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Small scale producers and vendors feel the weight of supply chain issues

From plums to peppers to everything in between, local producers use the Black Hills Farmers Market to sell to the community but supply chain issues have made that a little more difficult.
From plums to peppers to everything in between, local producers use the Black Hills Farmers...
From plums to peppers to everything in between, local producers use the Black Hills Farmers Market to sell to the community but supply chain issues have made that a little more difficult.(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 4:45 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - From issues with Mother Nature to truck driver shortages, some farmers and ranchers are struggling to produce, something we’re seeing in restaurants and on grocery store shelves.

But is the impact being felt by local, small-scale producers?

From plums to peppers to everything in between, local producers use the Black Hills Farmers Market to sell to the community but supply chain issues have made that a little more difficult.

“Because of the supply chain breakdown, we’re seeing a lot of costs go up everywhere and the cost of food is going up, our cost of materials and even smaller things like packaging is going up,” said Deidre Dealy, owner of Tobias Garden.

Tobias Garden produces a variety of vegetables but due to South Dakota’s climate, tree fruits are harder to come by and a lack of truck drivers makes the fruit even more scarce.

“We’ve had a hard time with shipping,” continued Dealy. “People aren’t wanting to ship or they aren’t shipping as much, there’s not as many drivers, the cost of gas is going up. The difficult thing about living where we do is that we’re really on the way to nowhere.”

Another vendor, Dakota Fruit Stand, doesn’t ship their products in but rather goes to the farms personally.

“You can’t get your cherries from Colorado. So I wasn’t able to start in the first of June which is when I either sell Washington cherries or Colorado cherries,’ said Garret Tenbroek, owner of Dakota Fruit Stand. “I had to wait until the end of July when the Montana cherries came out.”

But due to heat, Washington cherries melted like wax and an early freeze last October left Colorado with dead trees and no hope for fruit according to Tenbroek’s suppliers.

And although it hasn’t raised prices at Dakota Fruit Stand, it did for Tobias Garden.

“This was the first year we’ve increased our prices since we started farming in 2010,” said Dealy. “We’ve never had a price increase until this year and it’s the first year that we’ve really actually felt the need to do so.”

Regardless of supply issues, last Saturday was the busiest and most profitable Dakota Fruit Stand has seen since they started coming to the Black Hills Farmers Market in 2009.

“More people are interested in local businesses and local supply chains in general and supporting those businesses because when those things do break down,” continued Dealy. “Then we only have each other and I think that’s really becoming a reality to more people and they’re seeing the value in shopping local.”

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