Homegrown Home Cookin'
Graze on farm-fresh food right on the field it was grown in.
YUPPIE HILL POULTRY BURLINGTON, WI
THE PRODUCTS: Eggs, free-range turkeys and Berkshire hogs and chickens.
THE PLATES: Enjoy five-course, gourmet, BYOB dinners every second Saturday of the month and hearty breakfasts every fourth Sunday featuring the talents of Chef Tom Cicero. Don't miss this month's Mother's Day brunch. Local products such as Bowers produce and Rushing Waters trout are paired with the farm's eggs, poultry and sausages, which are made fresh in the farm's sausage kitchen.
THE PRICE: Breakfasts are $10, served family style; dinners are $35 and up.
THE PLACE: While this is a rugged working farm, the restaurant is located in a charming, country-chic barn that used to house farmer Lynn Lein's 2500 "girls," er, chickens, who moved into a brand-new, state of the art barn in 2008.
THE PLUG: "Breakfast is pretty much just a good, old-fashioned farm breakfast. Dinners aren't stuffy or fancy, but they are five course dinners," Lein says. "We never hurry anybody. It's just a nice, quiet evening out and nobody ever leaves here hungry."
WELLSPRING ORGANIC FARM AND EDUCATION AND RETREAT CENTER
THE PRODUCTS: Organic vegetables, fruits and eggs.
THE PLATES: June through September, this cute B&B and hostel hosts monthly dinners with visiting Milwaukee-area chefs such as Peter Sandroni of La Merenda. Visitors can take classes based around specific produce, taught by Chef K.C. Thorson of K.C's Kafe, and, every third Thursday from May through November, a culinary coaching service with wine and a dinner of fresh veggies grown onsite teaches people how to eat more healthfully. Don't miss the Taste of Wellspring on Sept. 15.
THE PRICE: $20 in advance, $25 day of, $75 for Taste of Wellspring
THE PLACE: This place is rustic and a bit retro, but situated on 36 beautiful green acres next to the Milwaukee River, with more than 88 species of birds flocking onsite.
THE PLUG: "The monthly cooking classes focus on obscure veggies like rutabaga or fennel or kohlrabi that people are uncomfortable with. Our chefs then create four different recipes with them," says Angela Rester, executive director. "At Taste of Wellspring, each course is made by a different chef, featuring ingredients harvested from the farm."
BRAISE RESTAURANT AND BRAISE ON THE GO CULINARY SCHOOL
THE PRODUCTS: Top-rate toques, by the dozen.
THE PLATES: Chef David Swanson brings diners to farms and farmers to diners, creating elaborate meals both at local farms and at his restaurant — where local farmers remain the stars of the show and are usually in attendance to answer any questions. Sunday suppers, which include three courses and wine or beer, are held every last Sunday of the month and feature a different farmer and theme, generally focusing on a specific product, such as, say, suckling pig.
THE PRICE: $45 to $55 for Sunday Suppers
THE PLACE: The restaurant is a Community Supported Restaurant that allows diners to sign up and support it. In return, they get free meals and can attend various events and classes — sort of like a food co-op. Swanson also runs the very first Restaurant Supported Agriculture, in which he connects local farms with local chefs to fill each one's needs.
THE PLUG: "There's such a disconnect between what's being grown and what's being consumed," Swanson says. "We work with about 400 different local farms. It's about trying to promote local food in Wisconsin and keeping the economy local."