There are very few foods as delicious as a perfectly ripe strawberry, a ready-to-pick apple, or a field of homegrown herbs and vegetables. Wisconsin’s rich history of agritourism means that there are countless opportunities across the state to see (and taste!) those experiences for yourself and with others.
Visiting the Badger State’s many farms and orchards—and picking your own vegetables and produce—is not only a fun way to spend a day with friends and family, but also a great way to learn about Wisconsin’s farming culture, energize your senses, and reconnect to the outdoors in an unexpected way. And a bonus: you’ll have plenty of fresh food to take home with you as a souvenir.
We’ve put together a list of great “pick your own” experiences in Wisconsin and have even included recipes you can use to bring your harvest to the next delicious level.
Pick Your Own Apples: Erickson’s Orchard, Bayfield
The family roots run as deep as those of the apple trees at this Erikson's Orchard in Bayfield, with the Erickson family having been in the business of planting, growing, and selling apples and berries (which they also run as a pick-your-own operation) since 1954. After you’ve filled up a bushel or two, head to their Country Store to stock up on all things apple: apple cider, pies, muffins, apple squares, apple sauce, and of course, Muriel Erickson’s apple cider donuts, made from her secret recipe.
Here’s another recipe from Muriel — her Glazed Fresh Apple Cookies.
Glazed Fresh Apple Cookies
- 4 ½ c. flour
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c. shortening
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 ⅔ c. brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. apple cider, orange juice, or milk
- 2 c. finely chopped apple, unpeeled
- 1 c. raisins
- 1-2 c. nuts
Sift together flour and spices. Cream chopped apples. Add dry ingredients. Fold in raisins and nuts. Drop from spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Glaze while hot and remove from pan.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 ½ c. confectioners’ sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 ½ tbsp apple cider, orange juice, or milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla
Cream butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in apple juice and vanilla. (Do not use vanilla when using orange juice). For best results, enjoy with good company.
Pick Your Own Cherries: Meleddy Cherry Orchard, Sturgeon Bay
Season: Mid-July to Late Summer (Call ahead to confirm!)
The cooler spring months and unique soil composition of Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula made it an ideal spot for growing cherries for early farmers in the area—and today, that legacy is still going strong. Meleddy Cherry Orchard is a 40-acre farm south of Sturgeon Bay that offers pick-your-own Montmorency tart cherries, the first cherry variety planted on the peninsula in the late 1850s that helped to cement Door County’s reputation for being “Cherryland USA.” A tip: If you happen to be in Door County between mid-May and mid-June, be sure to stop and admire the cherry trees in bloom.
After you grab a pail of cherries at Meleddy’s, consider making a batch of these cherry muffins.
Door County Cherry Muffins
- 2 c. tart Door County cherries, drained
- 2 ½ c. flour
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ⅔ c. oil
- 1 c. milk
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until completely mixed. Stir Door County cherries into the batter, and place batter into lined muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool, and share the goodness.
Pick Your Own Vegetables: The Tree Farm, Cross Plains
Season: Late June - Early November (Call ahead to confirm!)
What initially began as a cut-your-own Christmas-tree operation over 50 years ago—with a garden big enough to feed a small family on the side—transformed over the years into The Tree Farm, a 100-acre farm outside of Cross Plains that grows 50 types of vegetables, 20 kinds of flowers, and several kinds of herbs over 15 acres of land. Asparagus and rhubarb are often available by appointment in May and June, with the farm open regularly from late June through early November. Not sure what’s available? Check the farm’s website for daily updates on what’s available to pick, and what’s in limited supply.
Quiche is a great way to use all of your just-picked veggies, and this veggie quiche recipe will let you use whatever you have on hand (and it’s a great reason to include your favorite Wisconsin cheese!).
Wisconsin Veggie Quiche
- 1 frozen pie shell
- 2 ½ cups finely chopped veggies such as zucchini, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, asparagus, and peppers
- 5 large eggs
- ½ cup half and half or low-fat milk
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp ground pepper or white pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg or dried tarragon
- 1 ½ cups freshly shredded cheese, such as cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere, or Swiss, divided
Arrange oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine veggies and ¼ cup water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with a layer of parchment and plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Carefully remove cover (watch for steam) and drain the veggies in a sieve.
Whisk eggs, half and half, mustard, salt, garlic powder, pepper and nutmeg or tarragon in a large bowl. Stir in the veggies and 1 cup cheese. Pour the egg mixture into the crust, and top with the remaining ½ cup cheese.
Transfer the baking sheet to the rack in the lower third of the oven and bake until the center of the quiche is lightly puffed and crust is golden, about 40-50 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Pick Your Own Blueberries: Rush River Produce, Maiden Rock
Season: Mid to Late Summer
Located a few miles off Highway 35, Wisconsin’s Great River Road, Rush River Produce boasts nine acres—and 14 varieties—of blueberries for the picking, usually in July and August. The farm is a family operation and a family-friendly operation, with plenty of picnic tables, flower gardens, and room to roam for families with children. In addition to the blueberries, the farm also has smaller crops of black, red, and white currants as well as gooseberries. After your berry picking is done, be sure to head to the scenic overlook just a short distance away—Rush River’s fields overlook the scenic Rush River Valley.
When you get home, put those berries to good use by making a batch of Rush River’s famous blueberry sauce.
Measure out 1-2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, depending on how much sauce you want.
Warm berries in saucepan on medium heat until blueberries warm up, simmer briefly.
Add ¼ to ½ cup of sugar to taste. Stir and enjoy. Great on cake with whipped cream, French toast, yogurt, or ice cream.
Pick Your Own Flowers: The Flower Bee, Franksville
Season: Late Summer to Early Fall (Check their website ahead of time!)
A feast for the eyes instead of the mouth, pick-your-own flower farms have started to increase in popularity in Wisconsin, and with good reason—fresh cut flowers in your home are a simple joy on its own, but picking those blooms yourself is infinitely more enjoyable. The Flower Bee, located in rural Racine County, promises a colorful yet relaxing activity for friends, bachelorette parties, family events, and more. Depending on the week, you’ll be treated to a mix of dahlias, snapdragons, sunflowers, cosmos, and other blooms.
More Farms and Orchards to Explore
In addition to the ones listed here, there are plenty of other pick-your-own experiences to check out around the state. For a few more, head to Thompson Strawberry Farm in Bristol during the summer and fall for plenty of strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins, and sunflowers; Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm on Washington Island for lavender bouquets July through October; and peaches and pears (and more apples, of course!) at Apple Holler in Sturtevant in summer and fall. No matter what, there’s an adventure for every kind of produce you’d like to pick.
To discover more one-of-a-kind Wisconsin culinary experiences, explore this directory!