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Leadership Kenosha — May 2024


Since Kenosha lost its heavy manufacturing, agriculture has grown to be a significant revenue source for the surrounding area. Our cohort visited two of the producers of Wisconsin’s notable agricultural products, cow’s milk and apples.

Mighty Grand Dairy was founded in 1997, now milking 520 dairy cows and farming 1,100 acres. Due to pressure from fixed dairy prices, competition, rising supply and machinery costs, and increasing regulatory compliance, MGD makes the most of everything Kenosha County has to offer. Nothing is wasted; everything is integrated into a finely-tuned cow paradise of sorts. Comfortable and healthy cows produce the highest quality and quantities of milk. From the grain and silage produced by conscientiously rotated farm fields and nutrient-dense surplus from another food producer (crushed chocolate chip cookies) and grower (pressed pulp from cider apples) to re-utilizing cooling water and unsaleable milk, each of MGD’s cows produces on average 100 pounds of milk per day from about 100 pounds of nutritionally tailored feed mix. Milking machines pump fresh milk three times a day through a cooling unit and into refrigerated tankers for transport to Grande Cheese.

Brightonwoods Orchard also makes the most of all the County has to offer as well, growing 200 varieties of apples and pears for eating and sweet cider. The Orchard also propagates and sells vintage and modern apple varieties through systematic grafting. These horticulturists make the most of growing space by using high-density plantings, about seven feet tall and two to three feet apart. Those who tend the trees pluck off the lesser apples in each five-bloom cluster by the end of June to channel nutrients to the largest fruit. In the late summer and fall the public can sample forty to sixty eating varieties of apples to take home. Fruit that does not make the cut for display is sorted into seconds and cider apples. Cider makers draw 180 bushels (about forty pounds per bushel) per day equally from firsts, seconds, and cider to sort, wash, and press into 650 gallons of juice. The pressed pulp is not wasted; it is trucked to nearby Mighty Grand Dairy as a high-nutrient feed additive.

AeppelTreow Winery and Distillery utilizes some of the apple and pear juices to formulate their hard cider, sparkling wine, and fruited brandy. A liquor chemist monitors output from a Kentucky bourbon still for the optimal spirit quality. The Winery offers free tastings on Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm and on Sundays from noon to 4 pm. There are a plethora of agricultural products to enjoy in Kenosha County!

—Ana McKinley

Posted on

May 17, 2024


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