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Local farmer recognized for work in specialty farming

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — One local farmer has been recognized for working in a niche market.

This year, Heikes Family Farms is being honored for the work they do as a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Vermillion. The family grows a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure the town has access to local produce.

Showing people where their food comes from is Heidi Heikes’ passion. She began her CSA farm in 2012 to meet the growing demand for fresh food in the vermillion community.

“It’s been awesome, it’s been great to get to know other people and helping other people eat healthy food and letting them know where their food comes from, how it’s being grown and that they know it’s from a local farm,” said Heikes.

Now, all her hard work has paid off and the family has been named the 2022 South Dakota Specialty Crop Producer of the Year.

“I was excited, I was appalled, I was just so so excited to be representing this part of the state for agriculture and what we do,” said Heikes.

The award was given out for the first time last year, as the specialty crop industry began to grow across the state.

“This award is special because other industries in ag have their awards to feature their beef producer, or their row crop producer, and there wasn’t anything to recognize those farmers who were growing fruits or vegetables or other specialty crops, so this was a way to reach out and recognize that person growing in this industry,” said Chris Zdorovtsov, contractor for the SD Specialty Producers Association.

“I think it’s important to let people know who we are and what we do and that there are farmers out there who grow local produce, whether its a farmer or gardener, you know I think it’s important for them to know about specialty producers and what they do in South Dakota,” said Heikes.

Keeping communities stocked with fresh-fresh foods.

“It’s been really awesome, you know, we have about 90 shareholders and it has been fantastic, With people coming out and bringing their families and they just love coming out there, they love knowing who is growing their food, and that it’s fresh and it’s local and they are supporting a local farmer and a local business,” said Heikes.

Well, there are so many resources out there available to people, whether they already farm or are just thinking about starting.

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