Photo by Oksanashufrych
If you’re on the hunt for locally sourced and produced dairy products, Driftless Wisconsin features an abundance of local creameries that you can explore in a single day, to create the perfect creamery and cheese tour filled day trip. With a prime location in southwestern Wisconsin, the agriculture industry flourishes in Driftless Wisconsin, providing fresh, local dairy and meat products that can be bought by visitors and locals alike at creameries throughout the region. A day of exploring the area can allow visitors to learn more about Driftless dairy farms and the process behind many of their favorite dairy and meat products. Plus it’s a great opportunity to support local farming operations and agriculture businesses in the area.
While there are many creameries in Driftless Wisconsin, a great way to get a taste of products from around the whole region, and to potentially find your new favorite dairy products, is by taking a day trip. This itinerary will take visitors to four different creameries throughout Vernon and Crawford counties, giving them plenty of opportunities for learning about dairy farms and how the products are made, and for purchasing products, too.
Photo by Getty Images
You’ll start your Driftless Wisconsin creamery and cheese tour in Cashton, Wisconsin at Pasture Pride Cheese. Get your day started early to make sure you have enough time to visit all five stops of the day, as the first destination opens at 9 am. There are many ways to drive to Cashton, depending on where you are coming from, but Highway 33 is one main road that will lead you into the downtown area. Then you can find Pasture Pride Cheese just off Highway 27 on Eagle Drive.
Pasture Pride Cheese has a prime location in the heart of Amish Country, which is represented in its cheese products. Their cheese is proudly crafted from milk produced at local Amish dairies. You can find a variety of products at Pasture Pride Cheese including Pasture Pride Cheddars, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Muenster, Colby, and Co-Jack. Visitors also might not want to miss out on their unique Finnish baked cheese called Juusto, which has a savory, buttery flavor. During your stop, you can also purchase a variety of cheese gift baskets, gourmet cheese, and organic cheese.
Photo by Getty Images
The next stop of the itinerary will be in Westby, Wisconsin, a lively, rural town with a strong Norwegian heritage. From Cashton, you can take Highway 27 all the way to Main Street in Westby, where you will find your next destination. Your next stop will be at the Westby Cooperative Creamery Plant, a local Westby creamery that offers local cheeses, yogurt, and butter. The Westby Cooperative Creamery is located in the “Heart of Dairy Country”, and has been operating locally since 1903.
The creamery is farmer-owned by more than 100 local farmers and their families who supply the milk for creating the creamery’s excellent dairy products. The actual creamery plant is located on Main Street in Westby, but you can stop at the Westby Cheese and Gift Store and the Westby Cooperative Creamery General Offices & Distribution Center to purchase cottage cheeses, sour creams, dips, yogurts, cream cheeses, and organic products. Both stores are located on Main Street and are also great places to learn about the whole Westby Cooperative Creamery operation.
Photo by Mark Grafton
Next, you’ll be hopping in the car again and heading just down the road to Nordic Creamery, which is also located in Westby on the Bekkum Farmstead. The creamery opens at 10 am Monday through Saturday, and 11 am on Sundays and is open to the public year round. You will be welcomed by Farmer Al and the Bekkum family, who own and operate the farm and the creamery, making and selling butters, ice creams, and cheeses.
Tours of the farm are only offered to large groups and must be arranged in advance, but depending on the day and time of your visit you may get the unique chance to see cheese or butter being made. Besides dairy products, you can purchase beef and pork, regionally produced food, gifts, and Nordic Creamery t-shirts. After learning more about the farm and the products, visitors can enjoy a scoop or two of the creamery’s Wisconsin made ice cream. Sit on the outdoor picnic tables with your family or friends and enjoy the view of Vernon County’s lush, green hills and valleys and the farm.
After your visit, this is a great opportunity to stop and grab lunch somewhere in Driftless Wisconsin. There are a variety of places to eat in the Driftless, but one recommendation that is on the way to the next destination is Viroqua Family Restaurant.
Photo by Getty Images
If you time the day out right, you should be finished with a break and your third stop of the day around 3:00pm. To find the next destination, Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery, from Westby you’ll head south on Highway 14 until you reach Viroqua. Then you’ll turn right on Highway 82 and left onto Highway 27 until you reach Mt. Sterling, WI.
Mt. Sterling is a Wisconsin village noted for its history of cheese making and is the current home of Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery, which specializes in goat cheese. Similar to the Westby Cooperative Creamery, the Mt. Sterling Co-op is also run by a variety of local farmers who produce the milk needed to create the cheeses and butters. During your visit, you can purchase Goat Feta, Goat Mozzarella, Pasteurized Goat Cheddars, Raw Milk Goat Cheddars, Whey Cream Butter, and more.
Photo by Suvrajit
From the creamery at Mt. Sterling visitors will be headed to the very southern border of Driftless Wisconsin to Boscobel, Wisconsin for the next and final creamery destination of the day. The final drive will take about 30 minutes, but you’ll be driving through one of the many scenic areas of the Driftless Region near the Lower Wisconsin River. Once you arrive in Boscobel you will find Udder Brothers Creamery, a family farming operation called Hi Grove Holsteins, which is run by twin brothers Justin and Jason Sparrgrove and their families.
Along with dairy products and ice cream, the creamery has local beef, lamb, eggs, salsa products, and more. If you’re up for a second dose of authentic creamery ice cream, you can choose from 24 flavors of hand dipped ice cream and frozen yogurt. Visitors can also purchase an early dinner deal, including a sandwich, chips or yogurt, and a drink. The owners will be more than happy to inform visitors about their story, process, and products, so you can learn about the operation during your visit and enjoy your final creamery stop of the day.
If you are interested in more agritourism trip itineraries in Driftless Wisconsin, there is a fun two day agritourism itinerary to try, too.