Local Foods Conference Coming to Rapid City November 15-16

November 5, 2013

Battle Creek Gardens farmers selling at the Black Hills Farmers Market in 2011

SDSU Extension, Dakota Rural Action, the Black Hills Poultry Society, and Battle Creek Gardens have joined forces to present the 2013 Local Foods Conference at the Adoba Hotel in Rapid City November 15 and 16.

Of interest to locavores are the following sessions:

  • Growing heirloom plants
  • Beekeeping
  • Growing grapes
  • Tour of Battle Creek Gardens
  • Backyard poultry
  • Selling to restaurants
  • Community supported agriculture
  • Food product labeling
  • Farm to school

To read the RCJ article on the conference, click  here.

For more information and a registration form click here. The registration deadline is November 8.


CSA Opportunities for 2013

April 18, 2013


Bear Butte Gardens

Yesterday, Shirley posted about the benefits of CSA subscriptions. Now is the time to sign up for a CSA share for this summer. The farmers are already planting and planning for this summer season. We have developed a listing and description of the CSAs in the Black Hills area available this summer. CSAs can vary considerably in produce, length of season, price, and pick-up options. Several local CSAs have multiple options to choose from allowing customers to customize their CSA share to best fit their tastes and needs.

Battle Creek Gardens: Matt and Deidre Dealy are farming at Battle Creek Gardens this year with pick-up locations in Hermosa and Rapid City.  Battle Creek Gardens is a Certified Naturally Grown farm which requires that they uphold and oftentimes exceed organic requirements. They currently grow a wide variety (over 60) of vegetables and herbs. They also produce some berries and melons. Many varieties are specialty and heirloom varieties not commonly found in the everyday grocery store. Deidre adds:

Battle Creek Gardens is offering a couple of different options for our CSA program this year. We offer the traditional model CSA share in either 15 or 30 week intervals. Additionally, we are offering a Market-style, or buy down, share in which the CSA ‘balance’ can also be ‘spent’ online or at our Farmer’s market stand. This adds flexibility to your produce options. Our Market-style shares are limited this season, as this is a trial run to see if it is a good fit for our farm. If you are interested in a Market-style share, we recommend signing up as soon as possible to reserve your spot. Please see our website for more information!

  • Pick-up times: Mondays, 4:30-6:00 PM at The Rapid City Seventh-day Adventist Church, 4703 South Canyon Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702 OR Mondays, 3:00-6:00 PM at Battle Creek Gardens, 13815 Battle Creek Rd, Hermosa, SD 57744
  • Session and price: Members may sign up for one or two consecutive fifteen week sessions available for $350 each.
  • Website: www.battlecreekgardens.com


Bear Butte Gardens: Rick and Michelle Grosek have a certified organic farm CSA serving Sturgis. They grow all of the common vegetables of this region (peas, radishes, spinach, leaf lettuce, green peppers, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, etc.) plus some specialties (rainbow swiss chard, asian greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, hot peppers, roasting peppers, garlic).  Many varieties are heirlooms. This year they will also have some certified organic chicken available.

  • Pick-up times: CSA members can choose one of two options for pick-up, both in Sturgis: a weekday afternoon pick-up in Sturgis or a Saturday morning pick-up at the Sturgis Farmer’s Market.
  • Session and price: 15 weeks from early June to late September for $375
  • Phone: 605.490.2919
  • e-mail: Michelle@BearButteGardens.com
  • Website: www.BearButteGardens.com


Cycle Farm: Trish Jenkins and Jeremy Smith have an organic (not certified) farm supplying vegetables to customers in the Spearfish area.


Harmony Enterprises: Lyn Miller is in his eighteenth year farming and tenth year offering CSA shares. He has shares available for Chadron, NE, Rapid City, and possibly one other community in the area (Hot Springs/ Custer/Alliance?) if there is enough interest. His produce is organic (not certified) and his animal products are not 100% organic, but are, as Joel Salatin refers to it “nearly organic”, cage free, etc. Typically customers will see, in season, a multitude of greens, peas, onions, radish, beets, potatoes, summer squash, winter squash, melons, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet corn, cucumbers, usually featuring anywhere between 3-10 varieties of each. Lyn also offers different options to the basic CSA, at additional pricing such as eggs, broiler/fryer chicken, sometimes turkey, beef and honey, depending on interest.

  • Pick-up times: Still to be determined. Probably at the farmers markets on Saturdays for Chadron and Tuesday or Thursday afternoon/evening in Rapid City.
  • Session and price: Lyn will tentatively offer three seasons this year: Spring (5 weekly pickups in June for $150.00); Summer/Fall (17 weeks July through October for $510.00) and if interest warrants, he may offer a 3 week “Thanksgiving” CSA season for $75.00.
  • Phone: 308.432.3640
  • e-mail: harmonyfoodandproduce@yahoo.com
  • Website: www.harmony-ent.com


Joy Farm: Nisajoy Kerr has an organic (not certified) permaculture farm 25 miles east of Rapid City. Joy Farm is reclaiming the land of the old Farmingdale Post Office and General Store. She offers CSA shares in Rapid City and Pine Ridge. Vegetables include: Salad mixed greens, Arugula, Kale, Rainbow Chard, Radish, Baby Carrots, Kohlrabi, Herbs, Peas, Beans, Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Beets, Radish, Onions, Carrots, Fresh Flowers, Squash, Melons, Corn, Pumpkin, Potatoes

***Herbs will include Dill, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Chamomile

Her chickens are fed sprouted wheat, vegetable scraps, and organic dried kelp.

  • Pick-up times: home delivery in Rapid City Saturday mornings.
  • Session and price: $300 for about 18 weeks this summer or $360 to include one dozen eggs per week. Double share for $500. Bumper Harvest Extra basket for about $40, great for canning.
  • e-mail: joyfarmingdale@gmail.com
  • Website: clov3r.us/joyfarm


Valley Berry Farm: Joe and Sheila Hillberry have a small CSA supplying fruits and vegetables to customers in Rapid City. They are fully subscribed at this time.


What Is a CSA, and Why Should We Join One?

April 17, 2013

John and Sophia Gomez check out the potato plants at Bear Butte Gardens.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is a way of building a local food economy beyond shopping at the farmers market. A farmer who provides a CSA is offering a share of the farm products he or she produces. A share of Battle Creek Gardens, for example, gives the customer a box of fresh produce every week throughout the growing season in return for an up-front fee. The benefit to the customer is getting fresh high quality produce delivered on a regular basis. The benefit to the farmer is that the customer shares the risk (drought, flood, hail, grasshoppers, etc.) and pays early in the season when seeds and fertilizer and gas for the tractor must be purchased.

We at DLFN promote CSAs because they are local. Tonya, Barb, and I have all subscribed to CSAs, and we recommend them. But they are not all the same. It’s best to choose one that works for you and your family. Tomorrow Barb will identify the CSA’s in our area and how they differ.

Writer/scientist Bill McKibben in an Orion Magazine article reminds us why CSAs are so important:

Two hundred years ago, if an American wanted to eat a hamburger for dinner, he needed to be able to convince his neighbors to, say, help him build a barn in which to store hay to feed his cows all winter. And to help him harvest his wheat crop. Likely they would have come together to thresh it—there wasn’t a surplus of machinery. A neighbor would have slaughtered the cow and another would have baked the bread, unless it was all done in the family.

Two hundred years ago food production was a community affair. But with the advent of cheap fossil fuel, everything changed. Farmers bought big machines and could do the work themselves.

But we all need neighbors, if not to produce the beef, to help out in an emergency, to offer friendship, to help shovel the driveway, to bring in the mail when we’re gone. CSAs help rebuild what we’ve lost–the trust relationship between neighbors that is so important to our well-being. McKibben continues:

…it will take more than farmers’ markets—it will take farming communities, with enough small growers in the neighborhood to teach each other what needs doing.

He concludes with these remarks:

It means embracing nonindependence—which to us may seem un-American, but in fact it is just the opposite. Tocqueville, in the greatest cliché of American political science history, called us a nation of joiners. We’ve gotten away from that—become a nation of drive-around-by-ourselfers. But in a world that seems likely to grow a little tougher all around, with weird weather, rising prices, and falling profits, a neighbor is what you’ll need most.

Check back tomorrow for the next post in this series, when Barb will describe the CSAs in our area.


Battle Creek Gardens Now Accepting Applications for CSAs

March 4, 2013

Battle Creek Gardens in Hermosa are now accepting applications for 2013 CSAs. Community Supported Agriculture is a way consumers can support farmers and get the best of the best produce delivered to their town once a week during the season. The consumer pays up front, at a time when farmers need cash for buying seeds and materials. The consumer shares in the risks of windstorms, flood, hail, and deer invasions. The consumer is assured of a share of whatever the farm produces. The farmer does the work of plowing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting and has a ready market for the produce. It works for everybody.

We recommend BCG for many reasons: The gardeners farm without chemicals, they are leaders in our area in the use of plastic hoop houses to extend the growing season, they are the first in West River to have a winter CSA, their produce is very high quality, and they are true believers when it comes to the health of people and the planet.

The gardens are located in the red rock canyon created by Battle Creek, which flows out of the Black Hills, past the town of Hermosa, and out onto the prairie. Gardeners take advantage of the fertile soil, abundant water, and protective canyon walls to raise local food.

If you are interested in signing up for a CSA box, don’t delay. For more information and an application form, click here.

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Time to Sign up for a Bear Butte Gardens CSA

February 25, 2013

Rick Grosek works in his garden with a view


Shareholder enrollment for 2013 Bear Butte Gardens CSAs is now open. Owners Rick and Michelle Grosek raise certified organic crops in a greenhouse, a high tunnel, and in open fields. They are located northeast of Sturgis and enjoy a magnificent view of Bear Butte while they are working. Committed to sustainable agriculture, they offer field trips to their farm and conduct workshops for local growers.

For more info about their CSA, click here.

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