The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) has coordinated upcoming farm tours highlighting the specialty crop and local foods industry on July 28, 2019.

The first tour will feature growing with hydroponics at Happy Hydros, 631 David Drive, Pukwana, from noon-2 p.m. CDT. The second tour focuses on raising grass fed beef at Bijou Hills Grass Fed Meat, 26314 350th Ave., Chamberlain, from 2:30-4:45 p.m. CDT.

Happy Hydros, operated by Mark and Teal Scholl, specializes in growing pesticide-free hydroponic vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. The produce is grown in greenhouses, providing a space for year-round production of lettuce and an extended season for the other crops. Their products are available in retail locations, restaurants, hospitals and schools. They also operate Grandma D’s Kitchen, LLC, which specializes in small batch processing and offers co-packing services.

During the event, the Scholls will share the farm’s story and provide a tour of their property and commercial kitchen.

Bijou Hills Grass Fed Meat, operated by Larry Wagner, raises cattle on grass and forage. Seeded grain is not fed to the animal in order to keep the Omega-3 fatty acids high in the animal’s body. Wagner spends a lot of hours moving cattle between small paddocks or pastures to make sure they have fresh growing grass to eat and applies techniques to promote healthy cattle and a healthy environment. The beef is available direct to consumers, at farmers market and at retail locations.

Wagner will share the farm story and provide a tour of the ranch. Additionally, Josh Lefers of Audubon Dakota will present “Grazing for Soil Health.”

Local producers, chefs, consumers and organizations involved in local or specialty foods are encouraged to attend the free tours. Bring your family and enjoy an afternoon learning about how your food is produced. Participants may attend one or both sessions. No registration is required. You will be a guest on tour hosts’ property, so please use common sense and follow directions. You come at your own risk.

Chefs can receive 2.00 CEH’s for participating in the first tour and an additional 2.0 CEH’s for the second tour.

The events are hosted by SDSPA in partnership with Audubon Dakota, SDSU Extension, the American Culinary Federation- Black Hills Chapter of Professional Chefs, Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, the USDA and the S.D. Department of Tourism.

Additional tours featuring specialty crops, meats and value-added products are scheduled this summer across the state.  The next tours are scheduled for Aug. 9 near Custer featuring greenhouse production and the utilization of gardens in patient recovery at Custer Regional Hospital. On Sept. 7 tours in Mission will showcase a geothermal greenhouse and high tunnels.

For a full listing of events visit http://sdspecialtyproducers.org or https://www.facebook.com/sdspa/.

For more information contact SDSPA at 605-430-4699 or SDSPAmembers@gmail.com.

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