Harvesting Heroes: Garden Valley Farmstead building a sustainable future and creating a legacy for the next generation

Harvesting Heroes

JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – We’ve been celebrating hardworking farmers and the agricultural industry this year in our segment harvesting heroes.

Connecting people with where their food comes from, building community and doing it all together as a family.

In our final harvesting heroes Maria Blough takes us to Jackson county to meet a farm family focused on creating a legacy for the next generation. 

“It’s a love for the land, a love for the cattle and being out with them all the time.”

Justin and Darci Daniels moved from southeastern Wisconsin to Hixton in 2011.

Two years later they started milking cows.

All the responsibilities of living on a farm wasn’t something new to the Daniel’s.

Both grew up in farm families and say there’s nothing else they’d rather do.

“I’ve always wanted to be a farmer. I think you can ask my parents and anybody that knew me growing up is that I think that I’ve always had a passion for farming. I love working one on one with agricuture and with mother nature.”

It’s a labor of love for the Jackson county couple–tackling every aspect together.

“We are the ones that are providing the care for the animals, putting up the feed. This is a place. On this farm, we do mostly everything ourselves.”

In addition to milking cows, the Daniels raise beef cattle, chickens, and more with the helping hands of their three children.

Even delving into pork a few years back after a special request from their son.

“Our neighbor raised pigs and I just wanted to be like him.”

Before his parents agreed, Weston was tasked with proving his determination.

“Mom told me that I had to feed a calf every morning and night, so I could raise these pigs.”

After 10 weeks of work, Weston got his pigs.

To connect consumers with all the farm raised animals, the Daniel’s opened up a store right on the farm 5 years ago.

There they sell meat, eggs plus a Wisconsin staple.

“We also sell cheese that’s made at the creamery where we sell our milk to, so it’s all from local farms in the area. It gives us more variety of cheese for our customers to have and still local product to help support not only us but our neighboring farms as well too.”

Supporting other farmers and focusing on community is something that drives the Daniel’s as they continue to grow their roots

From farm tours to fall fests, they work to bring people in.

“Any time we can get people here, so they can experience the farm, I think it benefits everybody, and so that’s why it’s a lot of work to put on on-farm events, you know because it’s a farm and there’s chores to do 365 days a year. but we go the extra mile to bring our community here because, you know, we’re a community.”

Another driving force for the Daniel’s: the future.

“Every year we try to make it more and more sustainable for the next generation, and keeping soil health up for the next generation.”

“We try to take the focus off the right now and think about 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road and what kind of impact we’re leaving through all the decisions we make every day.”

For harvesting heroes, Maria Blough first news at nine. 

In addition to their on-farm store, the Daniel’s sell their products online.

Darci also has a blog where she shares recipes and hopes to inspire people to eat healthy, farm fresh food. 

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