Crop Watcher: Great community support for new farm stand | Agriculture

Michelle Grosek poses with bean plants in front of Bear Butte in Sturgis, South Dakota.

We have had a very busy couple weeks at Bear Butte Gardens through mid July!

Our rainfall has been spotty at a monthly total of 2.45 inches so far, according to our weather station. The temps have been on the warmer side in the mid 80s to high 90s. We have also been noticing a very slight haze of smoke some days from distant forest fires. The nighttime skies have been very clear, making for excellent star gazing, comet watching and planet tracking.

We had a young guy named Max stay with us for about a week through the WWOOF USA program. WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms and the organization’s mission is “part of a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farmers, promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.” Individuals who sign up to be WWOOFers travel from farm-to-farm within the program to work for room and board and gain experience in various farming practices. We are not actually registered with the WWOOF program, but have benefitted from it a couple times over the past years when working participants needed a farm to work on for a few days in between farms they had already scheduled in this region.

This particular WWOOFer had recently received his degree in economics at a college in Chicago, but his new job start date was postponed until next January due to COVID. He decided he wanted to travel and see the country a bit, but also gain some work experiences, so signed up for the program. It was very good timing having him visit us, as we were preparing our new farm stand and commercial kitchen facility for a grand opening event and Max was able to do some much needed clearing out of finished vegetation in the high tunnel greenhouse while we prepped our new facility.

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