Valley Springs, SD
According to new statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture, more people are demanding local produce.
“You know it's fresh,” said Mary Ann Stoeser with the Garden of Weedin’. “It really doesn't get any fresher than same-day."
Stoeser's garden on the South Dakota/Iowa border is bigger than most and she sells it to consumers locally.
“[We sell] everything from peas and beans and cucumbers and sweet corn. The vine crop you see is all different kinds of squash,” Stoeser said.
Friday afternoon she is filling fresh cucumber orders. In all her crops fill 16 acres. Stoeser tends them 16 hours a day.
“Anything I sell is raised here. So when you come out and pick it up you can see where it comes from. You can see where the sweet corn or beans come from,” Stoeser said.
Apparently the business is catching on across the nation as more and more people demand to see the fields their sweet corn comes from. The USDA says nationally there are seven times as many local growers and farmers markets today than there were in the mid 1990s. In the last year, they're grown by almost ten percent.
“I'll take it, I'll take a ten percent increase in business any day,” Stoeser said.
She has noticed another trend too. Young people are buying more. The activity supports the national numbers.
“I have my regulars that all get pickles, beans or tomatoes, but I've seen a lot of younger people canning and freezing too, just because it's healthier,” Stoeser said.
Most of the produces she picks each week is already spoken for. While many producers have been hurt by this summer's drought, Stoeser says she's been able to keep up with watering, but the plants don't always produce as much as usual, which means sales once a week instead of two.