Brittany Jaeger, dietitian

On July 19, members of Wisconsin Farm Bureau hosted the first ever “Farmer Led Progressive Dinner”. In under three hours, attendees toured and learned about three different farms in eastern Wisconsin while also enjoying nutritious, locally-grown food. It was a wonderful event to emphasize the amazing things local farmers are doing and highlight the fact that consumers are able to create healthy meals with locally-grown food.

Appetizer: Saxon Homestead

The first stop of the evening was Saxon Homestead in Cleveland. We got up close and personal to cows grazing on pasture and also learned how LaClare Farms and Saxon Homestead team up to create delicious cheese!

While at Saxon, we sampled their Big Ed’s Gouda and LaClare’s cranberry cinnamon goat cheese. Pairing cheese and crackers forms a healthy combination of protein, fat and carbohydrate. For a nutritious and balanced appetizer, I would recommend setting out some gouda, your favorite kind of cracker and some chopped veggies! Also – the cranberry cinnamon goat cheese would be amazing on a bagel or whole wheat toast for a delicious breakfast.

Main Course: Lake Orchard Farm

For the second stop of the night, the group traveled to Lake Orchard Farm. We enjoyed flavorful fish and steak tacos and a refreshing salad, all produced by Lake Orchard and Bushman Homestead.

In Wisconsin, we often enjoy our fish on a Friday night deep-fried with French fries and an old fashioned. If this resonates for you – live it! However, varying up our protein sources with fish cooked with healthier preparation methods such as baking, grilling or roasting can be a delightful way to improve our diets. Fish exist as a great source of protein and have a more favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio compared to meat of land animals!

Dessert: Bushman Homestead

The evening ended at Bushman Homestead with amazing varieties of pie! Bushman Homestead has animals on-site as well as a lovely shop with everything from burgers, brisket, pastys, ribs, and even house decor, homemade soap, and Amish-made pies. They graciously showed us the variety of animals they had on their farm, including pigs, donkeys, chicken, sheep and cattle.

A visit to Bushman’s could provide you with everything you need for a nutritious homemade meal or cookout – and I bet you’ll leave with a lot of other specialty items that you couldn’t resist!

Personally, I know I often take for granted the fact that I live in a state that is rich in agriculture and filled with people who are passionate about producing quality food for animals and for people. This evening just scratched the surface of the abundant resources in our area that enable us to create a healthy meal for our families, while also being able to trust where the food is coming from.

And remember: as important as it is to eat lean protein such as beef, chicken, and eggs along with fiber-rich carbohydrates and vegetables, don’t forget that there’s always room in your diet for a slice of pie if it makes you happy!