Farmers Market vendors looking forward to busy summer, tourist season

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Farmers Market is a hot-spot with visitors and vendors selling produce, baked goods, fresh meat, and much more.

And despite last year’s challenges, the vendors are looking forward to what they hope will be a busy summer and tourist season.

“You know, I’m looking forward to the tourist season again. There are so many great people that come here to South Dakota, to visit the Black Hills, it’s beautiful, the weather is beautiful. And they come to here to the market to see us, and see the local produce, and the local items that we have for sale, and enjoying the goodness of South Dakota. So, I’m really looking to talking to everyone again, and just being a community,” said Gwendolyn Kitzan of Kitzan Family Farms.

“I was here all winter, in the cold…and it amazed me how many tourists came through. So I can’t imagine how many are going to come through. And it’s very, kinda, boggled my mind at first when I realized how much the tourists shop farmers markets, but they like eating fresh and local on their way,” said Deb Taylor of Deb’s Downhome Delights.

Deb’s Downhome Delights supplies jelly to the Good Stuffed’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Burgers, and the Kitzan Family Farms has recently started crafting ready to eat dinners, sold at Dakota Seafood and Cox’s Farmstand, they are looking to expand.

For meat producers participating in the market, the issue of processing remains. And some say getting an available slot with a processor is like hitting the jackpot.

“They’re saying, sure, you can bring them in mid summer 2022. You know, all the meat packing plants are still booked a good solid year in advance. The meat packing plants went from 3 months at the most, to a year, back log in no time at all,” said Kent Wilsey of Elk Creek Foods.

“For me, I’ve been able to book enough processing dates through 2021, so my plan is good and set. I think that we should be able to fill the gaps. And for this summer, I just want to see everybody health and happy, and back outside again,” said A.J. Granelli of Homegrown Pork and Poultry.

Despite the backlog, vendors have high hopes for a great season this year.

“South Dakota is known for their clean air, fresh air, and wide open spaces. And that’s when you come here to the farmers market, you’re going to taste that and see it in our product here with all of us vendors,” said Kitzan.

Categories: Local News