Farms, food hubs provide local produce

May 30, 2019

While it has been a challenging spring for local produce growers, they are getting most of their seeds and plants in the ground and will bring those fruits and vegetables to market in a few new ways this year.

Here’s a look at two growers who will have on-site markets this year and two operations that serve as retail hubs for producers.

Cherry Rock Farms

The fourth-generation vegetable farm south of Brandon added a CSA this spring, giving 25 people the chance to have early access to six weeks’ worth of vegetables.

“We had no idea how popular it would be. We sold out in a day,” said Laura Patzer, who operates the family-owned farm with her husband, Marco. “We did err on the conservative side because we wanted our customers to be happy.”

Every Saturday through June 22, the members of the CSA, who paid $150 for a share, stop by the farm to pick up what’s available that week. The farm is offering microgreens, spinach, kale, carrots, beets and green onions. Cherry Rock will offer a fall CSA too, Patzer said.

“We wanted to figure out a way to extend our season, and since we have the greenhouse space for earlier offerings in the spring and then in the fall,” she said.

The farm’s store opens to shoppers every year in late June or early July as soon as there’s enough produce to sell and closes in early fall. It’s open every day except Monday. In addition to the vegetables the Patzers grow, they offer items from other local producers such as eggs, honey and meat.

Dakota Fresh Food Hub

What started as a way to connect producers with restaurants has expanded this year to individual orders.

Dakota Fresh Food Hub has created an online market where people can order items weekly and pick them up Fridays at Stensland Family Farms’ store on West 41st Street.

“We started out with the idea of doing wholesale,” said Kristianna Gehant Siddens of Astoria, president of Dakota Fresh LLC, which is owned by 13 producers.

They came together so they could aggregate and market their products more efficiently.

“Then this year, we wanted to reach out and offer retail offerings and sizings. … We have people with smaller amounts that lends itself to retail sales, and we had people asking us for it.”

The producers saw there was a market for online sales for people who aren’t going to farmers markets, Gehant Siddens said.

The website is updated each week at 8 a.m. Monday to show what’s available from each producer. Shoppers create an account and order as much or as little as they want by 6 p.m. Tuesday. They pay online and then drop by the Stensland from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday to get their bag of produce.

“We’re offering everything from meat and produce to tea and honey,” Gehant Siddens said.

The site lists which producer is providing each item “because we wanted to retain the connection to each producer.” There are details about production methods and links to each producer.

Dakota Fresh is half-way to its cap of 25 producers, so there’s room for producers both large and small to sell wholesale or retail.

“There are a lot of new producers who are looking for ways to market their products,” Gehant Siddens said.

Glory Garden

When Anna Anderson started Glory Garden on her family’s acreage in 2014, she sold her harvest to family and friends using email. Two years ago, she created a website with a full e-commerce platform. She started adding produce from other growers and realized that finding a market for other producers was the favorite part of her business.

“I love the connections I have with the producers and the consumers,” she said. She enjoys coordinating the market, providing recipes that she has tested and writing a blog to help educate people about the value of locally grown foods.

This year, she’s planning to grow just a few things such as kale, swiss chard and herbs. Anderson made a list of everything she wanted to offer through the weekly online market, and 11 producers agreed to provide it.

“I buy everything at wholesale and sell at retail,” Anderson said. “I only buy from them what gets ordered on my website.”

Anderson checks in with them each week to see what’s available. New products are listed on the website every Friday morning, and shoppers have until 8 a.m. Monday to order. Customers can order as much or as little as they want each week. They don’t have to pay membership of delivery fees.

Delivery day is Tuesday, and Glory Garden offers seven pickup sites. POET and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield have a drop site for their employees, and Anderson would be willing to add more businesses to her list.

Glory Garden delivered its first orders this week.

Nom Nom Gardens

Nom Nom Gardens southeast of Sioux Falls has been selling eggs for the past two years and plans to open a farmer’s market on the site this summer.

Bobbi Jo Horsted and her husband, Ned, bought the farm at 27058 Southeastern Ave. four years ago. Horsted has grown her brood to 120 free-range hens and is ready to expand her vegetable garden into retail sales.

“We do hope to sell this year even through we haven’t been able to plant in the ground with all this water,” Horsted said.

They started to put up a sustainable greenhouse a year ago, but it blew down in a storm. The Horsteds plan to rebuild it, which will allow them to grow and sell hydroponic fruits and vegetables year-round, she said. They also plan to have citrus trees in the greenhouse.

“It’s so expensive in the grocery store,” Horsted said. “We don’t want families to go broke feeding their family with fruits and vegetables.”

Along with the farmer’s market, she envisions having events at the farm such as a fall festival and an ugly vegetable contest.

“We want to welcome people to see how the food is grown,” Horsted said.

The farm also has a building that the couple rents out for events. The Venue at Nom Nom Gardens has a beer and wine license and lots of parking, Horsted said.

Here’s where to shop farmers markets this season

Want to stay in the know?

Get our free business news delivered to your inbox.

Farms, food hubs provide local produce

While it has been a challenging spring for local produce growers, they are getting most of their seeds and plants in the ground and will bring those fruits and vegetables to market in a few new ways this year.

News Tip

Have a business news item to share with us?

Scroll to top