You see them every weekend at market. A variation of the crew. It might be Lindy and Matt. It could be Lindy, Matt, and Crayton. Sometimes, Debby comes along as well. This is truly a family affair at B&G Produce.
It all started in February 2009. Matt and Lindy met Julie at a local foods conference in Brookings. Interested in starting a farmers’ market, they began a conversation. All three were mainly interested in seeing a market start in Pierre, but none of them planned to be vendors.
But that triggered an idea. Matt and Lindy thought maybe they could be vendors. So, within a couple weeks of Matt and Lindy getting married in May 2009, they also embarked as one of three vendors at the first Capital City Farmers’ Market.
Fast forward 8 seasons later, they have quit their full-time jobs to pursue gardening. They hope the local citizens and restaurants will support their venture so they can continue doing what they love.
Lindy had grown up on the farm near Blunt, where they now have about 2 acres of garden within the 80 acres Crayton and Debby own. Growing up, she picked green beans from the garden just outside her front door and her mom, Debby, made homemade meals nightly. Many included beef or chicken raised by Crayton and vegetables from the garden.
Matt’s story is a little different. He’s a city boy. Once, early on in his relationship with Lindy, he helped move farm equipment for an auction. He was driving a pickup with a trailer. Someone told him to park it by the combine. He responded “Ok. Which one is the combine?”
Matt is a trained chef and has a masterful way with food. Lindy says he can look in the refrigerator and make a delicious meal with his findings. But, when she looks in the fridge, says there’s nothing to eat. Matt’s mom, Linda, jokes that he learned to cook out of necessity because she is not a cook herself. Whatever the reason, Matt’s family all reap the benefits of his endless talent.
They expanded on their product line this season. In the past, Debby had baked her famous rustic bread, made body polish, and created beautiful flower arrangements. This year, they added fresh roasted coffee beans, farm eggs, buttermilk biscuits, organic granola, pesto, dried herbs, bath salts, and canned goods. Plus, they have a couple more surprises for this year.
B&G Produce also reintroduced their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this year. Customers pre-pay for weekly produce baskets picked up once a week. This year, they opted for a 10-week cycle which started on July 5. Lindy says they sent out an email in January and planned to accept 12 participants. It sold out within 6 hours and they started a waiting list. After a little thought, they decided to add the waiting list and now have 21 participants!
They are currently selling produce to a few restaurants in town. Weekly produce deliveries are going to RedRossa Italian Grille. La Minestra, Dandy Lion Coffeehouse, and Pure Bliss also order produce fairly regularly. Matt and Lindy have talked with a couple other restaurants and hope to expand this business next year. Lindy says she’d love to see local restaurants providing local food, even if it’s a little bit. “Just a little local food, will generate money for the local farmers, lower pollution for food traveling across the country, and remind customers that they can get amazing food, in season, locally grown.”
“This time of year, everyone should be shopping local farmers’ markets or harvesting out of their own gardens, if they are lucky enough to have one,” says Lindy. “Fresh food is simply better than food that’s been sitting for who knows how long. Do us a favor. Try a store-bought potato and a fresh garden potato. The taste difference is incredible. And, that’s just a potato! Imagine a carrot or a head of lettuce or a green pepper! Each time someone buys something at our market stand, it’s another win for local food. Every green bean counts.”