PROtein Day spotlights local meat producers at Black Hills Farmers Market | Beef

When people think of farmers markets, they may think of the tons of locally grown fresh vegetables and herbs.

But meat producers at Black Hills Farmers Market wanted to let people know that farmers’ markets are also a great place to find quality sources of meat-based protein such as beef, bison, lamb, pork and pork. chicken.

So they brainstormed and created “PROtein Day,” a day to celebrate and showcase all the tasty, protein-rich meats available at the Farmer’s Market.

Shoppers check out pork and beef for sale at Maude Hog and Cattle at the Black Hills Farmers Market.

Tri-State Neighbor photo by Melisa Goss

The producers involved were Kitzan Family Farms, Maude Hog and Cattle, Evergreen Ranching and Livestock, Elk Creek Foods, DX Beef, Homegrown Pork and Poultry and Gramma’s Delicacies.

“It was completely vendor-driven,” said Barbara Cromwell, manager of Black Hills Farmers Market.

Protein Day was held on August 20, during regular market hours, and Cromwell hopes it will be an annual event.

Producers and the market partnered with five local and statewide sponsors – Pennington Johnson Farm Bureau, South Dakota Beef, South Dakota Pork and South Dakota State University Extension – to not only promote the event, but also to provide coupons allowing customers to double their money on protein products.

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Chef Derek Phelps slices samples of steak from Elk Creek Foods during PROtein Day, Aug. 20, at the Black Hills Farmers Market.

Tri-State Neighbor photo by Melisa Goss

Customers could purchase a $5 coupon that would allow them to purchase $10 worth of meat from the vendor of their choice. Shoppers could also use their EBT cards to purchase the coupon.

The market accepts EBT cards all year round.

For the kids, there was a scavenger hunt that required them to stop at each of the protein producer booths and get a stamp. They returned their completed cards to the Rapid City Library stand, which offered a selection of children’s farming books to read and check out.

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SDSU Extension beef specialists were on hand to answer questions about nutrition, management practices and more.

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Kent Wilsey runs a cow-calf operation near Owanka, SD. He sells his beef with fresh vegetables from his ranch at the Black Hills Farmers Market.

Tri-State Neighbor photo by Melisa Goss

SDSU Extension’s master gardeners also got involved, explaining how cattle grazing benefits the soil.

Gwendolyn Kitzan of Kitzan Family Farms raises sheep and sells fresh lamb at the market. With so many new people moving to the area, she said it was important to showcase local producers and show newcomers the high-quality, locally sourced meat available to them.

Chef Derek Phelps from the South Dakota School of Mines was on hand to cook samples from each of the protein vendors.

Kent Wilsey of Elk Creek Foods donated some chuck steaks for Chef Phelps to cook. He said he was happy to be part of PROtein day because it is important to promote local producers.

Wilsey said he enjoys the face-to-face interactions he has with his customers in the marketplace. He tells them what his cattle eat, the injections he received, how he was treated and other details.

“You can’t do that in a grocery store,” he said.

COVID has wreaked havoc on supply chains and put local food at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Cromwell said she was pleased with the attendance at PROtein Day and said she broke the previous attendance record.

While the day put the spotlight on meat producers, Cromwell said it really benefits everyone in the market.

“Someone new will come in because they wanted to buy bacon and end up buying corn on the cob too,” she said.

The Black Hills Farmers Market is held every Saturday and Wednesday near Rapid Spa on East Omaha Street in Rapid City.

Melisa Goss, deputy editor of the Tri-State Neighbor, is a South Dakota farmer whose love of travel has allowed her to see the vital impact of agriculture around the world, from America’s heartland to the rice paddies of Southeast Asia and many places in between. She moved to Hartford with her husband, daughter and miniature schnauzer. You can reach her at [email protected]

James V. Payne