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Belle Valey Ancient Grains is one of tour stops along with Kirby's Dakota Grown.  The free event that is open to the public includes a Local Foods Potluck at noon.
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Belle Valey Ancient Grains is one of tour stops along with Kirby's Dakota Grown. The free event that is open to the public includes a Local Foods Potluck at noon.

Growing Ancient Grains & Greenhouse Tomatoes Tour showcases grow and buy local movement

F.Ganje - July 24, 2018

NEWELL, SD – Luscious tomatoes, home raised beef and lamb, fresh milled and baked breads….if that all sounds good to you than plan on taking the tour, “Growing Ancient Grains & Greenhouse Tomatoes Tours” set for Saturday, July 28, 2018 in the Nisland Valley area. It’s a chance to see first-hand, the niche markets that growers are developing in value-added ag production and products, says Becky Kirby of Kirby’s Dakota Grown.

“People can see two greenhouses, one in production for 22 years, the other for 12,” says Kirby, “where you’ll see real-world production of greenhouse tomatoes.”  She continues, “We’ve been doing this for so long, there are things we know that we don’t know. When people come to look at the greenhouses, they’re just like, ‘Wow! How do you do that?’ ”

Sponsored by the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association and the SDSU Extension, the tour will take participants to the long established greenhouses at Dakota Grown and then on to Belle Valley Ancient Grains. Brain and Linda Stambaugh have developed a niche market for specialty grains.

“I’ll give a presentation on growing ancient grains and the journey I’ve been through and what I’ve learned,” says Stambaugh. “That will be followed by a tour of the fields, the grain cleaning operation and sample some fresh milled flour.”

The free event welcomes families and children who will get the chance to spend time outdoors while learning more about the grow and buy local movement.  Among the highlights will be the Local Foods Potluck at 12 Noon at the Stambaugh farm. Those planning on attending should bring one dish or canned item made with locally produced food to add to other menu items.

“I’m baking hamburger buns made with fresh milled ancient grains flour,” he notes.  “Hamburgers will be made from home grown beef from just up the road.  Others are bringing lamb shoulders to prepare.  I think we’ll eat well and everyone is welcome.”

You can bet there will be fresh tomatoes.  Becky Kirby along with husband Mark grow two varieties of the red fruit that can be found at various retail locations and in local restaurants.

“Our tomatoes are so good because of the variety and the soil,” she observes. “Up here in Newell we have gumbo and they used to grow a lot of cucumbers and sugar beets. The soil has all the micronutrients that the plants need for good flavor.”  She continues, “And the variety is important.  There are a lot of commercial tomatoes grown for their shipping ability or color but not really for taste. When we try out new varieties, they have to taste good.  If they don’t taste good, we don’t grow them.  Beyond those things, the flavor comes from God.”

Guest speakers during the tour include Dr. Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulturist and Entomology Field Specialist Pat Wagner. Master Gardeners attending can earn continuing education hours on the tour that begins at 9:30a.m. at Kirby’s Dakota Grown.

Both Stambaugh and Kirby say that getting the chance to visit with others while learning more about local food production is a win/win for everybody.

“In this country, we have the luxury to be able to get our food from a whole lot of different sources,” she observes.  “But when you buy local, you’re helping the local economy, you’re helping the people in your community.  It provides jobs.  The money stays close by.  And you develop relationships with people in the community.”

She adds, “I don’t know that it’s the be all and end all of everything.  But buying local is better for your community.”

Directions to arrive at the “Growing Ancient Grains and Greenhouse Tomatoes Tour are:
From the Junction of Highways 79 and 212 located south of Newell, go two miles west on Hwy. 212.  Turn north on Dillinger Road, travel two miles to arrive at Kirby’s Dakota Grown at 18595 Dillinger Road. 

From there, Belle Valley Ancient Grains at the Stambaugh farm is located south on Dillinger Road.  Travel one-half mile to reach 18871 Dillinger Road.

For more information, call Brian Stambaugh at 605-515-2766 or email [email protected].  See more on line at www.sdspecialtyproducers.org and at www.bellevalleyancientgrains.com

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785