We have designed our tours to provide you with a great combination of education, storytelling, and entertainment value. We are passionate about the beauty of our area and the sustainable family farms and related businesses that dot our landscape. We want you to have the ability to connect to your food sources–a true farm to fork experience.
The tours offered will be ever-changing, but we have many producer partners and various business partner sites we have formed relationships with. Each of our tours is custom designed and can be 2-4 hours in duration with 1-4 destinations. We truly aim to connect our participants to the best of SW Wisconsin. Each stop focuses on education and engagement with our partners and there are opportunities for tastings and retail purchases along the way. Add Marty’s storytelling and you have a tour full of fun and good times. A true value for your entertainment dollar.
We focus most of tour experiences in Richland County. Marty is also the Tourism Director for Richland County. We are very committed to seeing tourism grow in our county. We know all the great spots to go and the history behind many of them! We recommend you follow Richland Center Tourism on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Our tours are custom built for each group and sized for social distancing. Each tour is uniquely different and we are excited to show you the best our area has to offer! We also have access to behind-the-scenes operations and exclusive stops. If you are looking for a corporate event or family trip, we can help!
The storytelling by Marty will be completely different for every tour and the sites you see will be quite varied. We travel some truly beautiful back roads and you will see the Driftless area in a unique way. This next spring and summer we will be using our brand new UTV, a very beautiful, 6 passenger Kawasaki Ranch edition UTV decked out in style and comfort. You will enjoy a covered roof and windshield that will protect you from the wind & elements while enjoying the fresh air as you gaze out the side windows. During this winter and spring, feel the glow of snuggling down with our weighted blankets and hand warmers while watching for wildlife as Marty engages you with stories, tall tales, and the history of the area. Marty will be wearing a neck gaiter/mask for your safety and the windows are open to constant fresh air. We ask you to wear clothing appropriate for the weather conditions as you will be outside. Longer excursions on the highway will need to wait until warmer weather as it can be pretty cold doing 35 mph on the paved roads. You will see our UTV used in many of our events coming up! No need to worry about getting lost as we know these hills! You will find yourself completely off the grid and disconnected from your everyday life. The nature of our area will renew your spirit and restore your soul. Come have a great time with friends and family.
Our current partner list below is growing every day and is no particular order. Remember, we are working with farms, and farm life is unpredictable with possible last-minute changes necessary due to circumstances outside of their control. It is possible a specific farm may need to be switched out at the last minute but we will do our best to substitute another dairy farm or goat farm, in the rare case this situation arises.
If you would like your agricultural/ecological local business added to our offerings, please contact Marty through our contact page.
Our first partner site is a local dairy operation, Hatfield Organic Dairy. Dennis and his wife Ginny have recently acquired organic certification and will be offering their milk through Organic Valley. They have a story of triumph over much adversity, as they recently suffered a fire in their operation and subsequently had to rebuild. The process of getting organic certified is fascinating and you will be sure to love the passion Dennis & Ginny exhibit. They will have some tasty Organic Valley samples for you to try.
We have brought on Nate & Kayla Duren, Blueview Farms of rural Cazenovia. They milk red & white Holsteins and Jersey cows with high butterfat content exclusively for Carr Valley Cheese.
They have approximately 45 cows they pasture during the day on rotationally grazed fields. And their farm operation is truly a throwback to a style of farming not seen often anymore. They milk in a tie stall barn instead of a parlor. On our tour, you will be able to get up close to the cows and hear how a young couple is making their dream a reality in farming.
We are very excited to tell everyone that we will be going to a goat dairy farm in rural Cazenovia. Chad McCauley & Robin Loewe have been raising dairy goats for the last 4 years. They milk approximately 250 alpine and Nubian dairy goats and they provide milk to Carr Valley Cheese for their goat milk cheeses & artisanal goat milk butter.
Chad and Robin are very proud of their operation and are very excited to share their passion with our tour participants. We love how our participants will be able to get up close to the goats and enjoy them. Chad and Robin are a great example of how a new start-up in niche farming can still make it in our ever-changing world of agriculture.
After a visit to our dairy partners, we follow the production of the milk from field to barn to our next stop, a cheese factory.
Carr Valley Cheese, our neighbor
s up the road, is owned and operated by the Cook family. Carr Valley Cheese Company is over one-hundred years old, and remains one of Wisconsin’s traditional cheese plants, famous for making cheese the old-fashioned way! They are best known for producing high-quality, artisanal aged cheddars, but have also crafted over 50 original varieties. They are dabbling in artisan-made butter as well. A visit includes a tasting of their excellent cheese curds–so fresh they squeak!
We are excited partner with Colleen & Aaron Halverson at Wild Hills Winery. We do many of our events at their winery and they are doing some really cool experiences up on Oak Ridge. Their winery has had grapes growing in our community for over 26 years. They grow over 11,000 vines, on over 16 acres and they grow over 20 different varieties of grapes. They also have 8 acres of fruit trees and berries in their orchards and the largest producer of Black Currants in the state. They have a great retail location as well. You can purchase cheese to pair with your wine and find the perfect gift. Such a great stop to taste and see the best of Richland county.
As we continue thru the rolling hills and lush valleys of SW Wisconsin, we come to another of our anchor vendors, Hillsboro Brewing Company. Storytelling is a big part of our tours and HBC has a story everyone loves. Meet Snapper and his wife Kim, along with their crew, as they expand into their new brewery location and continue to restore buildings to their former glory. Connecting the businesses of SW Wisconsin in this tour and telling each one’s story is important. A tour of the new facility and a tasting round out the experience. In the restaurant, the full menu is available and meals can be ordered in advance.
During the apple harvest season (August to November) we will offer a stop at Oakwood Fruit Farm, with our friends and neighbors on the ridge, the Louis & Alvin families. A family tradition for over five generations, Oakwood Fruit Farm has over 180 acres of orchards and vineyards. A brief tour and sampling with a stop in the Apple Retail Shop will complete this tour. We are planning some springtime drives thru the hills of the apple orchard in our UTV as well-stay tuned for that experience!
We have added Narrow’s Creek Winery to our list of partners. We recently had a delightful tasting with owner Dean Baumgarten, and he has a very engaging style. Dean and his wife, Vicky are examples of the true entrepreneurial spirit and are really enjoying their new business in their retirement years. They are the third generation to live on their farm near Loganville, WI and they are making some really great fruit wines. They also have a unique opportunity for customers to come in and make their own wine. Dean will coach you along in the process and help you with the bottling. What a great concept!
We love our Ridge and Valley topography. It is the perfect place for those wanting to engage in a more sustainable method of agriculture and the perfect lab for the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish! Our partner sites expose you to the best of Richland County and connect you to the stories of the people behind this growing movement in SW Wisconsin.
Another farm we love to tour is English Ridge Orchard, owned & operated by Corey & Sarah Everts. They raise a variety of heritage breed animals, like pigs, sheep, and chickens. They are committed to humanely raising their animals. Their heritage hogs are great for meat and are a healthier alternative. Non gmo pigs raised on pasture and fall finished on apples.
We are delighted to include another partner farm- Horse Creek Ranch, owned by Claudia & Jerry Berres. Claudia, a chemist, is passionate about the soil, conservation methods and sustainable agricultural practices. Claudia & Jerry have over 300 acres of land, mostly in Marshall Township. Their land was owned previously by the late Avery Marshall, former Richland County Ag extension agent, and they have continued Avery’s legacy as diligent caretakers of the land. They use solar energy to supplement power for their home and farm, including supplying water to the cattle. They partner with an Angus beef farmer to provide 6 months of well-maintained pastures with the best variety of forage. Their conservation of the land and water has led to a well-stocked pond and management of run-off. A stop at their farm will educate and connect consumers with the very best in regenerative practices. The beauty of their location will delight all who love the scenery of the Driftless.
We also go to the very unique farm of Maple Valley Yak Meat near Blue River. They have a small herd of Yaks that roam the fields and pastures of our 160 acre farm. They have a menagerie of many animals, including the very beautiful Scottish Highland Cattle. They also have the business, “Old Wood, New Use” where they specialize in taking down old barns/buildings. They offer reclaimed barn boards, timber frame buildings, log cabins, hand hewn beams and much more.
We are excited to expose consumers to these amazing farm practices and draw attention to the work our farmers are doing. We have some of the best craft farms in the area with very passionate owners. Our tours will open your eyes to the fragility of our food system in America and the possibilities of sustainable agriculture. Our tours are all about connection. Connecting you to the land, your food source, and nature, while connecting our partners to people with an appreciation for their efforts. We can also connect you to resources to make your own dreams become a reality and make recommendations of reputable businesses. We offer our services to provide you with a custom experience with endless possibilities. Marty has been here all of his life and knows the people behind the heart and soul of the Driftless. The stories need to be told and we want you to delight in a place we call home.