MT. PULASKI, Ill. (WCIA) — On Monday, viewers saw a report on the first anniversary of the community grocery store on the square at Mt. Pulaski, stocked with locally produced foods. In Tuesday’s Harvest Heritage, we want to introduce you to someone whose garden produce is sold at the store.
Kyle Reed had no intention of being a gardener when he grew up.
“I spent a lot of time with my grandpa in his garden shelling peas and picking sweetcorn,” said Reed. “And doing all of that. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world as a kid, so it’s another reason why it’s kind of strange that I ended up doing what I am doing.”
He rented acreage on the edge of Mt. Pulaski.
“Have about 2-and-a-half in cultivation here, so we grow a lot of what people would consider a market garden fares, there’s a lot of greens, a lot of baby root vegetables, like beets an carrots, but we also grow a lot of staples like potatoes and sweet corn,” said Reed.
And he sells at various farmers markets, restaurants and supplies the new Mt. Pulaski town grocery.
“I started thinking about how it would make a lot of sense having some kind of a produce farm that could feed directly into that. Besides the store here in town, we actually sell to the cafeteria at Zion Lutheran School in town and we also sell to the assisted living center here on the edge of town, Vonderleith,” Reed said.
So the question is, why does Reed do what he does?
“That’s a good question,” said Reed. “It honestly feels like a calling. I feel it was something that I was meant to do. That’s why I kind of feel it was a haphazard way that I ended up doing what I am doing. But it is something that I love to work with the land and I love being able to sell whole, nutritious foods to people, especially people who might not always be able to access that food.”
Employee Crystal Siltman shares that philosophy.
“It’s really great to be able to grow this food and be able to feed the people in the community surrounding us. It’s wonderful,” she said.
“And another part of that is also working with Zion church, with their summer food program,” said Reed. “And trying to get these foods that may be difficult for people to obtain based off price, and getting that food into their hands through us donating food.