Cory Tomovick and Mark Scholl, during the 2019 SDSPA Summer Tour featuring Happy Hydros in hydroponic growing systems and processing kitchen in Pukwana, SD.

Cory Tomovick was hired as a S.D. Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) Service Contactor in December 2014. She hit the ground running, all the while wondering just what she was getting into. Cory brought to SDSPA fresh insight and energy and has helped to make SDSPA into what it is today. Through her rare combination of vision, enthusiasm, and attention to detail, she has drawn together producers, consumers, chefs and other partners to recognize and celebrate the high-quality food being grown by specialty producers in this state.

SDSPA would like to thank Cory and wish her well as she moves onward with her new business, Harvest Table for Good. Her community-minded event-planning business will coordinate events inspired by locally sourced ingredients, chefs, and locations.

Cory chumming up with Smokey the Bear at our first AgFest outreach event in Pierre.

We remember Cory sitting at the registration table at the SDSPA annual meeting in Chamberlain her first March, meeting and greeting our members, making great first impressions and bringing a vibrant, fresh, creative outlook to the group.

Cory had a real knack for making new and renewing members feel like they belonged and understand how they would benefit from the association.  She recognized that everyone had great ideas to contribute.  She really got to the hearts of people she interviewed and was skilled at helping those folks tell their stories, many of which were highlighted in newsletters. She definitely made people feel good and excited about small agriculture and the freedom to explore new ideas.

We remember her serving aronia berries and red fife bread at AgFest in in Pierre as the professional ‘face & voice’ for SDSPA. She coordinated farm tours, the local food conference program, SDSPA vendors attending the State Fair Value Added Ag. Day, and other producer showcases.  Even if the tasks were not her favorites, like taking notes or drafting grant applications (which were all successful), they always got done. And do you remember how she, Kim Brannen, SDSPA Past-President, and Kari O’Neill, SDSU Extension, had to step in at the last minute and present the Chef Demonstration at the State Fair two years ago?  Cory’s homemade bruschetta was fabulous!

Community Cultivating Change local foods dinner in Custer, SD, Nov. 2018.

Cory has created new opportunities for increased awareness and appreciation of how our specialty crops industry contributes to local communities and economies.  Cory has an infectious enthusiasm that got folks excited about new project ideas. She always jumped in with both feet & was instrumental in developing partnerships with food growers and chefs to make ‘food celebrations’ such as the Custer fundraiser and the Chef-Grower events at S.D. Local Foods Conference & farmers markets.  She always knew somebody, or somebody who knew somebody, who could help out.  She never shied away from new challenges and we all ‘grew’ together as we built the SDSPA program.

Cory worked hard to try to improve executive team and board communications, to hold our feet to the fire and help us accomplish decisions made at our meetings. In any organization tenacity is an important part of success. Cory provided the right blend of humor, persistence and tenacity in getting workshops and field days organized and herding the SDSPA diverse cats into providing information she could use to help promote this association.

Cory promoting the local foods industry at Value Added Ag Day at the State Fair.

Cory has been very successful (an integral point person) in increasing the awareness and excitement of local foods throughout the state.  We thank Cory for her devotion to the membership of SDSPA, to our mission, and to her contributions to the specialty crop industry.  We are looking forward to working with Cory as she moves into the next chapter.  It is fantastic that we have such a talented person connecting producers to the market. Find out more about Cory’s new venture on her Facebook Page.