The weather was perfect for SDSPA’s Regenerative Agriculture and Growing Hops tours held on Sunday, July 21.
“S.D. Specialty Producers local farm tours are such enriching community events that really connect producers and attendees with a wealth of knowledge while being wholesome family events,” said Erin Hamann, Dakota Fresh Food Hub, Community Outreach Coordinator.
The first tour featured small-scale vegetable and microgreen production at Tillford Rye Farm, near Garretson, SD. The attendees learned all about the tools, skills, practices, successes and struggles of small farm vegetable production from producer, Jeremy Nelson.
Tillford Rye began in 2017 after Nelson & Caitlyn Troge moved from Minneapolis to occupy eight acres in South Dakota originally owned by Nelson’s great-grandfather. This small-scale enterprise is located 10 miles northeast of Sioux Falls. They utilize organic farming principles including cover cropping, minimal tillage, and no synthetic chemicals as well as help to attract beneficial insects and pollinators.
The farm produces specialty varieties of peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, squash, purple sweet potatoes, radishes, melons, and microgreens.
There were multiple producers from Dakota Fresh Food Hub at this tour as well as their customers. The Dakota Fresh Food Hub, a group of area producers, including Tillford Rye Farm. The hub sells healthy produce and meats to wholesale buyers and consumers in Sioux Falls. The attendees were truly engaged and interested in all aspects of local foods in our region.
NRCS Canton and Sioux Falls District Conservationist, Deron Reusch, also did a highly informative presentation about soil health, cover cropping, no till and rainfall inclusion.
The second tour focused on hops production at Anderson Hop Farm near Valley Springs, SD. The farm launched in 2012, a pioneer in reigniting the South Dakota hops industry. Now, the state’s largest producer, they provide quality hops to breweries in the region and for their own on-site taproom, A Homestead Brew.
Owner, Lee Anderson, impressed attendees with his knowledge of growing hops, processing hops and the science behind brewing with local ingredients. To wrap up the evening participants got to sample his current brews at the taproom.