PIERRE, S.D. (KELO)– From pumpkins and peaches, to tomatoes, fresh produce can be hard to find, especially during a drought.

Rilling produce has been farming in central South Dakota for nearly 40 years. But when things started off dry this year, they weren’t sure they were going to see much of a crop.

Watermelon picking starts early here at Rilling Produce, where hundreds of melons, tomatoes and pumpkins are being pulled from the field every day. This is a task they weren’t sure they were going to be able to do this year at the start of the season.

“Well early on it started out looking really bleak, we couldn’t buy a rain. We were dealing with high temperatures, high wind, just a lot of dry conditions,” said Mark Rilling, owner and operator.

But, thanks to sub-surface drip irrigation and some timely rain, they’re enjoying a late but plentiful crop.

“At the end of august, we ended up getting a three and a half inch rain which was just an answer to our prayers, we were just so excited to get that rain,” said Mark.

The farm produces a wide variety of farm fresh produce, in an area where fruits and vegetables can be harder to find. They open up shop in Mid-July.

“A lot of our produce that we sell at our produce stand and it’s like 20 minutes off the vine and you can buy our fresh produce, so it’s hard to catch it any fresher than that,” said Mark.

“Pierre is kind of a produce desert. A lot of the big growers or stores don’t come here, we’ve just got Walmart and Dakotamart, which are great but there’s just not a lot of local product,” said Julie Rilling, co-owner. “We have so many customers that come back and are so thankful that we are here, it makes it worth the effort, the worry, the work.”

Rilling produce also partners with different charities on Native American Reservations across the state to help provide them with farm fresh foods.

“It’s a really good feeling because I know there’s a lot of need there so it makes you feel really good to be able to provide that for them,” said Julie.

“It’s what gets me up in the morning, I feel I have a very important job to do to keep these people fed and I take my job very serious,” said Mark.

Making sure families have farm fresh produce for their diner tables.

“As a farmer, God gave me a gift to grow things and it really makes me very fulfilled and really makes it very good,” said Mark.

Rilling produce will be open for business through the end of the month, with tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelon and a variety of other produce.