Monday, September 25, 2006

Why Not?

“It all started when our school superintendent asked, ‘What is the state dessert for South Dakota?” Wanda Jundt, Executive Director of the Eureka Community Development Company, was explaining how her small town of 1,101 in rural SD got started trying to get the locally produced kutchen, a custard dessert from the town’s Russian/German heritage, named the state dessert.

“We went down to Pierre but couldn’t get them to name it the state dessert, so we went down again the next year with even more kutchen and got them to name it the state dessert of South Dakota in 2000.

Eureka now has three bakeries that make kutchen and other sweets: Eureka Bakery; Prairie Treasures and Eureka Kuchen Factory. The Kuchen Factory is owned by a local farm wife and a retired NYC Pathologist who retired to Eureka. Most of their business is over the web, selling products like cheese buttons, kraut strudels and pfferenuse cookies.
Eureka is the hometown of Al Neuharth, the former publisher of Gannett and founder of USA Today. He has come back home, bought several houses and visits often with his young family from his home in Coco Beach, FL.

The town was originally known as St. Petersburg and for 15 years from 1887 to 1902 was the largest primary wheat market in the world. In 1897, two-thirds of the world’s wheat crop was shipped from Eureka.

For a small town, Eureka is very impressive. They also have a program aimed at their alumni to lure them home and have a four color brochure on the seventeen home based crafters in the town including jewelry makers, quilters, framing, iron works, sculptures and others.

I hope that I can get a chance to visit Eureka soon.

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