farm stand

We have been having much deliberation about the season, a lot of ruminating on time, finances, and the Farmers Market. Right now we’re feeling enormously swamped on the farm, too much to do, only two people, not enough time. We’ve decided we have to miss the Saturday market this summer. This has us feeling torn and disappointed, we love the market so very much. However, we’re also really looking forward to having the additional time to spend in the field and finishing projects. One of the projects we’re especially excited about is fixing up an old farm stand, which we’re planning on using for our CSA pick-up and for on-farm sales. Our hope is that we can still make our produce available to customers while being here to manage the farm, care for critters, tackle chores, etc. We’re still finishing construction/repair on the farm stand and haven’t yet set open hours. Please stay tuned. We hope that you’ll stop by the farm stand and see us! Of course, you should also hop on your bike and go visit our friends at the Farmers Market too!

A bit more about the farm stand: This farm stand was originally built by the Schuttler family in the early 50’s on their farm property at the corner of Evans Lane (then Lower Valley Rd) and Old Hwy 14.  They sold everything from honey and canned jams and jellies, eggs and herbs, potted plants, and a whole array of diverse vegetables and fruits. All seasonal and local and amazing. This is a photo courtesy of Linfred and Ron Schuttler of their parents’ stand in operation.   The Schuttler’s family farm was called Lumbago Acres, aptly named because it had a ‘crick in the back’ – before the highway was built, Spearfish Creek flowed along the north property boundary, through the back of the farm.  The stand was last used as a market space in 1976. Here is a shot of the farm stand at the original farm, circa 2013. When we first moved to Spearfish to start farming, Ron Schuttler graciously offered us the stand if we could figure out a way to move it. For three years it’s been on our to-do list (indeed it’s printed on our business card). This spring, we contacted a couple big-truck towing, fork-lifting, hauling companies to see about having it moved, but were repeatedly warned that due to rot and age, moving it would crumple it.  Jeremy and his father, Dave, were confident in its structural soundness. Jeremy had already transplanted the lilac hedge. It would move just fine. Together, the two jacked it up, corner by corner, on bricks and beams and coffee cans and marbles. Such a good team. Once it was up high enough, Dave backed a trailer underneath. Once here, in the driveway, they reversed the process jacking it down, corner by corner. Finally, setting it down on boards. Using pipes as rollers and fun trigonometry, a tiedown strap to lift a crab apple branch out of the way, a come-a-long and moxy, the farm stand found its way into place at Cycle Farm.on rollers Between time on bed prep and planting in the field, we’re working on getting the farm stand usable. The rot is cut out. It’s now sporting a fabulous new porch, with great rocking chair potential, and new roof boards. roofing Even after 40 years unused, the farm stand is in remarkably good condition. It’s such a great space. Everything so smartly laid out and built. Complete with, hinged counters, shelves, hanging produce signs, and a wonderful, little sliding glass window in the back. The counters and shelves inside are all preserved well under a generous layer of dust, spider egg casings, and cob webs. Newspaper comic strips stapled to the walls, and photos of brown trout and bass, and pretty ladies with horses tacked to the ceiling. There’s an incredible, rich history to this space, as part of Spearfish Valley agriculture and small family farming, and we feel honored and privileged to get to be a part of it.40 years of dustWe’re planning having the farm stand ready for our first CSA pick-up on Thursday (oh sheeesh). We’ll also be selling produce fresh from the farm through the farm stand all season long. Look for updates on our facebook site as to what’s available. Or check out the smart signs posted on the side of the stand. We hope you’ll come by and visit us.

An update! Since posting this, we had the chance to spend an afternoon (July 3rd) with Linfred and Ron Schuttler on the porch of the farm stand. Some of this great conversation, history of the farm stand and agriculture of Spearfish Valley was recorded in this great article from the Black Hills Pioneer, Restoring — and restocking — a Spearfish farm stand.

first CSA, midsummer hail, native bees, farmers market

The CSA season has begun, we are off and rolling! Uphill… with a headwind. There is a newsletter posted online here. Our early CSA crops were set back significantly with the snow and rain this spring and recent hail, so our first shares are meager. It feels indescribably wonderful to feed people, to share the bounty. And on the other hand, we feel absolutely cruddy sharing a weak harvest.FISRT CSA SHARE

It’s just the beginning of the season. Things are growing slowly, and that’s what they are supposed to do. This is a part of eating locally and eating seasonally. We have worked hard to select varieties and manage crop planting calendars to structure a good CSA season. But we’re also in this intimately with Nature, and when she’s cold and wet, well.. so are we. We have learned a good deal, there are certainly things we’ll plan better for next year in order to be more bountifully prepared for our early CSA shares.

Meeting with everyone last week during the pick-up was a wonderful summary to a very busy, stressful, anxious past few weeks. We are so thankful for our CSA members’ graciousness and understanding. We’re looking forward to a bountiful season with you, friends. Thanks for your patience and sticking with us.

Other updates from the farm:

On this past Saturday afternoon, we were pummeled with ping pong ball sized hail. We’d never seen anything like it. They beat the field down a fair amount, some spots/crops fared better than others. Winds from the west battered peas on the west-side of the trellising, but east-side plants were somewhat protected. Eggplants look pretty sad, but only a handful actually snapped at the stem, most just lost leaves and are already sending out new ones. Several tomatoes snapped, Jeremy set immediately to bracing them up (maybe they’ll recover?). And we have the comfort of several tomato plants in the greenhouse. The squash had only just sprouted, and as such small targets, we didn’t lose but just a few. Contrarily, the lush, leafy cabbage looks like it got in a knife fight.. or a garbage disposal.hail

So we’re feeling pretty grateful. Things are ok. We’ll have “perforated greens” for the CSA this week and hail-kissed snap peas. Ice-massaged spinach. You know, real ‘foodie’ foods. Just like Kobi beef and kopi luwak.

We were completely taken with this hedge of flowers these last couple weeks. Turns out everyone else was too. It was covered in a veil of buzzing pollinators. Flies and bees, honey bees and bubble bees. Oh so ridiculously happy. 


We’ve also been watching mud caps fill in on the solitary and mason bee homes we drilled into the fencing posts earlier this spring. If you are interested setting up homes for native pollinators – or just learning more about these important little creatures, check out The Xerces Society and this article, Farming for Bees, guidelines for providing native bee habitat on farms.native pollinator, mud capped homes

We are looking forward to this season’s Farmer’s Market in the Park, Saturday mornings (9 AM to noon in Spearfish City Park). We take our produce to market by bicycle. Please come stop by the market and say hello. Days on the farm are generally pretty quiet – we’re grateful for a chance to connect with people and see smiling faces. This past Saturday, we brought herb and flower starts, honey, mixed lettuce greens, rhubarb and parsley. Everything grown on our farm. Hope to see you at the park this summer.first farmers marketAnd lastly… many thanks, friends, for all your concern and support during our hail re-hab. Every email message, phone call, and friendly face stopping by to check in was dearly appreciated. Thank you. Our greens may be battered, but our hearts are full.

love, Trish and Jeremy