Heikes Family Farm Selected as 2022 S.D. Specialty Crop Producer of the Year

Sam & Heidi Heikes of Heikes Family Farm in Vermillion, S.D. were voted the 2022 S.D. Specialty Crop Producer of the Year.

Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, delicious jams and other value-added products, flower bouquet and other specialty crops are readily available across South Dakota. Access to these high-quality products has grown from farmers markets, to farm stores, to online food hubs and more. 

In 2022, S.D. Specialty Producers Association and the S.D. Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources moved to recognize one specialty crop producer for making an outstanding contribution to South Dakota local foods, increasing access, and improving the economies of our local communities. 

Sam & Heidi Heikes of Heikes Family Farm in Vermillion, S.D. were voted the 2022 S.D. Specialty Crop Producer of the Year. 

The public nominated producers with visionary leadership in South Dakota’s agricultural industry. The nominees actively promote growth, innovation, and prosperity for our local food system and specialty crops. 

Ag Day at the Washington Pavilion is a chance for families near Sioux Falls to visit with producers in all facets of agriculture and participate in hands-on activities to learn more about where food & fiber come from. SDSPA & Heikes Family Farm showcased specialty crops.

Heikes Family Farm was started 12 years ago by Sam Heikes. Heikes had failing health two years ago and his daughter, Heidi, stepped in to save the farm business. Carol Geu, an individual shareholder with Heikes Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, provided the nomination. 

“I love knowing who grows my food and the agricultural practices they use when growing their fruits and vegetables,” Geu said.

The farm does a great job of communicating with all of the shareholders, both individual and commercial, letting participants know what produce to expect each week. They also started a Facebook group just for shareholders where members exchange recipes so people know delicious ways to use unfamiliar produce.

One element of Heikes Farms that the shareholder admired is their use of volunteers. Members of the community are invited to assist at the farm. For their labor, the helpers are rewarded with fruits and vegetables. This provides community members who might not be able to afford to pay for a share, a way to exchange their labor for healthy food.

Heidi Heikes is an effective voice both in the community and state for CSA’s. She is constantly promoting the farm and agriculture via traditional and social media. Members admire her tireless efforts to educate people about why it is important to know who grows their food, and why they need to support local growers.

Heikes Farm showcases their produce and CSA at Value Added Ag Day 2021.

“The whole Heikes family are the kindest people you will meet. The world needs more farmers like those at Heikes Family Farm,” Geu said. 

Nominations were submitted in September, and public votes were cast in October for the two finalists. The other nominee was Kyle Cox of Cox’s Farm Stand in Vale S.D.