Big Springs Blow by Blow
Big Springs Trading Co.
Restaurant and Smoked Meats
 Call us: 870-439-2900    
Come see us: 14237 North Highway 65 in St. Joe, Arkansas

Big Springs Blow by Blow

National Trails Day Celebration

by Jennifer Jones on 06/08/16

National Trails Day Celebrated at Buffalo National River

"Nothing maintains a trail quite like a pair of feet," said Steve Parker, Trail Maintenance Coordinator of the Ozark Highlands Trail Association (OHTA), as he spoke at the June 4, National Trails Day event at the Tyler Bend Pavilion. 
The day was kicked off with Buffalo National River Superintendent, Kevin Cheri, welcoming visitors to take part in the daylong festivities. Park volunteer, Dr. Rob Lambert, highlighted the benefits of hiking citing the reduction of heart disease by 45%, lower blood pressure and reducing the chance of stroke by 40%. Dr. Lambert also noted that those who get outside to exercise with others are more likely to stick with it.

Park staff kicked off the new Adopt A Trail program, inviting people to select a section of designated hiking or horseback trail and to make a commitment to help care for it. Approximately 40 miles of trails at Buffalo National River were adopted on Saturday by local citizens. Many OHTA members were in attendance and on-hand to answer questions about the Ozark Highlands Trail, a 250 mile trail that runs through Arkansas, which can be accessed from Buffalo National River. The day also included a ranger led hike along the Sod Collier Trail, which focused on Leave No Trace principles, and a footbridge dedication on The Buffalo River Trail near Grinders Ferry by the OHTA. The Little Buffalo River Band provided afternoon entertainment followed by a dinner sponsored by OHTA that was prepared by the Big Springs Restaurant of St. Joe. Thank you to our partners for making this event happen, especially the OHTA, Buffalo National River Partners, and the Searcy County Chamber of Commerce.


More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s  national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

Contact: Casey Johannsen, Centennial Coordinator, 870-365-2776

Farm to Table

by Jennifer Jones on 05/19/16

People wonder, often aloud, why I'm so darn weird.  Well, my parents were hippies, but not the kind who grew up in New York and decided to move to the country to escape their upbringing.  The kind who grew up in the boonies and that just kind of fit in with the counter-culture in the seventies.  We grew a huge garden, had honey bees, raised beef cattle, milked a goat or a cow, raised our own beef and pork, that sort of thing.  

Jennis Mom
Check out this awesome picture of my mom in high school!  I was afraid to post in that she really looked like a hippy in.

Anyway, fortuitously, my unconventional childhood (and that of a whole bunch of other people my age) has translated into a cool new movement in restaurants called "farm to table."  A few years ago, people just thought I was being cheap by growing my own lettuce in the flower beds, and now they think it's trendy and cool.  Who knew?
/ lettuce
My lettuce this year.  I'm having trouble resizing images.  Ugh.

Which leads us to two things that we're really excited about: the new farmers' and artisans' market in St. Joe, and our own gardens here.  Kathy and I actually tried to talk area farmers into setting up a little market here a few years ago, but without success.  Since small markets have come more into fashion, and with the help of a friend of ours who was involved in a big market when he lived in Louisiana, we've actually got one organized! We absolutely love using local produce in our specials, and our customers are crazy about it.  Opening day is June 4, 2016, and the market will be open every Saturday from 8 until noon until mid-October.  So if you're looking for things to do around the Buffalo River, stop by on Saturdays.  It helps us because it sustains the farmers who supply us with locally grown produce.  We buy as much as we can, but we can't keep all of them in business.

To further our efforts to get locally grown farm to table food, we plant whatever we can fit into our beds here at the restaurant.  So far this year, we've planted lettuce, squash, jalapenos, cucumbers, snap peas, broccoli, and who knows what else.
Our herb beds are pretty impressive, but they're perennials and have been there for years.  We use them in salads and sauces, mainly.  

We've said all that to say that we're really looking forward to fresh vegetable season here in the Ozarks, and we hope that you'll come for dinner when you visit the Buffalo River or travel to Branson on Highway 65!  Thanks for continuing to shop and eat local!


by Jennifer Jones on 09/08/15

You know how sometimes you think you're going to be awesome and something, you get started, and BOOM!  You are so not awesome at it.  Take, for example, food photography.  I make all this food that apparently tastes pretty good, since people will pay money to eat it.  And so I think, hey, I'll snap some pictures of it and put it up on the internet and even MORE people will want to buy it.  But my snaps are terrible.  Like really bad.

Also, I apparently can't manage to add them to this blog, so whatever I do, food photography is hard.  THE END.

Christmas cheer!

by Jennifer Jones on 12/05/14

We're all focused on trying to get people to order their Christmas gifts, and between putting up decorations and answering the phone to tell people when the last possible minute that they can order their gift baskets is, we've been kind of busy.  So this post is about trying to get you to order a gift basket or 10.  Early.

These past few years, I've gotten lazier and lazier about buying stuff for people that they just regift or throw away.  I've resorted to just giving them food.  Due directly to my level of laziness, I've come up with several options.  I'm an enabler, and I'm happy to help you be lazy, too.  

For my older sister, it's cheese.  Sweet dreams are made of cheese.  Cheese!!!

For my vegetarian friends Red Hawk and Chandrika, it's bacon.  I know, that sounds terrible.  But bacon is the heroin of meat.  You get vegetarians started on some good hickory-smoked bacon, then they'll hide in their closet and eat it all day long.  I throw in some home-made jam and some farm-raised eggs to keep them on an even keel.

For Hasin, it's cookies and anything else with carbs in it.  I mean, I know she looks like she wouldn't touch the stuff, but that's all smoke and mirrors.  She'll knock you down to get the last piece of cake.  So I make her cookies, home-made bread, strawberry jam, maybe some honey-butter for the bread.

So, call us up.  We'll take the thought and effort out of your Christmas giving.  And we deliver, too.

Break it Down

by Jennifer Jones on 11/19/14

Hey, all you people who ask me for free stuff all year long, now's your chance!  Three times a year we completely tear this restaurant apart and clean things that normal people don't even know exist.  If you show up to help, we'll feed you anything in here that you want, all day long.

We fell obligated to warn you... It's not pleasant.  The cleaning part, we mean.  The food's pretty pleasant.

Nasty Door

That's the inside of the cold-smoker door.  It's just creosote, and you just have to take it off with a little acid.

And you know how much we love our vintage stuff.  It's not limited to our kitschy crap out front.  We cook on a 1959 model Vulcan double-oven 6 burner plus griddle-top propane stove.
Crappy Stove
Poor old stove.  As you can see, it needs a paint job, so that's gonna be one of our projects this time.  After we take it apart and scrub it with a wire brush. 

Any takers?  I'll bake you some cookies...

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