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Taste the goodness: Huron Farmers Market brings freshness home

Posted: Thursday, Jun 20th, 2013

Hilda Arbeiter stands by her display of jam and other products at her booth at the Huron Farmers Market Tuesday evening in the parking lot area of the former Extension building on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds. In the next photo, Caleb Jesser and Judi Larson speak with customers strolling along to see the tables of fresh produce, honey, baked goods and more. And next, these bell peppers were among produce brought to the Huron Farmers Market Tuesday evening by Ben North. PHOTOS BY SHANNON MARVEL/PLAINSMAN

The ongoing debate between which is better — organic or chemically treated produce — still leaves many consumers wondering if their produce’s labels and costs are completely honest or construed for profit. The highly publicized debate over Monsanto, a company that uses a new type of chemical on crops, has many Americans looking for produce at a reasonable price while knowing how it was grown.

Huron’s Farmers Market offers an array of locally grown or prepared items at very reasonable prices, a seasonal solution to many of consumers’ concerns. Hilda Arbeiter of Huron sells several different types of jams, which are prepared when supplies are low, and breads, which are baked the day before they are sold at the market. “I have eggs on the farm that I use in the bread,” said Arbeiter. “We use the cantaloupe we raise on the farm but the other stuff, like the nuts, I have to buy,” said Arbeiter, referring to the cantaloupe bread, one of many unique items for sale, which she said tasted “similar to sweet zucchini bread.”

Judi Reilly, of Backyard Acres in Wolsey, said the difference between her produce and the produce one might find at a grocery store is being able to honestly tell the consumer what goes into the produce. “I know what goes into them and I don’t use chemicals, and the eggs are from free-range chickens,” said Reilly.

One of Reilly’s items, her jalapeno jelly made from homegrown jalapenos, was one of the more unique items available Tuesday afternoon. Reilly said the jelly “tastes great with goat cheese or cream cheese on a cracker” but added, “the jalapeno jelly is an acquired taste but a lot of folks really like it.”

Reilly also grows habanero peppers and wild plums which she plans to sell in upcoming farmers markets.

Denise Larson, of Larson’s Country Rainbow, offered cabbages, cauliflower, asparagus, and lettuce heads at her booth, all of which were grown free of any chemicals on Larson’s farm. Growing produce free of chemicals and pesticides requires experience and knowledge on gardening, knowing what techniques work and other natural remedies. “I’ve been gardening for 35 years,” said Larson of how she is able to successfully grow produce without the help of chemicals, adding, “What I’m going to sell is going to be my best product. I want my customers to have the best of my produce.”

Caleb Jesser of Fairacre Farm had his mother’s baked goods, his family’s fresh produce, and honey from the fourteen honey bee hives on Jesser’s parents’ property for sale as well. His mother’s porridge bread was said to be the most popular item from the Fairacre Farm. “We’ll have the porridge bread and caramel rolls for sale on Saturday,” said Jesser.

Ben North of Huron, who owns a 40-foot by 76-foot greenhouse, offered different varieties of cucumbers, baskets of fresh green beans, and green bell peppers at Tuesday’s market, but said much of his produce was not ready to sell yet as a result of recent weather. “My plants are about two weeks behind due to the rain and cloudy weather conditions,” said North. “But the tomatoes are a good size,” which North estimated to be about the size of a softball. Once all the vegetables are ready to be picked, North will make salsa to be sold at future markets.

Although each booth offered different types of produce all were grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides and are picked when ready, not before as are most produce from grocery stores so they don’t overripen during transportation. The prices were lower than those at a grocery store as well, so much so that a mere $20 will buy a grocery bag full of fresh produce and homemade products.

The Farmers Market is held from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday and Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the former Extension building parking lot at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue Southwest, on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.

For the complete article see the 06-19-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-19-2013 paper.

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