Pull up a Seat & Let's Eat

Around the Farm Table returns for fifth season on WPT

by Amanda Luft, photos by Mark Aumann

Inga Witscher
Inga Witscher

We’ve watched Inga Witscher interview a wide variety of farmers and small-scale food production experts across Wisconsin – and create amazing dishes from their ingredients – for the past four seasons of Around the Farm Table on Wisconsin Public Television.

“The folks we meet along the way are so passionate and inspiring. They make me want to be a better farmer and give me the confidence to try new things.” – INGA WITSCHER, host of Around the Farm Table

And if you’re like me, you’ll be thrilled the show will be back for its fifth season in October! Viewers will follow along as Inga visits the Bayfield Food Cooperative in Ashland, Tamarack Garlic Farm (where she got some pointers on growing garlic for her first-ever garlic sale – see below) and Echart Orchard in Trempealeau, and cheese caves in Door County, among other fascinating places.

One of the highlights we can expect in season five is a lunch hosted at Ten Chimneys, the Milwaukee-area estate of famed Broadway actors Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. “The home is filled with hand-painted murals and crystal chandeliers,” Inga explained. “We were the first people to be able to film there.” We’ll also watch as she gets her farmer neighbors to try yoga for the first time.

You’ll want to tune in to this season, because there’s a slim chance it could be the last for Around the Farm Table. “I’m not sure where the show will grow from here,” said Inga, who operates an organic dairy farm near Osseo when she isn’t on camera. “Part of me would like to take a break for a few seasons and put more focus into my own farm. I would love to have my own creamery up and going by next year. But if we do continue next year I hope to introduce the viewers to more guests chefs. It’s so much fun for me to cook alongside people and learn new things.”

But to be sure, Inga loves working on Around the Farm Table. “Being a part of this show is truly an amazing experience,” she said. “The folks we meet along the way are so passionate and inspiring. They make me want to be a better farmer and give me the confidence to try new things.”

“It’s such a joy to work alongside my father, Rick,” she continued. “He produces the show, directs it, and comes up with the stories. And he’s the one that make my kitchen look so cute when we film the cooking segment!”

The show is more than entertaining. It boosts awareness and revenue for small family farms across the state. When I asked Inga what, in her opinion, is so important about local farming, she said, “Supporting your local farmers is supporting your local economy. These farmers pay great attention to soil health, resulting in healthier food for your family.”

Expand your knowledge of Wisconsin family farms and cooking with local ingredients by watching season 5 of Around the Farm Table. But before you do that, be sure to check out …

The First Ever Garlic Sale at St. Isidore’s Mead

Small farmers must diversify in order to stay afloat (hence burger night at Together Farms and other farm-centric events in the area). Because garlic is so versatile and delicious and keeps well, Inga decided to try garlic as a way to diversify her farm, St. Isidore’s Mead.

In September, Inga and her family will host a Garlic Sale at the farm. Everyone’s invited to come out and bring a picnic. The whole family will be on site to show guests how to milk cows and plant garlic. They’ll even introduce you to the cows, chickens, pigs, and horses. Bring some rubber boots and play in the barnyard with the animals.

And when you’ve exhausted the farm’s delights (if that’s even possible), you can purchase some of the lovely purple-tinged garlic they’ve so lovingly grown on the farm. (Cash or check only for garlic purchases, please.)

“We put a lot of love into the garlic we will be selling,” Inga said. “We spent a great deal of time preparing the soil so the garlic would be grown in healthy organic matter. Fresh garlic tastes so much different than the garlic you’ll find at the grocery store. It’s truly a culinary experience!”

The Garlic Sale is Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16-17 from 10am-5pm. Directions to St. Isidore’s Mead (aka “the farm”): From Osseo take U.S. Highway 53 south (at the Kwik Trip) for 4.5 miles. Turn right onto County Road E. Continue for about a mile; the farm is on the left.

Around the Farm Table airs Thursdays at 7:30pm on Wisconsin Public. Season 5 premieres in October.