Communities have the power to cultivate change. The proof is in a culinary dining experience held on November 29th in Custer with Chef Joseph Raney (Skogen Kitchen) who utilized 26 different local ingredients to create six courses each paired with a South Dakota wine. Mount Rushmore Brewing Company (Custer) also provided a tart cider paired with one of the courses. The experience opened eyes and elevated the conversation on what is possible in South Dakota. The development of a local food system can enhance rural economies and keep dollars here in the state. Plus, it just tastes great!

The event was the brainchild of several partners who advocate for local food producers: SDSPA, Chef Joseph & Eliza Raney (Skogen Kitchen) Keely Mahony (Black Hills Balloons, Custer), Joy Falkenburg, MD (Custer Regional Hospital), and Tod & Tarin Hartman (Black Hills Southern Sonder, Custer). Chef Joseph wants more local food producers so that he can source more of the ingredients for his restaurant locally.

SDSPA wants more local food producers to grow the local food system in the state. They sourced the ingredients for Chef Joseph. Keely Mahony loves great food and knows what is going on both the national and international stages. Joy Falkenburg, MD wants to create community conversations about food as medicine. Her family provided the beef. And Tod and Tarin Hartman have a new event venue they graciously donated to the community effort. The event was designed to test the waters for fundraising by creating a culinary experience sourced locally. It all goes to show that with the right ingredients, magic can happen.

The results? All 40 seats were full and more than a few eyeballs were rolling back into the heads of individuals tasting the culinary delights. Despite a fine dining experience, more than a few participants raised the bowls to their lips to slurp the final drops of the vinaigrette that went with the tomato salad so that not a morsel would be missed. Let’s just say, Chef Joseph is a master and can bring out the full power of ingredients sourced nearby. South Dakota has a future as not only a state for Great Places, and Great Faces, but also… Great Food.

Besides ingredients, participants were given a gift bag at the end of the evening stuffed full of South Dakota products including wine, beer, ancient grain flour, Kimball popcorn balls, loose leaf teas, and organic grain (to name a few).

Follow the link for the Locally Sourced Menu and producer details. See the more in the January/February issue of Down Country Roads magazine where the event is showcased in full detail. SDSPA thanks all the producers and partners who have made this event successful. SDSPA thanks all the producers and partners who have made this event successful. Donations will be utilized to further advocacy work and educational opportunities for local food producers in South Dakota. Look for more Locally Sourced culinary events in the months to come. To be placed on a mailing list, become a member of SDSPA.