Summer time is about our favorite time of the year here in the Willy Street Co-op Deli! We love the amount of fresh, locally grown produce that we get to bring into our kitchen and serve to our Owners. Our hearts skip a beat just thinking about big juicy tomatoes, and the bright green spinach that we get to work with this time of year that was grown just a stone’s throw from our store. With that in the forefront of our thoughts, we wanted to tell you a little bit about a few of the amazing farmers that grow the wonderful produce that you’re going to be seeing more and more of in our Deli!
One of those farms is Keewaydin Farms, in Viola, Wisconsin. Only about two hours away from Madison, Keewaydin Farms sends us some incredibly beautiful produce this time of year. They were founded in 1976 by Richard and Mary Haucke. Though they weren’t organic certified, they started with the idea that they didn’t want any chemicals or pesticides on their product. With sustainability in mind, they raised all of their own food for their animals, and fertilized with compost from their own farm. They instilled the ideas of sustainability and stewardship in their children. In 2002 the farm was taken over by Richard and Mary’s children, Jessica, Rufus, and Jacob. Today the farm is run by their son Rufus, and his children, Karma and Aurora. They now have their organic certification, and farm 15 acres of produce that they sell wholesale, as well as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. So far they have some beautiful free-range eggs, and a variety of different produce available to order. We look forward to all of the things that we will be able to bring in as the summer goes on!
Crossroads Community Farm
Another of the farms that we order local produce from is Crossroads Community Farm, in Cross Plains, Wisconsin. They were started in 2005, and are run by Mike, Cassie, Zea, and Eddie Noltnerwyss. They have a beautiful little farm where they grow sustainable fruits and vegetables. They sell their vegetables to wholesalers like Willy Street Co-op, through their CSA program, and through their farm stand at Westside Community Market. They have several farm events throughout the year where you can go out to Cross Plains and tour their farm. In fact, on August 10th, they are having a corn boil and member potluck. You can go out, meet their family, have a tour of their farm, and have a potluck dinner where they will be boiling up some corn and eating family-style in their barn. So if you have a little time, and really want to get to know where your food is coming from, it’s an opportunity that is hard to pass up.
The last farm we wanted to tell you about in a little detail is Vitruvian Farms. They are out of McFarland, Wisconsin, and you have probably already been enjoying their beautiful spring salad mix on our salad bars. We’ve been informed that they will also have spinach available this fall and that we will be able to add it to our salad bar. Just ten miles or so from the Capitol, they grow all of their vegetables with no pesticides or chemicals and with sustainability as a priority. One of the things that we at the Deli love about receiving their produce is that it is harvested and delivered to our store within one day! This means that not only does your salad last longer, but the taste is unbeatable. It’s so fresh, it’s almost as if you can taste the sunshine.
So the days of Wisconsin-grown produce are finally upon us. It was a long cold winter, but it’s hard to even remember those days when we are holding big, fresh, local produce in our hands. And those are just a few of the local places that we will be getting our produce from this summer. Through a little luck, and a lot of hard work, we are proud and excited to bring you some of the most delicious produce we could find, that was grown not too far from our own backyards. So go ahead, give it a try! Tell us what you think. We know that you won’t be disappointed, because we never are.