Wild Rose, WI is a small town of 777 folks located in the glacial moraine counties of Central Wisconsin, an area made famous through Aldo Leopold’s important book “A Sand County Almanac.” John Muir, the famous father of the American wilderness, also grew up on a small farm about a half-hour drive away. The Ice Age Trail winds its way through hills, farms, and marshes. Mr. Leopold would be happy to know sandhill cranes, whooping cranes, and canadian geese have returned from near extinction and flight: they make many of these fields and marshes home. The landscape is dotted with crystal blue lakes and ponds, and secretly many Class A trout streams.
Because of the interrupted landscape, mostly smaller farms cluster nearby rather than the broad sweeps of giant farms found in the west.
Lots of pickles to be sure, from acreage dotting the landscape with cucumbers. Like much of Wisconsin we have our dairy farms too. Fresh local butter. Cheese is king;many local dairies supply the pizza world with our famous mozzarellas. Carrots, beets, potatoes, string beans, sunflowers are abundant. A short drive to the west and you are in Cranberry Country. Tart Cherries to the East. Blueberries to the north and apples all around.
Vacationers from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison flock here for summer fun, boating, fishing, kayaking, and water skiing. Summer days are outdoor BBQ filled with Wisconsin bratwurst and thick local burgers. Make that a cheeseburger. Every Friday night our eateries are packed with folks out for the famous Wisconsin fish fry, ubiquitous throughout the state. Our restaurants are almost historical markers, having been around for many decades, and some are as old as a hundred years. We call them Supper Clubs. Yes, there is beer, Point and Central Waters the most famous nearby. Local wineries and crafted hard ciders are popping up too. Pizza on the Farm is actually a thing now.
This is the environs that make up the daily life of our local inhabitants. As you may guess, hunting and fishing are a part of life here. Browsing White-tailed deer and wild turkeys make driving around this area an exercise in a sort of zen-like hyper-attention to the road a hundred yards ahead. We are social, neighborly and take care of the local needs and quality of life.
Wild Rose was still a cucumber salting station for pickle making in the '50s and '60s for Heinz and Libby. Kids gathered cucumbers during summer months to take to the stations and earn a few extra bucks. Though these famous companies are no longer here, there is still a remnant of folks that know much of country life. Homes in town often have vegetable gardens. Here people still know how to can, freeze, make sauerkraut and put up jam for the winter. The farm life means quite a few can still fix anything with baling wire. Small-scale welding is still a part of life. The old days are not always so old here.
Much of the staff here at Front Porch Pets comes from this stock. We also have transplants who moved “up north” from the cities and suburbs off Southeast Wisconsin and Chicago. Some come for vacation and never leave. (See Our Team)
Our community embraces our local neighbors and growers but like the ripples made from a rock in the pond, we reach out further to establish relationships, sources and of course customers from a wider arc. We live by the sweet potato and this is one crop us northerners are not particularly good at when it comes to nuances of planting, nurturing and post-harvest handling. We thank our southern growers, family farmers all, that supply us with this healthy crop and the USDA certified handling we require. Many of these sweet potatoes head north along the US Route 51 that connects New Orleans, LA with upstate Wisconsin where the road ends in the north woods. They drive right by Elvis’ Graceland, near Memphis on the way. Highway 51 is just 15 miles to our west and is a corridor for the shipping of much beer, cheeses, cardboard, vegetables on their way to the local canneries, red skinned, french frying and baking potatoes.
Front Porch Pets dug in here in Central Wisconsin to make the best pet treats from the freshest and most-local products we can find. If we don’t grow it on our farm, we source much of it within a short drive away. Sometimes we need to get apples from Michigan, but we do consider them our neighbor, too. Mostly everything else, even our packaging and shipping boxes come from right nearby.
This Is our community, our place on the map.
If you want to learn more about us we are in all the usual social media sites, including You Tube. We have almost daily updates of life on our farm and homestead. We not only grow vegetables and fruits, we have an orchard and 30 acres of pasture with Highland cattle, chickens, turkeys, ducks and pheasant.
Join us with our On The Porch program where you will be treated as a neighbor.
See you there.