We all know that Wisconsin is “America’s Dairyland” – it even says so on our license plates. But did you ever stop and think about just how many products, in addition to dairy, Wisconsin is responsible for? These farms, located in each part of this great state, are family-run and very successful, giving us a reminder of just how impressive Wisconsin’s land, animals and people really are.
- Alsum Sweetcorn – RandolphIf you’ve ever been to the Dane County Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, you’ve likely seen Scott, Lona and their five children – the family that runs Alsum Sweetcorn. What was once a dairy farm gradually began shifting to a full-blown vegetable farm in 1976, when Scott’s dad, Ken, got wind of the new farmers’ market in Madison and decided to plant sweetcorn to sell there. While summer farmers’ markets headline fresh sweetcorn, don’t forget to stop by during the autumn when pumpkins, squash and gourds are offered. Frozen sweetcorn is also available at several grocers in Madison, Milwaukee and Sheboygan.
- Bayfield Apple Company – Bayfield Bayfield Apple Company is an organically-managed tree fruit and berry orchard which grows apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, currants, cherries and peaches and turns them into unique and savory jams, jellies, fruit butters, fruit mustards and ciders. Purchase all of these products at their on-site Orchard Store, which also offers various locally-grown products such as honey, wild rice, apple brats, soy candles, gourmet coffee, and maple syrup.
- Cook’s Woods – Fennimore
Cook’s Woods, a Christmas tree farm in the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin, sells Christmas trees, wreaths and garland during the winter season, and maple syrup year-round by appointment. Maple syrup is made and bottled right on the farm and can be purchased in glass bottles ranging from 8 ounces to 1 gallon. Wreaths and garland are all made by hand on the farm, allowing each product to be unique from the others. Christmas trees at Cook’s Woods, selected and cut by customers, come in White Pine, Scotch Pine, Balsam and Canaan Fir, and Frasier Fir. Start a family tradition and head to Cook’s Woods this season.
- Coon Creek Family Farm – MondoviCoon Creek Family Farm, located just 11 miles south of Eau Claire, is dedicated to producing healthy and delicious food for the local community. From vegetables, including tomatoes, kale, sweet peppers, zucchini, squash and pumpkins, to pasture poultry, eggs and homemade soap, Coon Creek provides a variety of products for the community. The farm takes pride in its organic practices, providing a better life for the chickens and a healthier, tastier product for your table. Lucy’s Soaps, handcrafted right on the family farm using Alpine dairy goats’ milk, are sold at local shops, on the farm by appointment, and on Etsy.
- Patz Maple & Honey Farms – PoundWhat began as Clifford and Nancy Patz’s hobby with their sons has turned into a huge business venture, making and selling syrup, honey, candy, pancake mix and beeswax products. Their backyard syrup pan many years ago has turned into 17,000 tap buckets, and their ten experimental bee hives have evolved into 350 beehives kept in school buses. The Patz family has since taken their business on the road; for the past 15 years they’ve appeared in many shows, catalogs and websites, offering their high-quality and healthy products to the public. Check out their vast variety of products and place an order online or over the phone.
- Sassy Cow Creamery – ColumbusThe Sassy Cow Creamery is a milk bottling business and store open to the public, located between the two dairy herds (traditional and organic) that contribute to it. Owned and operated by brothers James and Robert Baerwolf and their families, who are third-generation farmers on the land that their grandfather purchased in 1946, Sassy Cow Creamery sells milk, ice cream, dairy products and other local products right in the store, which is open 7 days a week. Visitors can view the milk bottling and cheesemaking process through the large viewing windows in the store, and enjoy a picnic lunch and dessert under their large park shelter.
- Valley View Emus – FennimoreA small, woman-owned family farm, Valley View Emus offers high-quality emu oil products, including emu oil shampoo, emu oil soaps, emu lotions, emu pet care, emu craft products and emu meats. Its owner, Betty Lou Cauffman, began Valley View Emus in an effort to share the many health and wellness benefits that emu products provide. The farm began in 1994 with just a few emus, and with the help of many people, Betty Lou is now raising a flock of more than 100 birds. The various products can be purchased at an on-farm store, open 7 days a week by appointment, as well as at the Dane County Farmers Market and on the farm’s website.
- Wetherby Cranberry Company – Warrens
Wetherby Cranberry Company is located in the heart of cranberry country in a state that produces 60% of the world’s cranberries. Its owners, Jim and Nodji Van Wychen, are third generation growers who work alongside their son, Henry, and son-in-law, Michael. With the help of their three other children and eight grandchildren, Jim and Nodji are proud to call this a truly family-owned and operated marsh. The farm was founded in 1903 and has had a presence selling their cranberries since 1973, the first year of the famous Warrens Annual Cranberry Festival. On the first Saturday of October, Wetherby hosts their annual “Harvest Day” where local schools, travel groups and families can visit the marsh and learn about the harvesting process. From late September through Thanksgiving, Wetherby’s fresh fruit, as well as homemade wine and dried cranberries, can be purchased at the marsh or shipped throughout the United States.
The Wisconsin Ag Tourism Association is a member of Something Special from Wisconsin™ is a trademarked program administered by the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection since 1983. Every dollar spent on Something Special from Wisconsin™ products and services supports local farmers, food processors, entrepreneurs, our communities and livelihood, as well as the Wisconsin way of life. Something Special from Wisconsin™ products are unique and of the highest quality, making them perfect for gift-giving, special occasions and every day!
Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Having grown up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. She enjoys nothing more than catching a Packers, Brewers or Badgers game, indulging in a cheese curd or 12, and traveling from corner to corner of this great state.