Take Ten: Women-owned farms to visit


Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Lisa Kivirist and husband John Ivanko of Browntown have earned national recognition for their farm and renewal energy work.

By Lisa Kivirist

This Mother’s Day, celebrate the women championing Wisconsin family farms when traveling. We women in agriculture are increasing in number: In Wisconsin, the number of women-owned farms increased over 25 percent during the last 15 years, according to the Census of Agriculture.

This adds up to a diverse mix of women-led operations prioritizing local food, sustainable agriculture and land stewardship, from serving up pizza and pies to offering farm stays powered by renewable energy, like my own Inn Serendipity.

Interested beyond travel and want to make your own farm dream a reality? My new book supports you to do just that: Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers (soilsistersbook.com). Featuring advice and inspiration from over 100 women with successful hands in the soil, Soil Sisters serves up the roadmap for women to bring their farm and food business vision to life.

Come meet over 20 women-owned farms in my Green County “farm-hood” this Aug. 5-7, when we offer a fun-packed weekend of farm tours, workshops and culinary events via “Soil Sisters: A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms and Rural Life.” soilsisterswi.org

These lady-led operations, fellow farmer friends of mine, welcome your visits, but be sure to call and connect on hours and availability before traveling.

Circle M Farm, Blanchardville: Want to live the rural life for a night, no weeding or muck boots required? Farmer Kriss Marion makes that dream come to life with her welcoming farm stay. From cozy bedrooms decorated with vintage country flair to a menagerie of animals, Kriss will have you milking goats or spinning fiber before you can sing “hi-ho, the derry-o.” circlemfarm.com, 608-558-0501

Stoney Acres Farm, Athens: Kat Becker takes eating local hardcore: From the wheat in the crust to the sausage and toppings, everything in her pizzas is Stoney Acres raised, with the exception of cheese (but that, of course, comes from Wisconsin cheesemakers). Arrive early, as this places gets jumping on summer nights; bring your own side dishes and beverages. Hours: Fridays from May through October; orders taken 4:30-8 p.m. stoneyacresfarm.net, 715-432-4683

Dreamfarm, Cross Plains: Once upon a country time, Diana Murphy was a happy homesteader who fell in love with goats. The goats quickly multiplied, resulting in too much milk and, lucky for us, Diana channeled her inner cheesemaker. Today she specializes in farmstead cheese, meaning all the milk comes directly from animals on the farm and is made in small batches. Call before visiting. dreamfarm.biz, 608-767-3442

Campo di Bella, Mt. Horeb: A slice of Italy in Wisconsin, at Campo di Bella you can share a glass of wine and farm-to-table fare alongside the farmers that did it all, from grape to glass. For farmer Mary Ann Bellazzini, her welcoming Italian roots shine on you like family around her table. Expect to be hugged. Seasonal hours, wine bar open Friday and Saturday evenings. campodibella.org, 608-320-9287

Lucky Dog Farm Stay, New Glarus: Where can you have a massage, do yoga and bond with chickens, goats, pigs and friendly barn cats? Answer: Lucky Dog Farm Stay with your hosts, Lori Stern and LeAnn Powers. Breakfast is served at their café in town, Cow and Quince, with a seasonal menu featuring a lineup of ingredients produced by local, women-owned farms. luckydogfarmstay.com, 608-636-0064

Angelica’s Garden, Elmwood: Angelica Hollstadt is on a mission to get more “culture” back in our diets, as in the “live cultures” fueling her hand-crafted ferments such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kvass (an Eastern European fermented beverage). Call before visiting. angelicasgarden.net, 715-639-2018

Rainbow Ridge Farm, Onalaska: Experience, learn, sleep, eat, repeat. At Rainbow Ridge, Donna Murphy offers a menu of options to bond with farm life. Stay overnight, visit the fall pumpkin patch or send the kids to Rainbow Ridge Farm Camp. rainbowridgefarms.com, 608-783-8181

Ecker’s Apple Farm, Trempealeau: Don’t let the “apple” in the name fool you. The all-female, three-generation team that runs this place creatively thinks beyond the apple bushel. At Ecker’s Apple Farm, you’ll find a beer garden, weekend entertainment with a food truck roundup, on-farm store with homemade bakery and U-pick blueberries in season. eckersapplefarm.com, 608-539-2652

North Star Homestead Farm, Hayward: Farmstead gelato anyone? The women behind this farm share their multiple passions and talents with you, from an on-farm creamery and café to various art encounters, including “Fiber Thursdays.” Bring your projects; these ladies serve up camaraderie. northstarhomestead.com, 715- 462-3453

Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B, Browntown: Experience farm R&R with a renewable energy twist as Inn Serendipity is completely powered by the wind and the sun. Sense the aroma of chocolate chip zucchini bread baking as you come up the driveway? That’s me baking with a solar oven. innserendipity.com, 608-329-7056.