Always home grown or homemade in South Dakota

Farm Forum

Here in South Dakota, we’re proud of the agricultural products we produce, and local farmer’s markets are a great venue to get these products directly in the hands of consumers. One market I wanted to single out is the Country Farmer’s Market held in our capital of Pierre, South Dakota. Terry Lehmkuhl of Springerridge Barnyard Products and her husband Ernie are the organizers of the market. Terry said “We are just a few hard working people that love bringing country to town. Our Farmer’s Market customers love what we do with our hands. Picking eggs, milking goats, working in our kitchens or just playing in the dirt, we bring our customers the best, freshest products and produce.”

Coming up on Nov. 14 and 15 in Sioux Falls, the South Dakota Local Foods Conference will be held, and groups like the Country Farmer’s Market will be represented along with staff from our USDA Rural Development offices. This conference will help continue the connection between growers and consumers, and help develop the relationships between local foods and the groups that use them. Terry Lemkuhl is scheduled to be one of the presenters at the conference as well.

Not surprisingly, the Country Farmer’s Market offers a large variety of goods: Fresh produce, baked goods, free range eggs, Icelandic yarn, coffees, honey, and canned goods. “We offer just about anything you would want a Farmer’s Market. Our customers are always in awe of the large variety we offer,” said Terry. Also at the market is what they call “The Gathering Place” – a place for special guests, demonstrations, and kids’ activities.

Farmer’s Markets make an impact in the state. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture did a study showing that farmer’s market vendors sold over $1.3 million worth of products in South Dakota during 2013. Farmer’s markets had an average of over seven vendors and nearly a hundred customers per market. The average sales per market for that time period were over $1,100.

South Dakota has at least 61 farmers markets in the state. Using the midseason average sales, this equates to approximately $70,000 in spending at all farmers markets each week.

It is people like Ernie and Terry, two hard working South Dakotans who provide fresh produce, canned goods, baked goods and make an economic impact holding up the motto ‘Always Home Grown and Homemade in South Dakota.’