The story of "WILFERT FARMS"
Wilfert Farms began in 1877 as a 120-acre family farm raising chickens, pigs and cows. In the past century, the small family farm has grown and developed into our present day modern agricultural enterprise, while maintaining its identity as a family farm.
Joseph Wilfert, the original owner, would have six children. His oldest son, John, would take over the farm. In 1916, John's younger half-brother, Martin, would acquire a neighboring farm of 120-acres. When John died in 1941, the estate farm was sold to Robert and Shirley Wilfert. Robert was the son of Martin Wilfert. Through the 40's and 50's many improvements were made to the farm.
In 1962, Martin sold his farm and other farm assets to his son Robert. Because of the hard work and many long hours involved with farming, Robert and Shirley encouraged their seven children to get college educations and find an easier way of life.
In 1977 as we became a "century farm", tragedy struck. Robert was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and as a result, he would never farm again. The dairy herd was liquidated and Shirley was left with a farm to operate. A swift transition was made from dairying to grain and hay farming. The Wilferts' two sons, William and David, took time out from their professional careers to keep the farm operating.
In 1978, William purchased the original Joseph Wilfert farm and David purchased the house on his grandfather Martin's farm. Bill would continue his professional career, but Dave would leave his job as a Sales Manager of a Midwest marketing company.
With Dave and Bill as informal partners, Wilfert Farms would continue to grow. A modern grain storage and drying facility and a custom farming business were added in the late 70's to early 80's. Things were good!
The Russian Grain Embargo of 1982 brought us back to reality. America was telling the world that they would use food as a weapon. Prices fell, cropland was set aside, and the market told us we needed to go in another direction. To diversify, green beans, peas, and carrot crops were added. With carrots needing abundant and regular watering, irrigation was added in the mid 80's.
The drought of 1988 brought devastation to crops in our area. Our irrigated peas soon became a much sought after commodity. Once again we turned a negative situation into a positive one, with the birth of our retail vegetable operation. As the 90's progressed, we added neighboring land as it became available. Asparagus, sweet corn, pumpkins, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, kohlrabi and a variety of other vegetables were added to our market.
Today the Wilfert tradition of quality continues. Dave and his wife Terri, oversee the day-to-day operations of Wilfert Farms. Although we still provide about 2% of the processed carrot tonnage in the state of WI, our farm market has become the center of our farming operation.
As we enter into the 21st century, the Wilfert Pumpkin Patch has become a tradition with many families. With 20 acres of pick your own pumpkins, hundreds of smiling faces leave here each week during the Fall season.
The on-farm market continues to grow in size, with a nice selection of produce from which to choose. People appreciate the chance to purchase produce that has come fresh from the field! Your grocery store can get it to you in 4 days; we can get it to you the same day!
We hope to see you soon.
Dave, Terri, Ryan & Kelly Wilfert