New deli & market helps customers know the story of their food

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 12:52 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines pursuing sustainability as “creating and maintaining the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.”

Farms, businesses, even restaurants have hopped on the sustainability train. In Rapid City, a new deli and market is doing so by helping customers know the story of their food.

Know the story of your food. This is the mission statement, even the life motto for the Bashful Bison restaurant and its staff. And one the owner has kept in his back pocket for decades.

“Many, many years ago when I was a culinary student, over in Mitchell Technical College, part of what we did was to write a menu and a concept for a business, and I wrote a business plan based on utilizing local ingredients and making everything from scratch,” said Scott Brinker the owner of the Bashful Bison. “I kept in mind by keeping the food fresh, knowing the story of my food: meaning knowing where it came from, how it was grown, how it was transported, who was involved with it.”

From the field, to the kitchen, to the plate; Executive Chef Peter Schmidt’s enthusiasm for the food is contagious.

“We try to deal with local farmers and ranchers as much as possible,” said Schmidt. “Not that Safeway’s not down the street and they have good produce, we want to support the little guy though. We’re the little guy. It’s symbiosis, them growing the stuff and I get to utilize all this fresh stuff.”

“We can actually talk to each other and see exactly what they want,” said Alan Carner, the owner of Black Hills Mushrooms. “We don’t know how much they’re going to use every week so we can determine on a weekly basis what’s needed. The food waste is very minimal and just communication is fantastic.”

“It was like an adventure for me, I must be honest. Getting to meet everybody that delivered, a lot of times it would be the owner of the company or the farm or ranch. Super neat. You get to know these people.”

People who live and grow in the community.

“My major supplier is Sturgis Meats through Evergreen Ranch,” continued Brinker. “So all of our beef, our bison, our pork comes from Sturgis Meats. I have constant contact with Cindy, Cindy Tolle is the owner of Sturgis Meats and Evergreen Ranch. Joe from Odessa Farms, that’s out by Spearfish, he raises all of our chickens for us. All of our honey is local, I’ve got a deal with Bell Valley Ancient Grains now. It’s all sustainable according to my definition. It’s kind of a neat thing. It’s the pure essence of knowing the story of your food when you know the farmer, you know where it’s grown. I get to go see the plants while they’re growing, I get to go see the cows while they’re out grazing.”

The Bashful Bison has been open for less than a year but its menu is packed with local, sustainable options.

“That’s the part that’s most important to me. That’s the most driving force of everything that I do here at the Bashful Bison; knowing the story, where does it come from.”