Heikes Family Farm produce feeds a community
Heikes Family Farm in Vermillion, South Dakota, has kicked off their CSA season.
VERMILLION, S.D. — Produce that will feed around 100 families this summer is going in the ground at Heikes Family Farm in Vermillion, South Dakota.
The farm is a Community Supported Agriculture operation, meaning that community members can purchase shares in the farm and then receive produce every week throughout the growing season.
“There’s not really much access to get local food and with it being a college town there are a lot of people that would like to grow local food, but they don’t have time and they want us to grow it,” said Heidi Heikes, farm manager. “I think it’s important, the whole buy fresh, buy local concept is a great idea.”
Each year, the farm sells around 100 shares. This year, business is a little slower than usual and there are still some shares available.
“A lot of new customers are finding out about us and they want to know who is growing their food and how it’s being grown and they want to buy local and they want to support local, which I think is more and more popular is that people want to get to know their farmer and they want to be able to have access to healthy, locally grown food because around here it’s hard to find,” said Heikes.
The farm also offers produce to those who aren’t shareholders.
“You can buy retail, you don’t have to be a shareholder, that’s what I tell customers, those driving by or those that are just in the area, and they want access to local food — absolutely come out,” Heikes said. “They can come out and volunteer as well and get local produce as well.”
Right now, the farm is just getting their planting season started.
“It’s been slow with the weather, you know, we’ve been wanting rain, we do do drip line irrigation, so we’ve got plastic and drip line underneath, we have a well that we water from,” Heikes said. “So right now, we are in prime planting season with pumpkins, and we plant tomatoes next week, we’ve got summer squash, we’ve got radishes, zucchini, we’ve got herbs planting soon, so everything is popping and I’m excited.”
It takes a few weeks to get the mile of farmland all planted.
“We hand plant everything, and we do it because we want our customers to know that we are local, we are all natural and we want to provide them with fresh, healthy, local produce and that’s what they want,” Heikes said.
Shareholders have already gotten their first produce haul: fresh asparagus.
“Right now, we just have asparagus and it kind of starts out slow, but once you get into mid-season, you are going to get a lot of local produce and you know, it’s a bargain,” Heikes said.
Shareholders can expect to get fresh produce for around 26 weeks out of the year.
“It averages out to be about 20 bucks a week for the small size share,” Heikes said.
For Heikes, it’s all about teaching her customers about where their food comes from, while providing them with healthy food options.
“More and more people are realizing the benefits of eating healthy, local food and they are coming to us saying ‘wow, that carrot tastes good,’” Heikes said. “Teaching your kids I think is very important, teaching your kids to eat fresh, healthy, local food I think is great.”
This summer, the farm will also be hosting a live event from 4 - 7 p.m., June 3, featuring food and live music.