Agriculture is at the core of our community. Brookings is known for its rural surroundings and those who put food on our tables. This itinerary is all about the local gems in our community which pride themselves on rural living and the farm-to-table experience.
Rural Living Experiences
In and around Brookings, we have tons of places to explore rural living. Stay in town or head a short way down Highway 14 to get a full feeling of what living and working on the prairie is like.
South Dakota State University is an agricultural college… and for good reason. Your first and second stops should be the at the SDSU Dairy Bar and Meat Lab. Operated separately, but located near each other, these are two experiences you cannot miss out on. You will want to call ahead and set up tours at both locations. Don’t forget to get a sweet treat or buy a freezer full on the way out.
While on campus head to the Agricultural Heritage Museum. This museum has fun for all ages and exhibits every aspect of rural living. Whether you want to learn about rural electricity or help teach your child to milk a cow the Agricultural Heritage Museum has it all.
Find more pioneer history a short five miles away in Volga, SD. The Brookings County Museum has collected artifacts about the area for over 80 years. This museum is run by volunteers and is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day so a call ahead is recommended.
Farm to Table
Brookings has many local restaurants serving up wonderful offerings you will not find anywhere else. Some special places take local to a whole new level.
What started as a small gas station café has grown into the oldest full-service restaurant in Brookings and has been in the same family for nearly half a century. The Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge features items unique to South Dakota including pheasant salad wraps, locally sourced lamb dishes, and much more. Make sure to try the South Dakota Bison Filet with Wojapi Sauce when you stop. Made from grass-fed local beef wrapped in bacon and topped with a native inspired sauce this burger will leave your tastebuds happy.
During the Summer there is a special hidden gem located right outside of Brookings. Good Roots Farm & Gardens hosts pizza nights every Sunday. The rustic pizzas are made using organic vegetables grown right on the farm. Bring your own chair (or blanket) and get ready for a night of live music and a full stomach. If you are planning a trip to Good Roots Farm, make sure to pre-order your pizza ahead of time on their Facebook Page.
Every South Dakota tourist is looking for one thing at a restaurant. Chislic. Get your chislic fix at Cubby’s Sports Bar & Grill. This local establishment is in the heart of downtown and a classic Brookings stop. Better yet, enjoy your chislic on the rooftop patio.
If shopping for local products is your hobby, head downtown to check out The Ugly Duckling + Farmhouse Fancy. Located in the same building, this store values small businesses and offers local vendors to use their space as a place to sell art in many forms.
Head next door to The Carrot Seed Co. and Honeycomb Gifts. These stores elevate the shopping experience of Brookings by offering a wide variety of goods. Owned by the same family, these businesses offer a niche form of shopping and add in local artisan goods when possible.
The South Dakota Art Museum gift shop is full of local finds of all kinds. This gift shop makes the perfect stop after visiting an attraction and is sure to have something for everyone including handmade jewelry, art prints and lots of books about living on the prairie.
When the sun starts to shine so do local growers and farms in and around Brookings.
Fresh produce takes over the streets at the Brookings Farmer’s Market every Saturday between May and October. The market sets up near the Public Library and offers something new and delicious each week. Some of the favorite offerings come from vendors like Cottleston Bread, Quail Honey, Gilkerson Gardens and many more.
If a green thumb is your thing head east of town to Sanderson Gardens. This garden is based off the honor system. You pick and pay yourself right on the farm. Don’t forget your bucket or choice of container to keep all your findings in. With the slogan “New food at used prices,” you cannot go wrong.
What happens when a horticulturist and an agroecologist decide to start a business with honeybees and live plants? The Little Shire Farm located in Aurora, is a family farm which makes raw & infused honey, beeswax candles, and grows 350 – 600 different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Get a tour of the farm and a detailed look at their offerings by calling ahead and setting up a time to arrive. If you are not able to make it to the farm, you can find them at three different farmer’s markets including Brookings, Sioux Falls and Lake Lorraine throughout the summer and 15 stores in the area.