Prairie Yard and Garden: Glory Garden
(gentle music) - When I grew up on the farm, you had to be careful and watch where you step because our yard was part of where the cows and chickens roamed, ate and you know what else. But we were lucky because we ate fresh food and knew where it all came from. Nowadays, that is not the case for most people.
Our guest today is doing her very best to change that for the people in her area. Come join me as we find out more about Glory Garden and we don't even have to be careful where we step. - [Presenter] Funding for Prairie Yard and Garden is provided by Heartland Motor Company, providing service to Minnesota and the Dakotas for over 30 years in the heart of truck country. Heartland Motor Company, we have your best interest at heart.
Farmer's Mutual Telephone Company and Better Way to Telephone cooperative, proud to be powering Acira. Pioneers in bringing state of the art technology to our rural communities. Mark and Margaret, Jaykal, Jolene, in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a non-profit rural education retreat center in a beautiful Prairie setting near Windom Minnesota. And by Friends, a Prairie Yard and Garden, a community of supporters like you who engage in the longterm growth of this series. To become a friend of Prairie Yard and Garden, visit pioneer.org/pyg.
(gentle music) - Last year Prairie Yard and Garden visited Hack Berry Hallow and learned about the apples, mushrooms and other products made by Jerry Ward. While we were there Anna Anderson happened to stop in to pick up produce for her business Glory Garden. It was so fun to visit with her and I just had to find out more.
She said, "Come for a visit." So we packed up the Prairie Yard and Garden cameras, crew, and here we are to learn. Welcome, Anna.
- Hi, thank you for having me. - Anna, tell us about yourself and your background. - So we moved out to the country to this property when I was about 14. My dad has always been a small business owner and entrepreneur. And I grew up working with him on his business and learning about serving customers and the work ethic that it took. And I think that kind of planted a seed in my mind of the idea of running a home business, working for myself and the joy and the challenge that that can be.
And I think that's part of what lead me into what I do now. - How did Glory Garden come about? - Well, when I graduated high school, the spring that I graduated I started my garden business and I had been gardening throughout my teenage years. I really enjoyed working outside and I just thought if I can make money doing what I love, I would love to be able to do that. I would love to make a business out of gardening and just sell the produce that I grew. So I started my business about eight years ago.
And originally I was growing everything that I sold. So I had a very large garden. I was growing as wide a variety as I possibly could to offer my customers a wide variety of produce. And so that's how I started out. I experimented with different ways of marketing and selling it and getting it to the customer.
And eventually what I came up with was a model of selling my produce on my website. I wanted to do it online and then deliver it to customers in Sioux Falls to be able to provide them a really convenient way to buy produce. And an alternative to either going to the farmer's market and an alternative to CSAs which stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
It's a subscription veggie box. And I found that allowing my customers to order online, and then pick up at a drop site. A lot of people tell me that that's really convenient for them, it works with their busy lifestyle and they really appreciate that. And then a couple of years ago I started connecting with other local farmers and meeting them, talking with them.
One of them being Jerry Ward. And I just discovered, wow, they do such an amazing job growing. Some of them had green houses, some of them were-- They had more heavy equipment than I had for digging potatoes and things like that. And so it made sense, that wow, I thought that if I could partner with them, I think I could continue to grow the business.
I could bring even more variety to my customers and then by allowing them to do the growing, it would free up me to do the selling, the marketing and the customer service, which is what I really enjoy. - How did you set up your website? - So the website I built myself. I don't have any background in it. But websites are very user friendly, I guess.
Especially the one that I use. - [Mary] Who keeps track of the orders and filling them? - All the orders that I receive come in through my website. And so my website is automatically recording the sales and the orders and then it gives me a report of what I have sold. And then I use that sales report to contact each of my producers and let them know this is the amount that I need from you that we sold.
This is the amount that I need from you for each of your items. - Do you provide product just in the summertime or all year around? - Up until last year I usually only had about a 20 week season during the summer. But the winter of 2020, 2021, I started offering year round deliveries. So I currently right now have weekly deliveries May through October and then monthly deliveries November through April. Product is a little bit more limited but during the winter I have eggs, meat, micro greens, mushrooms, and storage crops, vegetables that can store. So potatoes, onions, carrots.
We also have honey that's available year round and dried goods like beans and wheat and corn. - Do you have employees or staff to help you with all of this? - Right now I just have one employee that works for me. His name is Sam and he's just a great help. My family also kicks in a lot as well, on an as needed basis, depending on the day, which is very helpful.
- And you have a child too. So do you take her along with you? - She does come out with me to work and thankfully it's kinda nice, I have onsite daycare which is my mom, her grammy and also her other grandparents take care of her a lot too. So yeah, it's really nice to have her with me when I want, but also to have babysitting available when I need it. - Sam, how long have you worked here for Glory Garden? - Three years now. This will be my third. I got started and I just fell in love with the workplace and my boss, Anna.
And really liked coming out and making some money. - So how many hours a week do you work? - I work around eight if you count delivery. - [Mary] So you go along out and help with that part too? - Yes. - And do you actually do work here at Glory Garden too? - Yes, I bag things in the shed and I help package and organize things and also I help pack the orders when we're about to deliver.
- So when people bring things in, how do you do that? - We bag it into a certain weight and we use plastic baggies for most of the things. We put it in a cardboard box and I stick the name label on it and then we send it off to the drop site. - So do you think this might end up leading to a career? - Possibly. I'm not sure. - [Mary] You enjoy horticulture things, though? - Yes, I enjoy growing things and learning about plants and food.
I like eating too. (laughing) - Well, thanks so much for taking a few minutes and visiting with us too. - Yeah, you're welcome. (light upbeat music) - When the leaves turned red, orange and yellow, and chilly winds come whipping across our state from the North, that's the best time to reach for a cozy wool sweater or a scarf.
When you think of good wool fiber, maybe you picture sheep on stony cliffs in Scotland, or beautiful alpacas in the mountains of Peru. But we have plenty of high quality local wool available right here in Minnesota. Today I'm at Shepherd's Bay Farm in Alexandria to talk with Kathy Sletto who raises sheep, llamas and rabbits with her husband to produce local fibers and make several beautiful handy crafts, which they sell online. - Right now about 20-some sheep.
Normally we have between probably 30 to 50 sheep. Shetland mostly. And I've got close to 40 Angora rabbits that we raise for fiber.
And three guard llamas. We sell a lot of it to hand spinners and weavers. Probably the most of our raw wool is sold to people that spin it or weave it and then what we don't sell, that way we send it to a small mill and it's spun into yarn. I think it's important to know where the wool comes from. A lot of people that even when we sell it down in the twin cities, they come out to the farm to visit. They like to see the animals that it came from, they like to see how the animals are raised.
It's nice that they're out on pasture where it's not a confinement operation. They live a pretty natural life. We've been breeding sheep for close to 25 years and we keep the lambs of the use that have the nicest wool, so we've been building our flock for a long time. Just for wool quality. - So if you're a crafter, or looking to learn more about making clothes with wool, you only need to look around our backyard.
For more great ideas on local fiber, please go to minnesotagrown.com for a link to Sheppard's Bay and for more information about the Minnesota Fiber Festival held each year in Minneapolis. Anna, how do you get your customers? - Well, a lot of customers find me by searching on the internet by Googling.
They are looking for a source of local food in Sioux Falls area. They understand the value of it and they're looking for a source for it. When my customers come to me, the feedback that I frequently get and what they're looking for is high quality food.
That's what they tell me a lot, that they really appreciate Glory Garden because of the high quality. They know that when they buy local it's much, much fresher than having it shipped all the way across the country. And that freshness really translates into quality.
It stores longer in the refrigerator. Far longer than grocery store produce. The flavor is also much different.
I think so many people know the difference between a tomato growing in your backyard or from a local farmer, compared to a tomato in the grocery store. There's a huge flavor difference. And then there's also just so much fun variety that we can get from our local area that you might not find in a grocery store. Different colors, maybe purple kale that you wouldn't typically find in a grocery store. Different colored carrots, different varieties of apples. So much fun, unique variety that you might not find in a grocery store.
- How do your customers order from you or what are their deadlines? How does that work? - My website is open for orders on a weekly basis. It opens for orders every Friday morning and then the order deadline is Monday morning. So you have the opportunity to place an order over the weekend. And then on Tuesdays is when I deliver those weekly orders that I have. So every Tuesday afternoon is my delivery day.
- So if somebody's gone on vacation, that's okay, they can just order the following week when they get back? - Yeah, they tell me it works really well for them during the summer when they travel, they can take a week off as needed and only order the amounts that they want, whether that's a very small order, a very large order, exactly what they need to feed their family. - How did you find your suppliers? - So a lot of them come to me by word of mouth, some of them contact me. Some of them I find by looking online or Facebook pages. A lot of times they'll connect me to other people that they know from the farmer's market. Right now I have about 15.
But I am always looking for new suppliers. The demand is really good right now and I would love to find more suppliers if I can. So I hope that number will grow and continue to grow.
One of them is Trevor Gillcorsen from Brookings. He has greenhouses in Brookings. And what's so great about that is that he is able to have tomatoes and cucumbers available in South Dakota from April through October.
So much earlier in the season that you would be able to have without a greenhouse. They have great flavor, and they're super high quality. He has been a great supplier to work with because he allows me to offer that variety so early in the spring.
I also enjoy working with Jerry Ward, with his orchard in Renner. He has chemical-free, no spray apples, which is great. Sometimes they're a little bit ugly, they don't look pretty because they're not sprayed, but that's okay. My customers appreciate that, that they aren't sprayed. I have a couple of different people for eggs.
Free range eggs is a really important product for us because the quality and locally raised free range eggs is world of difference from what you get in the store. - I think I saw that you actually have duck eggs too. Is that right? - Yes, we do. That's kind of a unique product for us, something that you probably won't find in a grocery store.
They have a couple of different benefits. For one thing, a one entire egg is a lot larger. About one and a half time the size of a chicken egg. The yolk is very rich and creamy and you can definitely taste the difference whether you fry it or you were to make a pudding or a custard. Duck eggs also, the white of them is different than a chicken egg and so when you bake with them, your baked goods will rise and they will be very fluffy. (upbeat music) - I have a question.
What are the reasons to grow annual flowers to attract pollinators? - So annual flowers are beloved plants here in Minnesota because they give us this instant gratification of beautiful color very early in the season. And it's a big part of our green industry as well from an economic standpoint. But why would we choose these over something else like a native plant? It's because there are still a lot of pollinator values. Pollen, nectar that come from annual flowers. So we have Rudbeckia.
This is American Gold Rush. And then we also have a profusion Zinnia. They are both great cut flowers as well.
Lots of pizazz, lots of excitement here. And pollinators are actually attracted to them. They're both in the aster family and you can see that they're very easy to do business with. They've got a wide open center, lots of access to the anthers that hold the pollen. As well as the nectarines at the base of the flower.
And they actually can get to these plants very easily and they're attracted by the color. Now these are not the only colors of zinnias. We have lots of kinds of zinnias. So any zinnia's a good choice for pollinators. We recently did an experiment with annual flowers. And looked at flowers for pollinators.
You can find it on our extension website, under our yard-and-garden page. And there we found that the zinnia envy, which is actually a green zinnia is a terrific option also and attracted lots and lots of bumblebees. So really a great flower. And then the Rudbeckias are always stellar. So that might be some of the reasons why you would choose an annual flower above a perennial flower for your landscape for pollinators. They're also really great in containers.
And again, lots of color for your garden. - [Presenter] Ask Arboretum experts have been brought to you by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. Dedicated to enriching lives through the appreciation and knowledge of plants. - Anna, do you have a road that you use to go and pick up product? - Well, for the most part it's our producer's responsibility to bring their product to us and that allows me the time to be able to package their produce. So most of them are bringing it to me in a bulk crate. So it might be 20 pounds of beans in a crate.
And then when they bring it to our farm, we're doing the individual weighing and the bagging of everything. That allows us to have really good quality control and to inspect things and sort things as we're packaging. We're able to have really consistent packaging among all of our produce and put correct labels on it and things. - Do you grow some of the product yourself? - I do, a little bit. And that's one of the huge benefits for me of working with other producers is that I get to pick and choose my favorite things to grow. Because I know that I can depend on the rest of them for a large variety.
And that frees me up to just, I focus on the marketing and the sales. But then I do enjoy growing a small amount myself. And so right now, those things that I really enjoy doing is a variety of herbs, I like sugar snap peas and I also do rhubarb as well. - [Mary] For your suppliers, do they sell only through you or do some of them go to farmer's markets also? Or how does that work? - Most of them have multiple sales channels that they're selling through. Most of them will either go to a farmer's market or they'll have their own CSA.
Maybe they'll sell wholesale to restaurants or grocery stores and that gives them stability for their own farms because they're not putting all of their eggs in one basket. (Mary laughing) Literally and figuratively. - When your suppliers bring product, then what happens after that? - Here at the farm we have a very large shed where we can receive everything in. So when it comes in, we do the sorting, we do quality control, we weigh and bag the produce and then it goes into our walk-in refrigerator. We also have a freezer here where we store our frozen meat products and that works really well. - Do people actually come to the farm to buy produce here too? - So all of the sales and purchases are made on our website.
But among our delivery options you can either choose to pick up at a drop site in Sioux Falls or you can choose to pick up your order here at the farm for farm pickup and that works for a lot of the people in our local area, Baltic, Crooks, Colton, they usually enjoy coming to the farm for farm pickup. So all of our order pickups and deliveries, it's all on Tuesday afternoons. - [Mary] Do you order any extra product to keep some on hand? So for example, like the honey that's non-perishable. Do you get extras of that? - Yes. Usually I buy a bulk amount of honey, dried goods and the things that can store, I buy a bulk amount at once, like maybe once a month or so.
And then I keep that on hand in inventory. The rest of the produce comes in on a weekly basis. So that it's fresh. It usually comes the day before or the day of deliveries.
- [Mary] How many drop sites do you have? - We have seven different locations in Sioux Falls to pick up at, or you can pick up at the farm. I usually leave the farm for my route at about 02:45 and I arrive back here at 5:00 o'clock. So I stop at those seven drop sites during that time. And for the customer, on their end, each drop site has about roughly a two hour window where they can stop by that drop site and pick up their order. Most of my drop sites are on my customers' front porches.
I have several very generous and gracious customers that have volunteered to be drop site hosts. And I leave the orders on their front porches and my other customers are free to stop by within about a two hour window to pick up their order off the front porch. So they aren't refrigerated while they're sitting there for just a short amount of time, one to two hours.
For more heat sensitive products we use insulated box liners inside of our boxes and that helps to keep the meat frozen or the cold items cold while they're waiting to be picked up during that short amount of time. All of our orders are packed in reusable cardboard boxes. Each box has the customer's name on it. So that when they arrive at the drop site, it's super easy to find the order that's theirs.
They open the box up, they take the items out and put them in their own reusable shopping bag, which we ask them to bring and then they leave the box at the drop site and we're able to continue reusing that box. We try to reuse as much of our packages as is feasible and safe and sanitary. And that's just to help keep costs low for our customers. But then also just to reduce the amount of waste. We try to recycle as much as we can.
- Do the hold sites get compensated? - I really appreciate my drop site hosts and they are just simply gracious volunteers that help in supporting the mission of Glory Garden. - How do your customers pay for the product? - When they place the order online they pay with a credit card when they check out. - Do they have membership fees at all? - Nope, Glory Garden has no membership fees. You simply pay for the product you order and then if you're picking up at a drop site in Sioux Falls there's a two dollar delivery fee. - Do you notify people that their order is going to be there, or do you rely on them to remember, or how does that work? - So once they place an order they get an email confirmation of that order and I ask them to set a reminder on their phone or make a note in their calendar, or whatever is helpful for them to remember to get it the next Tuesday when it's time to pick up. - When you do deliveries, do you use a special truck or a vehicle? - Right now we're able to fit everything in my Yukon SUV.
For right now that works. I hope someday to be able to grow and then maybe we'll need a trailer, a van, or something like that. - That was my next question, yes. - Are you accepting more customers or orders? - Absolutely. We are always looking for more families that we can serve. We really want it to be easy and convenient for families in our area to be able to shop locally.
That's our goal and our mission is we want to serve people. And yes, we have room to grow. I want to continue to find more producers to meet the demand. And I'm always seeking new customers who are committed to buying local and want to support local farmers. - You also do a blog or offer recipes too, don't you? - Yeah, I really enjoy cooking. I enjoy feeding my family healthy home cooked meals with just simple ingredients.
But really ending up with delicious flavors with different herbs, trying new things. And so I love to share that with my customers. I want to be able to teach them how to try new vegetables that they haven't tried before.
And also, I'm married now, I have a husband, I have a toddler, I have a new baby on the way and so I've really had to simplify my recipes and figure out how can I make this dish the most delicious that it can possibly be with the least amount of effort. And so that's something that I'm passionate about sharing is how can we make these delicious meals but not be spending all day in the kitchen. And so that's the focus of a lot of my recipes.
- Do you have a future plan for Glory Garden? - We hope to continue to grow it. We want to be able to partner with more producers. I am always looking for new products and new things that we can source in our local area.
For example, I didn't know we could grow black beans and pinto beans in South Dakota. I did not know that I would be able to find a farmer for that. So I wanna continue to find more of those products. What other things can we grow in South Dakota and be able to provide for our customers.
I wanna continue to expand the variety that we provide. I wanna continue to be able to serve more customers and as the business grows and as my kids get older, I look forward to be able to involve them in the business just like I was involved in my dad's business growing up. I wanna be able to work together as a family with my husband and to be able to teach my kids that work ethic and to be able to spend time with them.
- Thank you so very much for letting us come our and learn about Glory Garden. This has been wonderful. - Thank you for visiting, I really appreciate it. (gentle music) - [Presenter] Funding for Prairie Yard and Garden is provided by Heartland Motor Company, providing service to Minnesota and the Dakotas for over 30 years in the heart of truck country.
Heartland Motor Company, we have your best interest at heart. Farmer's Mutual Telephone Company and Better Way to Telephone Cooperative, proud to be powering Acira. Pioneers in bringing state of the art technology to our rural communities. Mark and Margaret, Jaykal, Jolene, in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a non-profit rural education retreat center in a beautiful Prairie setting near Windom Minnesota. And by Friends, a Prairie Yard and Garden, a community of supporters like you who engage in the longterm growth of this series. To become a friend of Prairie Yard and Garden, visit pioneer.org/pyg.
(light upbeat music)