Clay County Specialty Producers Host Tour
Spending an afternoon driving down the backroads of South Dakota touring local farms sounds like a perfect way to spend the day. Participants of the SDSPA tour would have to agree!
The first stop was hosted by Prairie Moon Herbs, such a fun place to meander around! When you enter the drive you’re greeted with gorgeous garden views of medicinal plants and herbs. Run by Grace and Harry Freeman, Prairie Moon Herbs has been in operation since 1997.
Some of the items the farm produces include goldenseal, ginseng, coriander, basil, buckwheat, sweet grass, native compass plant, peas, lettuce, berries, an assortment of flowers, and they even beekeep!
Participants learned about several native species while touring around the property as well as seeing the greenhouse, roasting area, herb room and gardens. They also have a small shop area where Grace sells tinctures, tea blends, edible flowers, and flower bouquets.
If you can’t make it out to the farm, they do frequent the Vermillion Area Farmers Market as well as sell online through the Dakota Fresh Food Hub. They are looking to the future by growing grains and to continue growing medicinal herbs.
During our walk Grace suggested a movie to the group called ‘Kiss The Farm’, a film about regenerative farming. “There has to be a better way,” Freeman said.
Our second stop was to Stone’s Throw Acres. This farm tour was so informative with Matt Stone as our host, and a great one at that!
The Stone Farm is an original homestead. The family has used several native farming techniques to bring organic matter back into the land. This farm produces tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, cabbage and garlic.
The group was able to learn about the five principles of growing, no till planting, companion gardening and creating a polyculture vs. monoculture system. The Stone’s also have free range chickens as well as lambs and goats. We learned the animals help graze the land plus bring back important nutrients to the soil.
Not only are they using animals to make the soil quality better, but they are also using sea berry trees that put nitrogen in the soil instead of taking it out. Matt has planted them in an orchid with peach and cherry trees.
Our final lesson was on beekeeping. The Stone Farm currently has around 10,000 bees in one hive. Stone shared fun facts about bees including that bees like lemongrass, bees can see in UV lighting, and the honey should not be harvested unless it’s 50 degrees or lower. Stone estimates the bees will produce about 100 lbs of honey this season.
“I’ve fallen in love with the bees. They’re absolutely amazing how they work,” Stone said.
Everyone who attended had a lovely time, and enjoy the extra treats provided at both stops. This bus tour was made possible by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds.