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Wisconsin produce, grains, cheese, and grass-fed meat

stevebass | Oct 22, 201311:19 AM

We were in Wisconsin on our six week road trip from California to the Great Lakes, and somewhere between Fenimore and Lancaster. DW spotted a small, interesting looking grocery store; it was probably the cheese curd sign that caught her eye. Despite the name, Sugar and Spice was an amazing place, small but very well-supplied.

The store owners get most of their stock from Mennonites and Amish and almost everything was in bulk, including Jell-O, grains, and goat summer sausage. We bought a few bags for the trip -- Bob's Creamy Buckwheat cereal and sweet kernel popcorn -- as well as cheese curds, fresh tomatoes, and cucumbers. They also sold hand-rolled butter, which we passed on.

In Lancaster we discovered the Carr Valley cheesery. Their supply was overwhelming: They had sheep, cow and goats-milk cheeses, and lots of different kinds of each. The friendly clerk gladly opened several cheeses to give us to taste. What they open for tastes gets re-sealed and sold in small pieces. It was ideal way for us to get a bunch of assorted cheeses to take with us.

We were passing through Viroqua, and the main street was down to one lane due to construction, so DW was able to spot a small store -- 7 Rivers sausage. Of course we stopped and bought a bunch of jerky and other stuff including two kielbasa. All the beef is grass-fed and locally raised.

A little farther through town we spotted a good-looking store – the Viroqua co-op. DW went in hoping for good bread, and when she hadn’t come out 10 minutes later, I went in after her. It was a great store, everything Whole Foods should be. Almost everything was organic, a good selection of meats, and lots of stuff in bulk, including dish washing and laundry detergents. They even had real spoons for the coffee with soapy water for dirty spoons. The clientele was long on dreadlocks, leg warmers over leggings, and wool caps -- a real Berkeley vibe. DW was looking for dense bread, so she talked with the baker, who was disappointed and embarrassed to report that they were between bakers so their stock was low. We ended up with the store’s one remaining style – a French baguette (which turned out to be delicious).

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