Vine Vest North

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal Archive

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Crystal Siemers-Peterman

2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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Timber Hill Winery
Nov. 30, 2016

Nestled in Milton, Timber Hill Winery is one of the newest additions to Wisconsin’s winery industry.

Sparked by her interest in microbiology, Amanda, the owner, started making wine with her father as a hobby. Over the years the hobby quickly grew into a passion and Timber Hill Winery was born. The winery official opened in the fall of 2016 and currently offers 20 different varieties. Many of the wines have ingredients sourced from our state, including grapes, fruit and honey, which keeps the flavor nice and local.

Wine options range from robust reds, to light whites to specialty wines. Her wine list includes the classic Marquette red wine and the refreshing Seyval Blanc white wine. Amanda’s creativity shines through in her specialty wines and she offers a Jalapeno wine that is perfect for the "bold and brave".

Find out more about this new winery at

Chosen Stones
Nov. 28, 2016

Serving up that perfect holiday platter can be tricky, especially when you don’t have a beautiful dish to serve it on. Wow your guests this holiday season with dishes served on Wisconsin shaped serving trays and cutting boards from Chosen Stones. Chosen Stones, based out of Richland Center, hand crafts each of their wooden products. You’ll find their items to be high quality and durable. Many of their products are made with Wisconsin hardwood as well, keeping the production nice and local.

They offer over 150 different wooden goods, ranging from coasters to cutting boards to iPad stands. Whether you are in the market for some new kitchen supplies or want a beautiful gift to give to a loved one, Chosen Stones will have an option for you. If a Wisconsin shaped item doesn’t trip your trigger, they offer other state shapes and generic forms as well. Some of their products also offer engraving options to add an extra personalized touch.

Find a Uniquely Wisconsin wooden good at

Widmer's Cheese Cellars
Nov. 27, 2016

Commitment to tradition – that’s how I would describe Joe Widmer, head cheesemaker at Widmer’s Cheese Cellars.

For over 90 years, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars has been a staple in Theresa, WI, handcrafting artisan cheeses. They specialize in three main varieties – Brick, Colby and Cheddar. To this day, Joe still makes his Brick cheese in the most traditional way, using the same bricks his grandfather bought all those years ago to weight down the cheese. This tradition is now uniquely Wisconsin because Joe is the only cheesemaker in the country that uses this technique.

His other cheeses are filled with tradition as well. Widmer’s cheese washes their cheddar curds before salting, removing extra lactose and preventing bitter tastes in their final product. Their Colby cheese is made using the traditional stirred-curd method.

The gift of Wisconsin cheese is a wonderful way to share you love of this great state. Widmer’s offers four different gift box options that can be sent across the country to family and friends near or far. Learn more about their award winning cheeses and the story behind each block at

Kreative Kraftwerks
Nov. 26, 2016

Working as a team is second nature to the owners of Kreative Kraftwerks. Julie and Tom Koenig started making soap in 2002 as a hobby that they could share together. Over the last 14 years, their small hobby business has grown and they now offer soap, soy candles, and lotion. Based out of Malone, they hand-craft their items in small batches, ensuring the high quality Kreative Kraftwerks is known for.

One of their most recent adventures is making Absolute Soap – a vegan soap. This uniquely Wisconsin soap comes in many scents including Smoky Clove, Lavender, and Mint. They also have a detox soap which includes activated coconut charcoal to help cleanse pores. You can also find these scents in their sugar scrubs.

Learn more Kreative Kraftwerk’s wide array of body care products at

Northern Chill
Nov. 25, 2016

Black Friday can be very chaotic. Between competing with other shoppers for that last item on sale and trying to find a parking spot, it is quite an ordeal.

Stay hydrated this holiday shopping season with water from Langlade Springs, LLC. Their Northern Chill water is bottled at the source in Polar, WI. The water comes from an aquafer that was formed nearly 15,000 years ago by a glacier passing through Langlade County. Some of the highest natural alkaline waters flow through this Northern Wisconsin spring, giving Northern Chill a natural pH of 7.8. The water also includes naturally occurring electrolytes and minerals.

Before bottling, the spring water is UV treated and micron filtered to increase quality, but not reduce taste. The bottles come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 12 fluid ounces to 1 liter, making them perfect for entertaining for grab-n-go. Additionally, their bottles are 100% recyclable and BPA free.

Find out more about this Uniquely Wisconsin water at

Pleasoning Gourmet Seasoning
Nov. 24, 2016

All the holiday treats we are about to consume this month means keeping a healthy diet will be difficult.

Luckily, Pleasoning Gourmet Seasoning is here to help this holiday season. They offer 36 different spice blends that are all certified low sodium, meaning they will add flavor, but not salt to your diet. And the best part is, these seasonings are available year-round so you can use them now or on the grill during the spring, summer and fall.

Pleasoning Gourmet Seasoning was founded by a Maestro, Frank Italiano. He worked with his seasoning blends like he would an orchestra, silencing some flavors, while drawing out the undertones of others. Although his business started as a family only affair, he opened his doors to the public in 1952 and Pleasoning has been in La Crosse, WI ever since. The company now offers blends for pork, bar-b-que and chicken. They also offer Frank’s Blend which is perfect for Italian and Greek food.

Find recipes and ways to cook with Pleasoning Gourmet Seasonings at

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese
Nov. 23, 2016

Farmers Rope, Fresh Mozzarella Balls and Mascarpone. These are some of the Italian style cheeses offered by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese of Waterloo.

The Crave Brothers Farm is owned and run by four brothers. They have a herd of nearly 1,500 cows and a cheese plant right across the street from the farm. Each morning, milk is pumped directly from the milking parlor, across the road to the cheese plant and made into fresh farmstead cheese. Their cheeses are award winning and so is their farm. In 2008, the Crave family was recognized as Dairymen of the Year at World Dairy Expo.

One thing that makes Crave Cheeses uniquely Wisconsin is the fact that they are made using renewable energy. The cheese plant, as well as the farm and some neighboring homes, are powered by an anaerobic bio digester. This bio digester allows the Crave Brothers to be environmentally friendly while maintaining a sustainable farm and business. Their green efforts make this cheese a perfect gift for the green minded.

Learn more about their one of a kind cheeses at

Roots Chocolates
Nov. 22, 2016

“Simple. Wholesome. Authentic.” That’s what you get when you take a bite of a Uniquely Wisconsin chocolate from Roots Chocolates.

Lisa, the chocolatier, is also a 4th generation farmer in the Wisconsin Dells. On her farm you will find fruit trees, vegetable plants, herbs and 12 bee hives. She grows many of her own ingredients that she adds to her chocolates to craft creative combinations. For example, she mixes lavender and honey from her farm with dark chocolate to make her “Lavender n Honey”. During the fall, her Sass-Squash Chocolate contains farm raised squash, and Wisconsin maple syrup.

Roots Chocolates opened in December 2010 and has gained international recognition within the chocolate industry. Lisa’s Mint Basil chocolate took bronze at the International Chocolate Festival out of 16,000 entries. She now offers 11 flavors year-round and 10 seasonal varieties.

Treat yourself tor a loved one to Roots Chocolates this holiday season. To learn more about the farm and flavors, visit

Scent-Free Naturals
Nov. 21, 2016

Think about two things most women love – baths and wine. Now imagine your mom’s face this holiday season when you give her a gift that combines those two things into one product.

Scent-Free Naturals, in Menomonie, has created exactly what you need – wine soap. This luxurious soap is made using red wine so it contains all the same antioxidants and vitamins you’d find in a bottle. Pair that soap with their Total Body Moisturizer, Youthful Appearance Serum and Lip Moisturizer for an at-home pampering kit. They also offer self-care products including a Beard Conditioner, called Rugged Man, you can give to that special guy in your life.

The company gets their name from their practice of not adding any artificial ingredients or fragrance into their products. Using mainly organic ingredients, they put a lot of care into crafting each batch so it’s the highest quality possible.

See the entire product line online at

Vetro Winery
Nov. 20, 2016

Nestled in Jefferson, Vetro Winery offers a wide selection of wine and wonderful tasting room. Treat your guests this holiday season by serving some of their wine, or take them to the winery that overlooks the woods and marshland of Jefferson County for a fun activity. With roots in Sicily, Vetro Winery has a 125 year old tradition of making wine. They offer nearly 20 different blends ranging from fruit, grape and seasonal wines.

Their Mama Mia red wine is made with Marechal Foch grapes grown in Wisconsin, making a uniquely Wisconsin wine to serve with your holiday meals. It offers a medium bodied intense fruit character with hints of natural spice. Alternatively, you and your guests will be on cloud 9 after trying their Heavenly Bliss white wine- it’s a crisp, dry yet fruity wine. You’ll even pick up scents of lilac and apricot while sipping it.

“Relax and Un-wine” this holiday season with Vetro Winery. Find out how at

NessAlla Kombucha
Nov. 19, 2016

NessAlla Kombucha has a uniquely Wisconsin beverage you can serve this holiday season to your guests.

They produce a non-alcoholic fermented tea called Kombucha (Come-Boo-Cha) from tea sourced from Rishi Tea Company, a fair trade tea company in Milwaukee. Although it is unclear where Kombucha originated, NessAlla Kombucha is produced in Madison by two certified herbalists. They take pride in using organic ingredients and producing a high quality drink every time.

Their Kombucha can be found in flavors like raspberry and peach blush year round. They also have several seasonal options as well. This winter, you can enjoy sipping their Turmeric, Ginger, and Black Pepper, or their Hibiscus Cardamom Ginger. The Hibiscus Cardamom Ginger has a light, bright acidity with low tannins – meaning you’ll likely find it tart and fruity.

Learn more about NessAlla Kombucha and their flavors at

Saxon Creamery
Nov. 18, 2016

At the Saxon Homestead farm in Cleveland, WI, you’ll find cows grazing in a luscious green pasture in Northeast Wisconsin. With the cheese plant right down the road, Saxon Creamery starts making their cheese with fresh milk from the homestead within one hour of delivery.

Saxon Creamery’s decision to make cheese with milk from pasture raised cows stems off their desire to maintain sustainable management of their farm’s land. Because the cows are grazing on the pasture, the flavor of Saxon’s cheese can change with the season giving Saxon the tagline “flavor by nature”.

During the fall and winter, Saxon Creamery produces a uniquely Wisconsin cheese called Snowfields. This cheese is made when the cows are producing a milk high in protein and cream due to the season. Snowfields is aged for six months before packaging. It offers a rich, creamy texture which pairs well with soup.

Between their special butterkase, gouda and cheddar spread, you can find a style that will fit everyone’s taste buds this holiday season. Find a style that speaks to you at

Make it a Malt with Soda Fountain Malted Milk
Nov. 17, 2016

My family always has food assignments for the holidays. My grandma brings the ham, my mom covers the side salads, and I bring desserts. This year, I’ll be able to take my desserts to the next level with Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder from CTL Foods, Inc.

Whether it’s mixed with ice cream to make a malt or added to cookies, Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder has many uses. You can purchase this product in 1 pound or 2.5 pound cans. For its creativity and ingenuity, this uniquely Wisconsin product, produced in Colfax, was given top prize at the World Diary Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest.

Find ways to include Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder in your meals all year long at

A Tree Fit for the Whitehouse
Nov. 16, 2016

Yesterday I had the honor of representing Wisconsin agriculture at the official tree cutting ceremony for the White House Christmas tree. Now how did this honor occur you may ask? Well, our very own state, Wisconsin, is providing the tree this year.

Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Oconto was named the 2015 National Grand Champion by the National Christmas Tree Producer Association. In addition to the title, they will be providing a 19 foot Balsam Fur for the White House this the holiday season. This is the eighth time that Wisconsin has been awarded this honor. While Whispering Pines has a tree with national recognition, they are just one of Wisconsin’s nearly 868 tree farms that you and your family can visit.

Buying a real Wisconsin Christmas tree is a tradition for many Wisconsin families. In fact, Wisconsin sold over 650,000 real Christmas trees last year. One of the best parts of a real tree is that it’s environmentally friendly. Not only is the tree changing carbon dioxide into oxygen, but it also provides shelter to local wildlife on the tree farm.

This holiday season, bring the joy of a real Christmas tree into you home. Visit to find a Wisconsin tree farm near you.

Door Peninsula Winery
Nov. 15, 2016

I’ve spent the last two days in the Northeast region of Wisconsin conducting media interviews at various TV and radio stations. Between these media stops, I’ve had the chance to visit a few Something Special from Wisconsin companies in this region.

One visit that was especially unique was my stop at Door Peninsula Winery. This winery is one of the oldest winery in the state. It is located in Sturgeon Bay, in a converted school house that was built in 1868. The wineries charm is apparent from the outside, but once inside you’ll be taken aback by the sheer variety of wine they offer – you truly could find something for everyone here.

With over 50 different varieties to choose from it can be tough to decide which wine to pick. For the holiday’s, I suggest picking from their Mulled Christmas, Red Christmas or White Christmas options. Their mulled Christmas wine is a semi-sweet cherry wine with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon – best served warm, while their Red Christmas is a light Door County cheery and grape wine blend. Finally, for white wine drinkers, White Christmas is a light, neutral and fresh wine with a hint of floral and honey that will delight your taste buds.

Find a wine for your holiday events at

Uniquely Wisconsin
Nov. 14, 2016

As we roll into the holiday season, everyone is looking for that perfect gift to give or dish to serve. Give or serve something Uniquely Wisconsin by buying from companies that are part of the Something Special from Wisconsin program.

Something Special from Wisconsin started back in 1983 as a way for consumers to easily identify Wisconsin goods and services. Companies must attribute at least 50% of their processing, packaging or ingredients to Wisconsin to be eligible. Qualified companies can then display their products with a red Something Special from Wisconsin sticker that serves as a visual queue for consumers.

From flowers to cutting boards to hams to beard oil, Something Special from Wisconsin has something for everyone. Over the next four weeks, I’ll be highlighting products in my blog and on social media that are part of this program. So stay tuned for Uniquely Wisconsin food and gift ideas, and next time you are in the store, look for the red sticker to support local Wisconsin companies.

For a complete list of participating companies go to

Northstar Bison
Nov. 10, 2016

Wisconsin is known for its dairy farms, but did you know America’s Dairyland is also home to Bison?

Northstar Bison, of Rice Lake, helps bring this unique aspect of agriculture to the state. Now in its second generation, Northstar Bison was founded in 1994 by a power lifter that liked the nutritional benefit of grassfed bison meat. Bison meat has more protein and less fat compared to beef. He started raising his own bison as a hobby and then grew his hobby into a national business.

In addition to raising the bison, Northstar built their own processing plant in 2005. Each year they process around 2,000 bison, as well as beef, lamb, and pork. At market weight, a bison can weigh around 1,000 pounds.

Whether it is a cow or a bull, every bison Northstar raises is grassfed year round. Most cows have their calves during the spring. One fact I found very interesting was that a bison cow can alter their calving date based off of weather by 2 weeks. If in climate weather is coming, they will not calf until the storm has passed or they will wait to calf until other cows are ready as well.

Learn more about this unique aspect of Wisconsin agriculture at

Crystal Creek Naturals
Nov. 03, 2016

Recently, my Alice travels took me to the Northwest corner of the state. I spent two days exploring agriculture in the Rice Lake/Spooner area.

One of my visits was to Crystal Creek Naturals. Crystal Creek is a family owned business that started in a Wisconsin garage back in 1997 and has grown into an international company. They provide nutritional supplements, total feeds and animal health advice to livestock farmers. Their feed products cover the whole gamete, ranging from backyard poultry to large dairies.

As Ryan, the lead technical specialist, described the company and its mission, his passion for animal health really showed through. He was so excited to share the Crystal Creek is a problem solving company. They try to source the root cause of health issues on a farm and fix them from the bottom up. His and the company’s commitment to improving producer profitability was second to none.

To learn more about Crystal Creek visit their website.

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Contact the Alice In Dairyland Program at:
2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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