Local family-owned farm celebrates 100th anniversary

Local News

As the final push of the holiday shopping season continues, one local farm is selling organic holiday gifts and celebrating an important milestone.

Wheatfield Hill Organics in Durand has you covered with a variety of farm made gifts.

“100% certified organic, all farmstead crafted and grown here in our century farm,” said Chris Kees-Winkler of Wheatfield Hill Organics. “I think that’s very unique in the fact that it is all organic and that we make and grow it.”

Chris says most people come out to support local businesses, but their almost world famous toffee has people coming from around the Midwest.

“Toffee is probably our number one seller this time of year and then we do a 90% fruit berry topping made with our certified organic blueberries and raspberries,” said Chris. “Those toppings would probably be our second biggest seller.”

While you look around today and see a successful family operation with a unique gift shop, the history behind it is even more fascinating.

Chris says the farm has been in the family for over 100 years and her mother, Helen Simpson-Kees, reflected on that history.

“In 1887, my paternal grandfather, Robert Simpson, emigrated from Ireland and eventually found his way to Elroy and from Elroy to Pepin,” Helen said. “He moved to this farmstead in august of 1919.”

Helen said the work by her father and grandfather was courageous.

“I think of the courage it took for a 16 year old, really a boy, to leave the shores of Ireland and head for America and what a miracle it was that he found his way to this place,” she said. “And of course my father, to be able to at 12, take over and run the farm, support the family, and manage to keep the farm in the family through both economic and emotional troubling times.”

With the foundation laid generations before her, Helen is looking forward to the next 100 years.

“When I reflect on the farm today, I wonder what my grandparents and my parents would think. I hope they’d approve, I think they would, we work hard at it, we try to have fun, and the family gets to work together.”

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