Cantrell Road) and several locations elsewhere in The Diamond State. We can best describe Arkansas barbecue as a mix between Kansas City style and Texas style, which makes sense as the state sits between the two …

But describe it however you’d like, because regardless, it’s 100% delicious. Whole Hog Cafe is well known for their six different bbq sauces, ranging from mild to volcano. You can order any of these sauces by mail order from their website, or better yet, a pack of all six in a handy gift tote!

What a great gift from Arkansas for anyone who appreciates the art of fine barbecue!

Crispycake from The Crispery

Try the Caramel & Cream Crispycake

The Crispery Crispycakes: Another really cool company we discovered on our recent visit to Little Rock is The Crispery. They make delectable marshmallow and crispy rice treats in numerous flavors (think Rice Crispy Treats but way better!).

Founded in 1995, The Crispery creates these wonderful treats soft and gooey, never hard and sticky. They’ve been featured on countless national publications, television shows like Good Morning America and the Today Show, and are found in specialty boutiques around the country …

The first Crispycake we tried was the Caramel and Cream, pictured. Wow! One of the best snack treats we’ve ever had, and many of the other flavors are just as good. They make a Banana Chip Crispycake, as well as several chocolate flavors and one called Peppermint Twist …

You can order Crispycakes online at their website, and they also offer special occasion and sampler gift boxes so you can try all the flavors! They make great gifts too … tell someone how sweet they are, Arkansas style!

Miller's Mud Mill PotteryMiller’s Mud Mill Pottery: Located in the Arkansas Delta area in the town of Dumas, Miller’s Mud Mill Pottery is run by Gail Miller, who creates stunning pottery pieces like the set shown …

Dumas is a town of about 5000, located 90 miles southeast of Little Rock. It’s located along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. The area is agricultural in nature and a lot of cotton is grown on area farms and plantations. The town was made famous in the late 1920′s by a song called “I’m A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas” …

Miller’s Mud Mill creates functional pottery which can also be displayed as art pieces … the pottery ranges from dinner sets to vases to bowls, trays, and jugs. Any of the available pottery pieces can be shipped … a great hand made Arkansas gift!

Check out the Miller’s Mud Mill site for Gail’s latest creations …

Arkansas Trivia and Fun Facts

1). The state’s highest point is Mt. Magazine, at 2,753 feet …

2). Many famous country recording artists were born in Arkansas. They include Johnny Cash, Tracy Lawrence, Conway Twitty, and Glen Campbell …

3). Many major league baseball teams once held their spring training camps in Hot Springs. Today, there is a Hot Springs historic spring training baseball trail which documents famous baseball sites from the town’s past …

4). Alma, Arkansas claims to be the spinach capital of the world …

5). Arkansas has the only active diamond mine in the United States. It is open to the public, and if you find ‘em, you get to keep ‘em!

6). Arkansas became the nation’s 25 state when it was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836 …

7). The official state insect of Arkansas is the honey bee …

8). Arkansas is the leading producer of rice in the country …

Southern Girl SoaperySouthern Girl Soapery: Here’s another small company we learned about on our recent visit to Little Rock … it’s Southern Girl Soapery, who creates handmade soap inspired by Southern scents and traditions.

All the soaps are cut and wrapped by hand, made with ingredients from local farms. Colors and scents come from natural ingredients, never the chemicals you’ll find in most standard soaps …

Check out their online store and you’ll find luxury bath soap, lip balms, bath creams, and all sorts of stuff guys will enjoy, like shaving soaps and after shave lotions …

Gift sets are also available … a nice Little Rock themed gift for someone special!

MeMan Tools

Arkansas Whetstone For Knife Sharpening

HeMan Tools: Not meaning macho, but rather the average, reasonable man who expects and appreciates the extraordinary, this Little Rock area company does indeed create the exceptional …

HeMan creates tools and practical items with lifetime guarantees … they’re confident you’ll hand these tools down to your heirs. These are tools any “he man” or woman, or a young person just getting started with handling tools will appreciate and treasure. You can buy anything from pruning knives to shears to ultra sturdy battery cables!

Pictured is an Arkansas whetstone, the perfect sharpening tool for your knives (and who doesn’t need a knife sharpener?). It has separate finishes for honing and finishing, and is large enough to handle even your bigger knives …

The company also makes handsome and practical home accessories, like wall mounts, fireplace tools, mirror frames, and a lot more. Take a look at the HeMan Tools website and see all the interesting things they create … a great Arkansas gift!

Cavenders Greek SeasoningCavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning: Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning is an Arkansas tradition. It’s been made in the northwest part of the state since 1970, and prides itself on the secret blend of 13 spices in the original seasoning … “no other spices needed!”.

We bought a bottle on our recent Arkansas trip, and it is outstanding with any pork dish. We also used it on ground lamb in a Greek style pasta dish (pastitsio) and it really added a wonderful flavor …

You can Cavender’s Seasoning online in the original or salt free version … check out their site for some tasty recipes too!

Arkansas Rice Depot

Arkansas Rice Depot: Rice Mixes For Sale

Arkansas Rice Depot: This worthwhile organization was founded in 1982 to help combat hunger in Arkansas, where 1 in 6 citizens struggle to feed their families. The Arkansas Rice Depot distributes almost 9 million pounds of food and food supplies yearly and 98% of their operating budget is spent on buying and distributing food to those living under the poverty line …

On a related note, did you know Arkansas is one of the nation’s leading rice producing states? Given this fact, the Arkansas Rice Depot has an online store with some great local products, many of which are rice related. There are gift packages, unique rice blends, and more.

All proceeds from gift shop sales help feed hungry kids, families, and senior citizens. Take a look!

Monk SauceMonk Sauce: One of the more interesting products we encountered on a recent trip to the Natural State is a product called Monk Sauce. It’s made by Benedictine monks who live at the Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, AR.

On a mission to South America, one of the monks learned about growing habanero peppers and creating hot sauce from the ripened peppers. He brought back seeds from the South American pepper plants and they now grow in abundance in the Abbey’s garden plots.

Two types of Monk Sauce are produced, a red and a green. The red sauce is made from more mature peppers left on the plant until they turn to red from green. The flavor (and heat level) are noticeably more pronounced than most other hot sauces because more peppers are used per batch than normal. The taste is full and rich and not watery like some similar sauces tend to be …

You can order Monk Sauce online, along with a unique brittle also made by the monks … what a unique gift from Arkansas!

War Eagle Mill

War Eagle Mill … Since 1832

War Eagle Mill: Located near the north Arkansas town of Rogers, War Eagle Mill has been a working mill since the 1830′s. Grains are milled into organic flour daily at the site, which is one of northern Arkansas’ most famous attractions …

The Mill offers tours, a country store, and an on site restaurant featuring many of their own products.

The War Eagle Mill online store offers a convenient way to enjoy their products. You’ll find kitchenware, specialty flour, grains and cereals, jams, jellies, and gift packages available. There’s a wide assortment of gifts – perfect for anyone on your Arkansas list!

McClard’s BBQ – Hot Springs:

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McClard’s Barbecue, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Located about six blocks off the main drag in downtown Hot Springs, McClard’s is one of Arkansas’ most revered barbecue restaurants. Prices are inexpensive, service is swift, and the barbecue is as good as it gets! Their house recipe McClards BBQ sauce is renowned and help put the restaurant on the map for the last 80+ years …

Hot Springs itself is an interesting town with a lot of history, in addition to their renowned hot water springs that gave the town its name. Most of the old bath houses are closed, but there are numerous spa services, good restaurants, historical sites, and plenty of nightlife.

And if you’re a baseball fan, you’ll be surprised to learn about all the spring training baseball history that took place in the town. The visitors bureau has introduced a Hot Springs historic baseball trail which leads you to the sites where some of the game’s greats graced the town with their presence …

River Valley Pepper SauceRiver Valley Pepper Sauce: We’re always on the lookout for unique cooking sauces and hot sauces, and on our most recent trip to Little Rock, we found the excellent River Valley Pepper Sauce at a local specialty store in The Heights …

The sauce is made in Russellville and it’s perfect to spice up any kind of rice dish. In fact, white rice with a few sauteed bell peppers and some River Valley Pepper Sauce drizzled in makes a satisfying and healthy meal!

The sauce itself is tangy with a hot bite, but not so hot that it leaves your mouth smoldering. Pour it into stews or pot roast, you’ll love it!

You can order at their site by the bottle or for a case of twelve bottles. Get a case and pass some along to your culinary oriented friends and neighbors!

Poor Richard’s Art Gallery: We were directed to Poor Richard’s when we inquired several Arkansas locals about a good place to shop for art pieces made by Arkansas natives …

Located in Rogers in the northwest part of the state, Poor Richard’s Art Gallery specializes in local artists. On their website and at the gallery, you’ll find examples from painters, potters, glass blowers, ceramic artists, and more …

If you’re looking for Arkansas art, Poor Richard’s is an excellent one stop destination!

J + M Cheese Straws: Cheese straws are a legendary snack throughout the south, rivaling potato chips, pretzels, and the like. They’re crunchy, yet delicate, and if you’ve never tried them it needs to be on your bucket list. Little Rock based J+M Foods sells cheese straws online so you can get your fix! It’s a real taste of the south …

Burge’s Smoked Turkeys: This place was highly recommended to us during our visit to Little Rock … and are we glad we stopped! We enjoyed lunch in their storefront, but the real star is Burge’s Smoked Turkeys They’re unlike any turkey you’ve ever tried … and they ship all across the country.

If you’re ever in Little Rock (a very underrated small city by the way), visit them at their location in a charming neighborhood known as The Heights, just 10 minutes from downtown …

StateGiftsUSA.com

Arkansas Golden Pecan Pepper Jelly

Liz and Linda’s Pepper Jelly: We brought a few jars of this family run company’s jelly products as a thank you gift to some friends and they raved about it … we wish we’d saved a jar for ourselves!

The company makes several different jellies, but Liz and Linda’s Golden Pecan Pepper Jelly has won several awards at national food shows. It’s made with yellow bell peppers and pecans and sounds perfect for crackers!

Mountain Valley Spring Water: This company, based in Hot Springs, is one of the oldest bottled water companies in America. They’ve offered home delivery for decades … in fact I remember my aunt having home delivery when I was a young boy in the 60′s …

Visit their Mountain Valley Spring Water Store to learn their story and pick up some swag …

House of Webster: This well known Arkansas company is famous for a wide variety of interesting condiments and southern style relishes. They make all sorts of fruit preserves, bbq sauce, syrups and a whole lot more. Visit the House of Webster website to see all their products and have a gift pack shipped to you or a friend …

Suzanne’s Fruit Farm: Located in south central Arkansas about 1.5 hours from Little Rock, Suzannes Fruit Farm is actually a pick-your-own farm with an online presence. It’s a great source for Arkansas made preserves and sauces … be sure to check out the Arkansas gift pack which is filled with all sorts of different preserves, and the gift baskets themselves are hand woven in Arkansas …

Post Familie Vineyards: Did you know that Arkansas has a thriving wine country? It’s located in the west central part of the state, about two hours from Little Rock and an hour or so east of Fort Smith on the Texas border …

The largest winery in this area, and in Arkansas, is Post Familie, in the small charming town of Altus. Their online store offers gifts of wine related items, juice, and preserves direct from Arkansas wine country.

The area is nestled in the mountainous part of Arkansas … the scenery along the way is beautiful and there are several wineries to visit in the immediate area. it’s a perfect overnight trip from Little Rock, and just 45 minutes from Fort Smith on the Arkansas-Texas border.

Petit Jean Meats

Petit Jean Meats

Petit Jean Meats: This company has been an Arkansas staple since the 1920′s and are best known for their smoked pork products like ham, bacon, and sausage. Pork is smoked “low and slow” … 18 hours over hickory logs to give it a rich, distinct flavor …

Petit Jean meats are served all over the state, and you can order some for yourself or as a gift too!

Their hams are particularly notable, and great for holiday entertaining … you can buy them bone in, boneless, or spiral sliced. They also offer numerous gift packs and related items. Learn more about Petit Jean Meats by visiting their website at Petit Jean Meats

Tell us about your favorite Arkansas made products … comment below!

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