By Pat Dillon
Having Fun on Wisconsin Farms
Wisconsin’s leadership in agriculture is much more than cows and corn. Many farmsteads offer out-of-the-box barnyard fun. You can share a pizza in the barn under the sun or stars. Eat a gourmet meal on 150 acres. Catch a trout or two and take ‘em home prepped for the pan. Hike with llamas and ski with dogs. And even make old school tools in a blacksmith shop. Here’s how.
Drive only eight miles off Hwy 35 in Nelson and you’re surrounded by infinite acres of lush rolling hills and valleys. Here you’ll find the Stone Barn, a centuries old open air Norwegian Valley stone barn turned wood-fired pizzeria. Enjoy artisanal paper-thin pizza using fresh ingredients, including locally raised pork, herbs and vegetables grown right on the farm. They don’t even roll the dough until you place your order. Sip wine under a giant blue sky, stroll through the herb gardens or relax by the pond and enjoy the 120 years of history this farm has to offer.
Fine Dining on the Farm
From May to October, the Meuers Farm Flavors Dinner series in Chilton brings area chefs to the farm for a fine dining experience. Chefs create a special menu using farm produce and other local ingredients. Reserve your table for a delicious four-course meal or for contemporary American fare. After winter, the season on the farm officially starts in March when David and Leslie Meuer tap their maple trees for syrup-making clinics. Taste it for yourself at a charitable pancake breakfast. And don’t leave without stocking up on raw honey, pollen, farm-fresh kettle corn and a fall corn maze with helicopter rides.
Drop your line pondside and you’re guaranteed a rainbow trout at the Bullfrog Fish Farm in Menomonie. Plus, they’ll clean and put your catch on ice while you enjoy every bit of the farm. Whether you’re an angler who prefers solitude or laughs with friends and family, fish to your heart’s content from May until October. Afterward, enjoy a “Hobo Shorelunch” in the Family Beer & Beverage Garden, complete with local brews and s’mores for the firepit.
A Farm for Outdoor Lovers
Justin Trails B&B Resort in Sparta lives up to its name. On-foot or bike activities are available year-round with some unique options like hiking alongside llamas that eat out of your hand. Into disc golf? Two 18 basket courses are available year-round by day or moonlight. Interested in skijoring this winter? Harness up your own dog and be pulled across the snow, or take Fido off-leash on designated ski trails. These 200 acres will thrill hikers, runners, snowshoers and birders. Bikers, jump on the nearby 32.5 mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail.
“Agri-tain” on the Farm
Godsell Farm in Muskego has all the classic farm animals and heavy equipment to keep kids’ and adults’ attention. Watch chicks hatch, pet baby animals, enjoy hayrides and bonfires. But ever work hand-turned metal equipment or watch it being fired, bent and hammered into workable shapes? How about works of art? From blacksmithing and metal art to feeding animals and taking a hayride, Mark and Pam Godsell have it all. For a look at farm life before modern technology, Godsell Farm offers meaningful experiences to “agri-tain” you.