Tastes & Tastemakers

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What do you think of when you hear the word “artisan?”

In the food industry that word is getting a lot of mileage. It seems pizza, a sub sandwich, frozen foods, or even a cup of coffee can be marketed with the artisan label. In fact, Datamonitor, an international company providing market intelligence, has found more than 800 new food products dubbed “artisan” available on any aisle of your local grocery store. We may not always realize that living here allows us to appreciate the labor, passion, and achievements of so many committed to this tradition. That’s why Lake & Country would like to introduce you to six local businesses which demonstrate what it truly means to be an artisan.

Terry & Denise Woods
Highfield Creamery
Wallworth, WI

When they first noticed a rundown farm in Walworth County, on 120 acres, Terry Woods and his wife Denise decided they wanted a simpler life for themselves and their young daughter. The renovation of the property was researched and accomplished. After taking a one week cheese making class in Britain he returned home and decided that making cheese was in his future. Next, he set off to the Highlands of Scotland to learn the art. Since Wisconsin requires a license to be a cheese maker, he enrolled in a one person class with the master cheesemaker at the university in Madison. Fast forward to what now is known as Highfield Farm Creamery. Terry and Denise do tours in the summer, where you can meet the Jersey cows and observe the process of artisanal cheese making live, and of course taste and buy their delightful creations.

W4848 STATE LINE ROAD, WALWORTH, WI 262-275-3027

Lynn Lein
Yuppie Hill Poultry
Burlington, WI

What started with a couple of hens her kids brought home has now turned into chicken village. In fact this former health care worker turned farmer is now the queen of the coop making sure all her girls, over 20,000 of them, are well fed, happy, and doing their job in the most comfortable conditions a chicken has ever experienced. The name Yuppie Hill was coined by the neighbors who saw just how ritzy these chickens were living. Hens are housed in an aviary system that is certified as the first humane system in the United States and fed a high quality vegetarian diet that is hormone and antibiotic free. Also, no soap or chemicals are used to wash the eggs. Just warm water so nothing can penetrate the shell. In addition to the hens, Lynn also raises Heritage turkeys, stewing hens, and Cornish hens. Once a month Farm to Table dinners are held at the farm by reservation only. You can find the bright blue, pink, and green boxes of Yuppie Hill eggs at local grocery stores or buy them right at the farm.

W1384 POTTER ROAD BURLINGTON, WI 262-210-0264 www.yuppiehillpoultry.com

John Cicero & John Hudec
Hometown Sausage Kitchen
East Troy, WI

Over 40 years ago a European Sausage maker and his wife founded Hometown Sausage kitchen in East Troy and built it into a thriving enterprise, without ever compromising on his original recipes from Austria. When they retired, John Cicero and John Hudec, both Culinary Institute of America grads, bought the business. Soon the word spread that these guys were serious about creating imaginative artisan sausages and custom meat products with locally sourced ingredients. Today they specialize in over 20 varieties of small batched products, signature bacons, and hams.


Scott & Jackie Foster
Geneva Lakes Produce & CSA
Burlington, WI

Like many of our farming families, Scott, his wife Jackie, and their children Jordan, Corban, Abbie, Maggie, and Priscilla are true “stewards” of the land and take sustainable agriculture as serious business. They have a history of growing and selling produce for over 30 years and currently operate two farmstand locations, with one in Mukwonago and the other at the intersection of highway 120 and 11 in Spring Prairie. They also participate in local farmer’s markets and events all season. One way to assure you’ll have fresh seasonal produce on your table for the 20 week season is to participate in their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This program gives an opportunity to consumers who care about maintaining a quality diet and supporting local agriculture to become a part of a local farm while saving money on produce. Generally, members purchase a share of the farm prior to the beginning of the growing season and receive a weekly box of the high quality, seasonal produce that you get to select for the duration of the membership. It is a win-win for both the farmers and the members.


Eric Rose
River Valley Ranch
Burlington, WI

If any business deserves to be featured in this story, it’s the mushroom farm. After all, they have been doing the artisan thing for the past 40 years. River Valley Ranch is the oldest mush- room farm in the Midwest and is run by Eric Rose, the son of the founder. They started as a two-man operation growing only white button mushrooms. Now Eric’s offerings includes five varieties of mushrooms; portabella, cremini, white button, shiitake, and oyster. Over time, River Valley Ranch has developed into a multi-disciplinary, sustainable family food business that employs over 50 people, operating a year-round farm, farm store and kitchen in Wisconsin, a farm-to- table restaurant and grocery store in Chicago, and mushrooms, seasonal produce, and value-added products at local farmer’s markets.

888-711-7476 | WWW.RVRVALLEY.COM

Steve & Darlene Pinnow
Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms
Delevan, WI

Steve and Darlene Pinnow operate Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms in Delevan, which is the largest grower and processor of top grade lamb in the state. They direct market lamb under their WisconsinLambTM trademark to over 90 stores and restaurants in the Madison area, the Southeastern Wisconsin and the Chicago- land area. They also ship anywhere in the USA. If you have tried the lamb at any of our local fine restaurants, more than likely you are experiencing a product raised on their lovely farm. In fact, the list of popular restaurants that feature their lamb reads like the rock-star chef hall of fame. Their high quality product is known for its mild, sweet, and juicy taste. “We Sell Flavor” is their slogan. Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms has developed a special feeding program to enhance the flavor of the lamb which is also hormone and antibiotic free. As Darleen says, “this isn’t your grandma’s smelly mutton”. This is what lamb should taste like. You can’t get a more pure example of “pasture to plate”. With their freshness guarantee, orders come in on Monday, the lamb is processed on Tuesday, and shipped to stores and restaurants on Wednesday.


Photographer: Matt Haas
By: Cynthia Fueredi

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