Fall Tour Connects Farmers & Consumers

The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer’s Association will be hosting their annual Fall Tour Oct. 13-14 in Northwestern Wisconsin. The tour will begin with an optional Friday evening tour of Leinenkugel’s Brewery at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, registration starts at 7:30 a.m. at Roth Sugar Bush in Cadott.

Lunch is at the Wells Farm Learning Center. The tour is open to all ages.

The Friday night tour cost is $16. The cost of the Saturday tour is $40 per person, 12 and under $30 which includes Saturday’s tours with bus transportation and lunch.

You can register for one day or both days at www.wismaple.org, by mail, or by contacting Theresa Baroun at (920) 680-9320.

Hotel accommodations are available at a reduced rate at AmericInn by Wyndham in Chippewa Falls. Registration deadline is Sep. 30.

Tour stops include:

Leinenkugel’s Brewery, Chippewa Falls

In May 1867, Jacob Leinenkugel founded the family brewery in Chippewa Falls. Today, the company involves the sixth generation family members. They bring the same family-inspired recipes that Jacob poured his heart and soul into to consumers across the country.

Marieke Gouda, Thorp

Marieke Penterman was born and raised on her parents’ sixty cow dairy farm in the Netherlands. She and her husband Rolf Penterman emigrated to Thorp, WI to start a 350-cow dairy in May 2002. Just months after crafting her first batch of Gouda, she captured a gold award at the US Champion Cheese Contest in 2007. In late 2013, the Penterman family opened a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility along Highway
29 in Thorp. It includes a store and viewing windows to see the farm and cheesemaking from up

Black River Orchard, Withee

For Barb & Gordy Finkelson, their Black River Orchard is an apple hobby gone wild with about
950 apple trees growing in their 10-acre orchard. Black River Orchard officially put its roots down in 2001 and has grown over the years from a handful of trees to rows upon rows of a variety of apple trees, including Zestar, Honey Crisp, Connell Red, Cortland, McIntosh, Snow White, and Kinder Crisp to name a few. They also have their own beehives for apple pollination and to extract honey to sell.

Wells Farm Learning Center, Owen

The Wells Farm Learning Center welcomes students and community members to gather and learn in a direct real-world experience of farm operations and animal husbandry. Dee and Jerry Wells purchased the farm in early 2021 to add the acreage to their existing cash crop operation in the Owen-Withee area. The Farm Learning Center is in the center of town. The barn has been refurbished to comfortably house a variety of livestock, some of which are permanent residents and other animals on loan from other local farms.

Owen-Withee FFA Sugar Bush

The school forest has trails, wetlands, water features, and maple trees. Encouraged by the Board of Education, and with the help of the FFA Alumni and maple industry representatives, the FFA installed a maple sap collection system in the fall of 2017 on approx. thirty acres to collect maple sap. The operation features over ten miles of tubing connecting approximately 1,900 trees. It is the largest FFA-operated maple system in Wisconsin. FFA members are able to collect real-time data to monitor vacuum level, temperature, and sap flow to quickly identify issues with the tubing and maximize overall production.

Engel’s Sugar Bush, Owen

Since 1983, the Engel family has celebrated the coming of spring by collecting and processing maple sap from over 4,700 trees on ninety acres of woodland one mile south of Highway 29 between Owen and Curtiss. The state-of-the-art operation consists of miles of tubing that collects sap from each tree, a high-
capacity vacuum pump to draw sap even on the coldest of spring days, and stainless-steel holding tanks to ensure sap quality.

Brubaker Sugar Bush, Thorp

In 2009, Curvin and Arlene Brubaker started out in the maple business in Thorp, WI. Today they process from 1,000 of their taps and buy sap from another 5,000 taps for a total of 6,000 taps.