Monday, May 03, 2010

Weber Dairy

Ever passed through a farmstead dairy drive thru to pick up your week's supply of fresh milk, plus an ice cream cone for the ride home?

Located just 3/4 of a mile outside Marshfield, Wisconsin at 9706 County Road H, Weber Dairy features a retail farmstead store built next to a set of silos with a wooden wagon and fiberglass cow statue sitting outside. It is the stereotypical, picturesque Wisconsin dairy farm, complete with red barns and green tractors, with a state-of-the-art milk bottling facility and very efficient farmstead dairy store, featuring a drive-thru window.

I pulled in on a Saturday afternoon, attempted to find a place to park on the gravel driveway between the line-up of cars going through the drive-thru, and another set of cars belonging
to customers who were inside shopping. The gal working the counter was amazingly keeping up with the traffic flow -- selling bags of milk as fast as humanly possible out the drive-thru window, and making ice cream sundaes and cones for the customers standing inside.

A little background: Weber Dairy started in 1904 when Peter and Elizabeth Weber purchased the farm. It was later purchased by their son, John, who then sold it to his son, John, one of five children that delivered raw milk and cream door-to-door until he purchased in in 1951. In 1955, Weber's Farm Store was established as a retail outlet, and customers brought their own milk containers until 1959, when the law changed and Weber's began bottling milk in glass bottles. Shortly after, a drive-thru window was started for faster service, and ever since, about 90 percent of the store's business has occurred through that window.

In 1973, the glass bottles were converted to plastic bags. Today, they're available in 1/2 gallon pouches, bundled together so you can buy a gallon of milk at a time. The family produces, processes and retails their milk from their herd of 260 Holstein cattle, all in the same location, and even sells cheese from its sister cheese plant, Nasonville Dairy, a result of an addition to the business in 1995, when Ken, Kelvin and Kim Heiman purchased the enterprise. Ken's wife, Joellen (Weber) Heiman, manages the store.

The business is renowned in the Marshfield area, with just about everyone you talk to buying their milk at the farm, most cruising through the drive-thru window six days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. After ordering a "small" ice cream cone that was the size of my arm from my wrist to my elbow, I drove into Marshfield to visit a new retail wine & cheese shop owned by Chuck McCauley. I had heard about the shop - called Market on Sixth - from a friend who gave it rave reviews, so wanted to stop by and check it out.

I had expected a little hole in the wall with a few bottles of wine and a dozen cheeses, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked in and was greeted with a vast expanse of hundreds of wines from around the world and an impressive cut-to-order cheese counter featuring 50 of the best Wisconsin artisan cheeses being made today.

Liz, the manager, must have taken notice of my dropped jaw, because she immediately came over and asked if I was new to the store. She gave me a great little tour, explaining with enthusiasm the different wine and cheese selections, and gave me a flyer with upcoming events. All I can say is - wow - what an awesome shop. If you live anywhere near the Marshfield area, it's a must-see.

Market on Sixth is featuring Saturday wine tastings on May 15, June 19, July 17 and August 21 and hosting a few classes, open by registration only. I'd recommend the "Midsummer Wine & Cheese Festival" on August 7. Call 715-387-2000 for more info.

3 comments:

Uriah said...

A zebra cone!

genhob said...

Love Weber dairy. Great prices/value on their ice cream treats. Was just in there 2 weeks ago. My grandparents always bought their milk there. Now that my parents are no longer farming, my mom buys milk there (always a good excuse to get a treat as long as you are there....). :-)

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