As a leading producer of cheese, milk, cranberries, potatoes and a host of other agricultural goods, Wisconsin’s identity is interwoven with its thousands of farms. Many of those farmers invite the public to see how it all happens. Here’s to discovering the roots of agriculture.
Celebrate those beautifully buoyant cranberries in Stone Lake (Sawyer County)
Wisconsin is king when it comes to cranberries, producing more than half the world’s supply. And we also know how to celebrate the deliciously tart fruit.
Join in on the fun at Stone Lake’s 44th annual Cranberry Festival on Saturday, October 1. Over 30,000 visitors fill this town of 500 for a day of festivities. Arrive in the morning for a breakfast of cranberry pancakes. Browse the more than 300 vendors selling food, handcrafted goods and artwork throughout the day. Then tour cranberry marshes in the height of the harvest season.
While most activities happen Saturday, get to Stone Lake early for a cranberry baking contest and complimentary wine tasting on Friday. And stick around a day later for a 5K on Sunday.
Before you leave town, treat yourself by visiting Marie’s Hideaway in downtown Stone Lake. This nearly 40-year-old establishment is known for its homemade Italian food. The menu is full of favorites like an Italian beef sandwich, Frankie’s famous Italian salad and hearty dishes like lasagna and chicken alfredo.
Visit Vesperman Farms for a full day of family fun (Grant County)
This family farm outside of Lancaster is packed full of fun activities for a fall day. Kids will love taking a hayride to the pumpkin patch, running up and down the tire mountain and feeding goats at the animal barn. Leave some time to get lost in the 5-acre corn maze. The self-directed maze, which is redesigned each year, takes about half an hour to complete. Or bring the kids through a mini maze for an easier course.
Vesperman Farms is a certified century farm, operated by the fifth generation of the family. It’s open seven days a week through October 30, making it convenient to plan a trip anytime. And make sure to enjoy an apple cider donut or their homemade ice cream before leaving!
After a full day of fun, head into Lancaster to grab a meal at Doolittle’s Pub & Eatery. This welcoming pub sits right on the town square surrounding the beautiful, domed Grant County Courthouse. For an appetizer, there’s no need to fret over what to choose. The Courthouse Combo is a sampler platter with mini tacos, onion rings, deep-fried cheese curds and pretzel bites. Choose between wraps, sandwiches, burgers and nightly specials for dinner.
Explore an organic orchard in Colgate (Washington County)
With over 30,000 fruit trees spread across 70 acres, Peck & Bushel Organic Fruit Company has come a long way since its establishment in 2010.
The owners, Joe and Jenny Fahey, didn’t expect to be running an orchard. But the business professionals took a backyard hobby of growing organic apple trees and used it to transform a cornfield into this gorgeous orchard.
Open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekends, families will have no trouble picking a peck of apples, which is about 10 pounds, from the trees. They’re smaller trees grown on a trellis system, making it easy for both kids and adults to reach the apples. Visit Peck & Bushel’s elegantly modern barn — built from the Fahey family’s hand drawings — to find organic apple cider, jams and jellies, donuts and locally crafted candles and pottery.
When you’ve filled a bag with apples, head over to Hot House Tavern in nearby Menomonee Falls for a creative twist on Americana food. Try the tempura-battered veggies served with a citrus Thai chili sauce for an appetizer. Or get an order of bacon-wrapped pheasant poppers. Choose from the many mouth-watering sandwich, burger, salad and entrée options for dinner. Or feed everyone with ribs, tenders or a chicken dinner off the family-style menu.
Start your fall getaway at TravelWisconsin.com