Vanguard Partnership: Fruit Of The Coop

The chickens rule the roost at this small acreage between Sioux Falls and Brandon.

“We don’t use any chemicals of any kind on our product,” said Stephanie Peterson, who owns the business Fruit of the Coop. “We use all organic and non-GMO feed for the birds, and it’s all been raised locally.”

Fruit of the Coop sells its eggs to retailers and area restaurants, including a strong partnership with Vanguard Hospitality.

The owners of Grille 26, Minervas in downtown Sioux Falls and Morrie’s Steakhouse use the eggs in everything from lasagna noodles to sauces and baking.

“The first thing you notice when you use one of Stephanie’s eggs is what it brings for texture and flavor,” Vanguard chief operating officer Tim Meagher said. “It’s unmatchable.”

Fruit of the Coop is one of a growing number of local partnerships between Vanguard and area producers, creating a support network between the agriculture and restaurant community that also creates a lot of education, Meagher said.

“We’re choosing producers who are also taking care of the land, raising the healthiest animals or produce possible, and through that we’re also learning,” he said.

Working with Vanguard, “they really get the whole mission and idea of what it means to support community and grow community,” Peterson said. “It’s really important to build a relationship with a restaurant and know they’ll continue to buy from you.”