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New store in Billings sells locally produced food

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 20:23:15-05

The Produce Market celebrated a soft opening on Friday night, and the owners say customers want to buy locally produced food.

The store welcomed customers on its second day of business on Saturday.

With fewer farmer's markets last year, the store provides an opportunity for local businesses to sell their goods.

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Sharli Swinehart

"Unless they have a storefront, they're looking for people to distribute their product," said Sharli Swinehart, who owns The Produce Depot with her husband Tim. "The Chuck Wagon has their store in Roberts but they were excited to work with us here in Billings because they didn't have anywhere in Billings yet, that they were selling. You know I think there's other stores in Billings that maybe sell some of these products as well. But that's really what we're focused on."

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The Swinehart family runs The Produce Market.

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"Honey, jams, jellies, pickled eggs, pickled asparagus, salsas, tea products," Sharli Swinehart said about the store's inventory. "We have a lot of items here that are obviously fresh produce. We also have a lot of other items in the store that are from Montana."

They also have a corner where they have Montana beef.

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"What's really cool about this is obviously it's grown in Montana," she said. "It's also grass fed and it's certified non GMO. It also, this is the first time I've ever seen beef that has the animal welfare approved."

"Through the certification they have someone fly out from Oregon every year to their ranch up north," Tim Swinehart said.

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Tim Swinehart

"But we love to carry it here we're the only place you can find it in Billings so it's pretty special to us to have it," Sharli said.

And they say the customers like small local businesses

"Right now, I think it's just what's happened as a result of COVID that people want to support local businesses and it's really encouraging to me," Sharli said.

While they prefer local, at this time of year, the Swineharts have to bring in produce from out of state.

They hope to eventually also sell poultry, eggs and cheese.

The Produce Market is at 1812 Grand Avenue.