Updated: Mar 18
Do you get depressed grocery shopping? Do the piles of junk food destined to clog some poor soul's heart or spike their blood sugar stress you out? Do you like me, wonder how long since that green bean was harvested, or how far it has traveled before it landed in your cart? The older I get, the more unnerving is a trip to the grocery store. I have to remind myself "not to think" while grocery shopping.
I'm stuck in the middle of this conflict. I dream of a day when I can completely live off the land yet feel drawn to the convenience of groceries which I am accustomed. There are products I like to have readily available in my kitchen that either I can't grow (lemons, limes, coffee), or I just prefer the convenience of like already ground flour and premade crackers. In my heart of hearts I'm a back-to-the-land whole food foodie, but I've become part of the modern-day culture of the industrial convenience beast so much so that when I run out of chips, I plan a trip to the store. I suppose it's a bit like yoga - constantly practicing.
I have a friend who is the coolest grocery shopper I know. He heads out every week to gather all sorts of wonderful farm-direct ingredients for his culinary adventures. He visits regular grocery stores as well, but lifts his spirit and elevates his cooking with visits to farms and small markets around our county. Sometimes, he travels alone as he procures necessary pantry staples, but he often brings an entourage of friends or family who participate in his cool style of grocery shopping. They make a day's adventure out of the excursion of visiting farms, cheese shops and little markets here and there. He's turned his grocery shopping into a form of agritourism.
We've got a batch of new chicks! You'll be able to see them in their trailer in a few more weeks. Right now they're under a heat lamp in the warm shop.
Where is this shopping space between the modern industrial beast and the nourishing folds of the "Eat Local" movement? In many small towns, farms, and country communities, that's where. But, how do I find these farms, you might wonder?
For those of you still on Facebook, I recommend searching through the listings posted on Farm Direct Wisconsin , Farm Direct Minnesota and Shop Western Wisconsin Farms. Like our farm store, these three pages were started during COVID as demand for farm direct shopping experiences exploded. For those of you who've dumped or never joined Facebook, Farm Direct Wisconsin , Shop Western Wisconsin Farms and Farm Direct Minnesota each has a website although you won't see the conversations around food that get posted to the Facebook pages.
My cool grocery shopping friend shops with us weekly here at Lake View Organic Farm then heads out to his other stops throughout the county. This type of shopping requires a little more planning as many of the farms require you order ahead. My friend probably begins his research on Monday or Tuesday, places his orders (if needed) on Wednesday or Thursday, then typically, heads out for his adventure on Saturday. Yes, it takes some practice to plan ahead, but once you learn the farms and farmers, it becomes much easier. Some of these farms have websites, some use Facebook, but some run on the old-school method of the PHONE CALL - maybe even be a landline! However you plan your culinary agritourism adventure, make sure it times out just right to enjoy a nice lunch or piece of pie at one of our local eateries.
Ok. Let's get to it. Where are these cool places my friend shops? Below is a list of stops, shops and farms all within about fifteen miles of Lake View Organic Farm. I highly recommend you explore the sites as many of these businesses offer much more than the main category in which I placed them including farms that are open for visitors on certain days. Do your research and make a plan!
Cheese and Dairy - Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery
Nelson Cheese (Not a creamery, but lovely WI product market)
Oxheart Farm (Milk and Yogurt Thursdays and Sundays)
Vegetables Good Turn Farm (Order Weds/Thursday, pick up Friday or Saturday)
Tip Top Farm & Garden (Veggie stand in summer months)
Fruit Rush River Produce
Meat Twin Folk Farms
CSA Plus A to Z Produce and Bakery
Baked Goods Jenny Lind (Call ahead to order)
A Little of Everything Lake View Organic Farm (Unique condiments, maple syrup, eggs...)
Indoor Grocery The Butchery (Where you go when you need duck fat!)
I'm very excited about 2022. We have a stocked store, plans for exciting new products this year, and a community around us that is full of some pretty cool things!
(If you are part of this community and you would like me to add you to this list, please send a note. I LOVE to support our neighbors, but being the busy myopic farmer that I pretend to be, I don't always know about all the wonderful things happening!)
WHAT'S IN THE STORE?
bluebird houses, wooden trellis, metal art, wooden coasters, wool hats and bowls.
eggs, grass fed ground beef, jams, jellies, spice blends, honey, Farmhouse Fruit Bars, Sourdough Cardamom Bread, Granola, Sauerkraut, Pickled Carrots, Mustard, HOT SAUCES (Huckin Fot, Nothing Grim About This Reaper and REHAB - Made with REaper and HABanero peppers, and Sichuan Chili Garlic Sauce).
Bath Products (made with our sunflower oil and CBD)
soaps, soaks, oils, balms...lots of nourishment for the skin.
Beverages (Made with from-the-farm herbs, fruit, flowers and maple)
Fruit Shrubs, Bitters, Maple Amaro, Rose Water, Rose Syrup, Herbal Tea
flower, oil, balms both CBD and CBDa
Animal Feed & Bedding
Sunflower seeds, rye seed, shell corn, hay, straw
The Kubota brings in downed trees to use to cook off the maple sap.
The wood is ready to go, but the trees have yet to flow.
IN OTHER FARM NEWS
The maple trees are tapped (all 200 plus,) and since yesterday William has been checking the pails hoping to see some steady dripping. So far all is quiet in the sugar bush. Hopefully this week will bring the run. What people don't know is that not only warming temps matter - if it's too windy, the trees won't run. Today will be warm, but a little breezy. We'll wait and see. We're ready and all set up, but Mother Nature is still deciding.
We'll be open this weekend and next on Saturday and Sunday only, then open for our regular Thursday - Sunday 9-5 schedule starting on March 31st. We're excited to see all you cool shoppers out and about!
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Sending love from the farm,