Interested in Wisconsin’s agro-tourism? Good news! There are many must-see destinations around the state that you can visit to see firsthand from the north & south, east & west, and central portions of Wisconsin. These destinations allow you to discover Wisconsin’s agricultural activities, provide educational platforms, and unforgettable food experiences supporting our state’s produce and local communities. Read on and find the nearest agro-tourism gems near you!
In the northern portion of the state south of Three Lakes, agro-tourism is celebrated at James Lake Farms, an organic cranberry marsh! This family-owned business grows their fruit locally and works to support local food systems versus traditional supply chains. Buy their cherished fresh and organic cranberries before the season ends right on site! Also be sure to check out their blog here for recipes including these tasty, local fruits and more.
Up north, in the berry capital of Wisconsin, Erickson’s Orchard in Bayfield, grows fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and of course, apples, depending on the season. And in the garden, you can find seasonal squash, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, gourds, and pumpkins when the fall harvest season comes around! Be sure to check out their upcoming events here and join in on their festivities. And don’t forget to swing by their country store & bakery for a sweet treat.
Speaking of sweet treats, head south to Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus, where you can see fresh ice cream being made through the large viewing windows. The best part? You can try any of the 28 available flavors while you’re there! During the summer months, you can take your kiddos on a tour to meet the farm animals and play outside. Check out their other products here, including their list of ice cream flavors!
Continue south to Braise in Milwaukee to enjoy delicious dishes at a farm-to-table restaurant. All of their ingredients are locally sourced and natural. To embrace their agro-tourism, they hold farm dinners in conjunction with Brightonwoods Orchard, Turtle Creek Gardens, and Jeff-Leen Farm. See the details here!
Time to venture to the east to Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm & Shop, the largest single-site lavender grower in the Midwest on Washington Island! Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm is home to 14 variations of lavender that have many uses and benefits such as…. Want to learn more? Visit their on-site demonstration gardens where you can dive deeper into these qualities and benefits! Grab a souvenir at the shop filled with several lavender-based products for your home, for you, and even your pets!
Another eastern hotspot/gem is Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, Wisconsin’s largest, private, family-owned dairy farm! Here, you can tour the farm in Kewaunee and see the day-to-day operations of how they create their dairy products through a labor of love. And on your way out, stop by the gift shop to taste their classic cheeses straight from the farm!
Ready to head west? Follow the compass to the western portion where you will find many agro-tourism gems including Mommsen’s Harvest Hills Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard, in Rice Lake. They produce pumpkins, a selection of squash, five types of apples, and of course the decoratives like corn and gourds to get in the spirit of the season. In addition, educational tours are offered for groups of all ages to learn about pollination, honey-making, harvesting fall produce, and so on. But wait, there’s more! Throughout the season, there are a series of fall activities you can be a part of that are fun for the whole family!
Continuing in western Wisconsin, settle in Rainbow Ridge Farms Bed & Breakfast located in the driftless region of the state nearby La Crosse! They are an award-winning agro-tourism destination for you and your party to enjoy a farm-stay vacation. This hobby farm raises dairy goats, sheep, chickens, heritage turkeys, and pigs. With all of these animals, they take pride in their sustainable farming practices and offer the opportunity for you to interact with them during your stay! Not only do they house guests, but they also hold farm camps for youth to learn good stewardship skills, tours to experience the farm, and even goat yoga! Check it all out here.
In the central heart of Wisconsin, there are also many agro-tourism destinations to visit such as Glacial Lake Cranberries, near Wisconsin Rapids on the north shore of old Glacial Lake Wisconsin, a lake that disappeared years ago. These wetlands are the ideal conditions for producing cranberries, spanning over 6,000 acres of property. Believe it or not, this property has been producing cranberries since 1873! For a must-see tour of this historic destination, stay at The Stone Cottage or Le Chateau - The Manor Bed & Breakfast.
Staying central, Father Fat’s Public House is devoted to using ingredients that come straight from the grounds of Wisconsin soil. Using these local and fresh ingredients, Father Fat’s creates dishes with a unique, diversified flavor inspired from all over the globe. And right across the street is Chef’s Kitchen, changing seasonally depending on the culinary team and their creative flavors.
Another central Wisconsin gem/hotspot is Earth-Crust Bakery, baking since 1976. All the ingredients that are used to create these tasty treats are organic and locally sourced. Also, their products are all produced with the help of solar power! Get your goods here.
Last but not least in the central region of the state, The Main Grain Bakery & Eatery, is rooted in sustainability and using organic, local ingredients. This bakery and eatery offers artisan bread, sweets, desserts, and more all made by hand. Don’t miss out and check out all their products here.
Now that you’ve learned about Wisconsin’s agro-tourism, you can see how many amazing and unique destinations we have around the state! From the north & south, east & west, and central portions of Wisconsin you can find everything from cranberries, orchards, and lavender, to the finest restaurants, bakeries, and of course, dairy farms. It’s time for you to check them out!
*This article is brought to you with support from the Wisconsin Counties Association.
Hailey Rose: Writer for Discover Mediaworks. A born & bred Wisconsinite with a love for fishing, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors.