'Twilight meeting' in Pulaski County to highlight farming
University of Illinois Extension is teaming up with area farmers to provide four evening “twilight meetings.”
The goal of the evenings is to highlight and demonstrate diverse farming enterprises across Southern Illinois.
Organizers said that anyone who is involved in, or interested in, local food production is encouraged and invited to attend.
Jerry P. and Lisa D. Thurston and their family of Spring Valley Farm are scheduled to host the third twilight meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. Monday, July 18.
University of Illinois Extension and Spring Valley Farm will be joined by Southern FS as a cosponsor for the meeting.
Spring Valley Farm, located in rural Pulaski County, is a fourth-generation family farm.
The farm produces vegetables, grapes, traditional row crops, hogs and cattle.
In 2011, the portion of the farm where produce is raised was designated a Centennial Farm.
Having been out of the wholesale vegetable business for a number of years, Spring Valley began selling to Schnuck’s stores in Cape Girardeau and Carbondale in 2006.
Spring Valley has expanded its business with Schnuck’s each year since, and last year brokered with Robinson Fresh, making their produce available in Walmart stores as well.
In 2015, Spring Valley Farm passed its first GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) audit, certifying the farm for all types of peppers, squash and eggplant.
Over the course of the evening, Jerry and Lisa will share their experiences in producing, marketing, packing and shipping vegetable crops.
Those who attend will have an opportunity to tour the farm's production fields and packing shed.
Spring Valley Farm markets 99 percent of its products on the wholesale market, with a small fraction supplying the Old General Store Farm Market and Grocery in Pulaski.
Clay Mitchell, with Robinson Fresh, is scheduled to discuss marketing opportunities for Southern Illinois growers, as well as ways his company supports growers who want to receive GAPs certification.
Spring Valley Farm is located at 265 E. Commercial in Pulaski.
U of I Extension shared the following directions to the farm:
From Ullin, head south on old Highway 51 to Pulaski. At the south edge of Pulaski turn right (west) on to West Commercial Ave. Continue on across the railroad tracks (turns into Fairground Road) straight for 1.5 miles to the farm.
The program is provided at no cost, but organizers said that preregistration is appreciated. Registration is available online at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/ghhpsw/ or by calling 618-382-2662 no later than Friday, July 15.