Category Archives: Agritourism

Dubuque-area food and farm events September 21st!

 

For more information, go to: www.driftlessfarmcrawl.blogspot.com

 

EVENT ONE:  Driftless Farm Crawl

 

This event is aimed at connecting residents and families to local food and farms.  This event will feature several farms located in the tri-state area that will open their doors to the public on Saturday, September 21st from 1:00pm-5:00pm.  We will be providing maps and information for families, as well as descriptions of each participating farm!

 

Each farm will host at least one scheduled tour during the day.  Farms will able be encouraged to sell their product on site during the event, as we hope to increase the economic viability of local, family farms

 

EVENT TWO: Driftless Farm to Table Dinner

 

Delicious food from local farms will be artfully prepared by four Tri-state area chefs, highlighting our rich local food culture.   This dinner will be a one night only, family-style, four course creation based on what’s ripe and good from our farmer’s fields.

 

This dinner will be prepared by:

Driftless Market – Platteville, WI

L.May Eatery – Dubuque, IA

One Eleven Main – Galena, IL

East Mill Bakeshop – East Dubuque, IL

Time to register – growing woody perennials

Time is short to make the registration deadline for this workshop – one that you won’t want to miss! Check out the draft agenda and handouts we are preparing for the event! Registration information here.

(ps: more than 60 people turned out for the aronia field day in Soldiers Grove at Star Valley — see previous post)

 

8:30-9:00 a.m.                  Welcome & introductions

9:00-9:45 a.m.                  Principles of ecological gardening

9:45-10:30 a.m.                split into 2 groups:

  1. Small group discussion/Functions worksheet: What are the functions you want fulfilled on your land? What are your land’s needs, yields, characteristics?
  2. Tour at Nature Nooks — motivation and philosophy, species selection for food production, wildlife buffer, riparian plantings, visual screens, ecotourism

10:30-10:45 a.m.              Break

10:45-11:30 a.m.              Small Group discussion /Tour at Nature Nooks

11:30-12 p.m.                    Lunch

12-12:30 p.m.                    Travel to Cullen and Micaela’s Long Arm Farm

12:30-2:30 p.m.                Tours at Long Arm Farm with 3 groups :

  1. philosophy, context & background, plant selection, how to plant different species (sheet mulching, etc.), plant selection for hedgerows, what is working well, markets
  2. animals, chicken tractor and rotations, plants for fodder, cheese cave, markets
  3. plant varieties, plant selection, propagation, what to grow along riparian zones & edges, sun/shade, guilds, juglones tolerant plants

2:30-3:00 p.m.                  Travel to Mike Breckel’s Hawkstone Vineyard

3:00-4:15 p.m.                  Tour at Hawkstone Vineyard – motivation and philosophy, elderberry production, processing and markets

4:15-5:00                            Elderberry tasting (tentative), Wrap Up

 

Handouts:

  • Definition of Terms – perennialization, forest garden, agroforestry, permaculture, organic/gardening/farming, sustainability, resiliency, food security
  • Functions worksheet– what are your goals (hobby farm, supplemental food or income, primary income, etc.), what things do you need to consider on your land? What functions do you want fulfilled?, Do you have specific goals? Land use plan? Biz plans? Markets in mind? Philosophy about land?
  • Observations & Basic Principles worksheet —  aspect, sun/shade, slope, water, soils, cycling, stacking functions, interrelationships, relative location, species selection (needs, yields, characteristics), guilds, animals
  • Plant Lists – fruit and nut varieties, native plant lists from the UW Arboretum, permaculture guilds
  • Plant Nurseries
  • Participant List

To register, use using
the form available on the CIAS website at www.cias.wisc.edu and send with payment to Michelle Miller at UW-Madison CIAS, Attn: Growing Woody Perennials in the Kickapoo Region, Ag Bulletin Building, 1535 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706. Contact Michelle with registration questions at mmmille6@wisc.edu or 608-262-7135. For workshop questions, contact Marian
Farrior: mlfarrior@wisc.edu, 608-265-5214.

Three up-coming events

It is time to register!

There are three upcoming events for food and agriculture enthusiasts in the Driftless:

  • Aronia Field Day, Saturday, August 24th, 9:30-2pm, Star Valley Flowers, Soldiers Grove, WI. To register, RSVP to phil@starvalleyflowers.com
  • Growing Woody Perennials in the Kickapoo Region, Thursday September 12, 8:30-5, Viroqua. To register, go to www.cias.wisc.edu
  • Driftless Experimental Wine Festival, October 20, 2013. Go to www.AppleRiverWinery.com, Driftless page for more information. To register as a vendor, email  MountHopeVineyard at yahoo.com

More information on each event is posted below. Please register / RSVP as soon as possible.

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Aronia field day, Saturday August 24th, 9:30-2pm, Star Valley Flowers, Soldiers Grove, WI. To register, RSVP to phil@starvalleyflowers.com

The Midwest Aronia Association is co-sponsoring an aronia field day on Saturday, August 24, hosted by John Zeher, owner of Star Vally Flowers (www.starvalleyflowers.com) John has been an avid supporter and a team member of the Wisconsin initiative to promote aronia even before the existence of MAA.  His sales manager, Phil Mueller, is one of three MAA Board members from Wisconsin. John and Phil are experienced growers of deciduous shrubs and have been marketing to the cut flower industry for over 25 years.  They have a long history of growing aronia as part of their cut flower business and also manage 30+ acres of organically gown aronia planted in 2012.

 
The highlight of this field day will be the tour of aronia fields in various stages of growth and to see what pieces of equipment are used to manage the plants at different ages.  Representatives from equipment manufacturers will be on hand to answer questions and possibly do demonstrations. Other activités include:
  • a discussion about post harvest handling/processing requirements
  • an update on Dr. Brian Smith’s aronia breeding initiative at UW-River Falls
  • Questions and answers about possible companion crops–log onto www.uncommonfruit.cias.wisc.edu for background information.
 
This will be a valuable and informative field day.  Please RSVP to Phil @ www.phil@starvalleyflowers.com to arrange for lunches.
If you have never been to the Driftless area, this is a great opportunity to learn from some of the best in a beautiful part of the country.  Hotels and guest houses are available in nearby Viroqua.  E-mail Phil for more information and any questions.
 
The cost of attending the field days is $20 for MAA members and $40 for non-members (lunch provided)
 

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Growing Woody Perennials in the Kickapoo Region, Thursday September 12, 8:30-5, Viroqua. 

Space is limited, and registration is old-school (no on-line registration option or plastic) so please register early.

Register using the form available on the CIAS website at www.cias.wisc.edu and send with payment to Michelle Miller at UW-Madison CIAS, Attn: Growing Woody Perennials in the Kickapoo Region, Ag Bulletin Building, 1535 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706.

Contact Michelle with registration questions at mmmille6@wisc.edu or 608-262-7135.

For workshop questions, contact Marian Farrior: mlfarrior@wisc.edu, 608-265-5214.

Location: We will begin the day at Nature’s Nook: S4878 Cty. Rd. S, Viroqua, WI 54665.

Directions: From Viroqua, take Hwy 56 east to Hwy 82. Turn left on Hwy 82 and go to County
Road S. Turn right on S. Nature’s Nook is about 1/2 mile down County Road S on the left.

Draft agenda:

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m.                  Welcome & introductions
  • 9:00-9:45 a.m.                  Definitions, Principles of ecological gardening
  • 9:45-10:30 a.m.                2 groups: 1)  Small group discussion/Functions worksheet: What are the functions you want fulfilled on your land? What are your land’s needs, yields, characteristics?  2)      Tour at Nature Nooks
  • 10:30-10:45 a.m.              Break
  • 10:45-11:30 a.m.              Small Group discussion /Tour at Nature Nooks
  • 11:30-12 p.m.                    Lunch
  • 12-12:30 p.m.                    Travel to Cullen and Micaela’s Long Arm Farm
  • 12:30-2:30 p.m.               3 groups : 1) philosophy, context & background, plant selection, how to plant different species (sheet mulching, etc.), plant selection for hedgerows, what is working well, markets; 2) animals, chicken tractor and rotations, plants for fodder, cheese cave, markets; 3) plant varieties, plant selection, propagation, what to grow along riparian zones & edges, sun/shade, guilds, juglones tolerant plants
  • 2:30-3:00 p.m.                  Travel to Mike Breckel’s Hawkstone Vineyard
  • 3:00-4:15 p.m.                  Tour at Hawkstone Vineyard
  • 4:15-5:00                            Elderberry tasting

This workshop is sponsored by UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the UW-Madison Arboretum, with a grant from the Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund. Our wonderful collaborators include: the Vernon County Land and Water Conservation District, My Wisconsin Woods, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative, and Southwest Badger RC & D.

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Driftless Experimental Wine Festival, October 20, 2013. Go to www.AppleRiverWinery.com, Driftless page for more information. To register as a vendor, email  MountHopeVineyard at yahoo.com

To receive a registration form for exhibitor/consumer email MountHopeVineyard@yahoo.com

The Driftless Experimental Wine Festival was initiated to bring together boutique and independent wine makers who produce wines made from grapes grown within the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA (Northwest Illinois, Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Southwest Wisconsin), the Driftless Area. Efforts have been realized to develop initial flavor profiles for French-American Hybrid grapes and Northern Cultivars developed at the University of Minnesota. In order to further those efforts, terroir influenced wines need to be explored.

This event is the first step in a series that will exhibit experimental wines produced only from local and state specific (UMRV AVA) grown grapes. The experience will provide consumers with an opportunity to enjoy similarities and begin to identify differences, terroir influence, between those wines. Gross proceeds from the event will fund scholarships at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in Horticulture (viticulture) and Architecture (winery design).

Inspire(d)

At more than a few meetings in the region, we’ve heard people talk about the need for a unified Driftless identity, a way of communicating the high quality of life  and the Region’s unique cultural identity. It looks like folks in Decorah are taking the lead.

We like what we see in Inspire(d) Driftless magazine, subtitled “Positive News form the Driftless Region”. Based out of Decorah, the magazine’s summer issue has an emphasis on the food and farming scene west of the Mississippi. It has a beautiful calendar, features local artists and recreation highs.

They are looking for contributing writers from Southeast Minnesota, Southwest Wisconsin or south of Decorah. I think they aspire to serve the four state region so, whaddaya say? Lets help them out! Contact editor Aryn Henning Nichols with a writign sample or commit to advertising your business or event in their pages.

You can like them on Facebook at Inspire(d)Media and visit their web site at theinspiredmeda.com. They distribute the magazine free or you can subscribe for $25. Wouldn’t it be nice to see this magazine available free throughout the region?

Specialty Pork forum – update

August 2012, CIAS convened a meeting of people passionate about specialty pork. Specialty-finished, heritage breed pork is much-sought-after, especially by restauranteurs interested in an authentic, innovative and sustainable menu item. Heirloom breeds, unique finishes, and artisanal processing are coming together to give consumers a taste of regional flavor. In the Upper Midwest prok finished with hazelnuts, chestnuts, acorns, and apples provide that regional flavor. This one-day forum, co-hosted by Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table,  brought together farmers, processors, restaurants and vendors to discuss regional pork. They shared their expertise and experiences, and discussed next steps toward developing a regional supply chain for local pork.

More than 30 stakeholders from around southern Wisconsin gathered in Viroqua for a forum on the region’s nascent specialty pork sector. Some pasture-based hog farmers have begun finishing their animals with specialty products to alter the flavor and distinguish their products to consumers. CIAS recognized that this could be a new niche for small- and medium-scale pasture-based operations in the state, and so we convened a forum to discuss its potential. We posed the question of whether a marketing program akin to “Wisconsin Specialty Pork” could serve participants along the pastured pork value chain. With farmers, processors, vendors, and representatives from CIAS in the room, the group held a lively one-day discussion on issues facing the growth of a specialty pork economy.

We first heard from growers Jeannie Herold (Hazel Valley Farm) and Mark Osterberg (Hawk’s Cry Farm) on the value they’ve found in hazelnut-finished hogs. Both Herold and Osterberg began their operations with hazelnuts before incorporating hogs. Without the necessary industrial facilities available, they have found that pigs are the next-best way to process their hazelnut crop. Herold sells her pork directly to consumers, and she reports that her customers appreciate the rich flavor the meat takes from the nuts.

Next Christopher Pax (Black Earth Meats), Scott Buer (Bolzano Artisan Meats), and Tim Blokhuis (Pete’s Meats) presented on the state of specialty pork from the processor’s perspective. During a break, Caitlin Henning (MSc candidate in Agroecology) discussed her fieldwork on denominations of origin for specialty pork in Spain and how lessons from that country could help farmers and vendors in Wisconsin market specialty pork as a terroir product.

For the final panel discussion, Jeremy Johnson (Willy Street Grocery Cooperative), Nik Novak (Together Farms), and Talish Barrow (Graze Restaurant) talked with the group about marketing challenges and opportunities for specialty-finished pork. While the panelists haven’t yet observed consumer demand for specialty finishing, their businesses have responded to consumer interest in local and pasture-raised pork. Barrow proposed that specialty finishing could be another niche for farmers and vendors with the right amount of consumer education.

Most farmers attending the event were curious about whether specialty finishing could work for their operations. Surveys completed during the event indicate that there is interest in both specialty finishing and product aggregation to take advantage of larger markets and niche consumers.

Another note – if you are on FaceBook, check out the Black Pork site. Lovely photos! https://www.facebook.com/BlackPorks

black pork

Meeting participants:

Last Name First Name Affiliation/Organization
Armbrust Matt Organic Processing Institute
Barrow Talish Graze Restaurant
Bernardoni Bob Roller Coaster Farm
Blokhuis Tim Pete’s Meats
Buer Scott Bolzano Artisan Meats
Doherty Charlotte Roller Coaster Farm
Fabos Steve April’s Garden
Fox Dan Fox Heritage Foods
Fox Art Fox Heritage Foods
Goetzman Sandra Fair Wind Farm
Goetzman Tom Fair Wind Farm
Henning Caitlin UW-Agroecology
Herold Jeannie Hazel Valley Farm
Hoch Harry Hoch Orchard and Gardens
Holmstrom Deanne Holmstrom’s Grassy Acres
Holstrom Jamie Holmstrom’s Grassy Acres
Hunter Jonny Underground Food Collective
Johnson Jeremy WSGC
Johnstone-Buer Christin Bolzano Artisan Meats
Keeley Keefe UW-Agroecology
Mabe Nick Hoch Orchard and Gardens
McCann Nick Iowa State Univerisity
Moths Jessi CIAS
Novak Nik Together Farms
Osterhaus Max Hawks Cry
Osterhaus Mark Hawk’s Cry Farm
Pax Christopher Black Earth Meats
Prusia April April’s Garden
Schneider Stephanie Together Farms
Schriefer Gene Iowa County UWEX
Solberg Dan prospective farmer
Toepper Lorin Madison College
Williams Brady CIAS
Wong Kristina Hawks Cry
Wright Carla Organic Processing Institute

Networking Across the Supply Chain – LaCrosse 2/20-21/2013

100 regional food supply chain entrepreneurs are gathering in LaCrosse this week to shape a public R&D agenda for getting local food to market in a way that is economically viable, socially just and environmentally sound.

Visit this link to see the agenda, speaker bios and a list of organizations attending.

http://www.cias.wisloraxc.edu/networking-across-the-supply-chain-transportation-innovations-in-local-and-regional-food-systems/

Can’t join us? A proceedings will be published later this year.

 

Bikes good for the economy

When there was talk that Chicago was bidding to host the Summer Olympics, the word on the street was that bike races would happen in the Driftless. I know there are a number of bike-related events in the region and wonder if any organization is in place to organize and promote bike tourism? One of the best things about biking is that it burns lots of calories and so I can eat! So I see a natural affinity between local food and biking in the Driftless.

See the fastcompany article below that includes information on the economic benefits to biking around the country, and including Wisconsin and Iowa.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680611/bikes-arent-just-good-for-you-theyre-good-for-the-economy-too?goback=.gde_4278819_member_172029476

Culinary travelers

Culinary travelers make up roughly one-fifth of the U.S. leisure traveling population, according to the 2006 food and wine travelers study conducted by the US Travel Association. And, on average, they spend one-third of their travel budget on food-related activities.

 

The World Food Traveler Association is about to launch a follow-up study. If you are interested in sponsoring or knowing more, contact Laura Mandala at 703.820.1041 and laura@mandalaresearch.com

Increasing capacity in the tri-state area

Iowa State Extension just hired Brittany Bethel as the new Regional Foods Coordinator for Eastern Iowa and the tri-state area of IA, WI and IL. She writes,

” We have a vibrant community of farmers, consumers, institutions and agencies dedicated to promoting the use of local foods, and many resources for people interested in the nutritional, environmental and economic benefits of using more food produced in our region. I will be promoting promote resources, partners and programs that will support the further growth of our local foods community.

My position is supported by the Limestone Bluffs  RC&D and the Dubuque County ISU Extension.  The deliverables include: Producer Inventory, Local Food Buyer List, Email Distribution (to share events, information, and news), Training Events, Stakeholder Meetings, Business Development Activities and Development of a Regional Food System Expansion Plan.  Other organizations involved include Buy Fresh, Buy Local-River Bend and Dubuque Eats Well RFSWG.”

Sign up for their site – she is posting many local events that may be of interest, especially for those in the Dubuque area.

Welcome Brittany!

Appalachian Food Systems Work

Appalachia is similar to the Driftless in many ways – multi-state, geography, transportation, communications, even culture. So is it any surprise they are actively developing their regional food economy, too? Check out this conference web site to see what people are talking about, who is organizing good works, and how they are funding the work.