Wisconsin Beef Council’s Farm-to-Fork Tour Connects Culinary Chefs and Students to the Farm

by ratkinson17. May 2013 08:00

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, May 10, 2013 — Meeting a beef farmer, stepping into his farm’s green pastures and touring a meat processing facility, isn’t the everyday norm for chefs and culinary students in southeastern Wisconsin. Yet for these professionals, recently they followed the "life of a sirloin steak" from a local beef cattle farm, Huth Polled Herefords to Brandon Meats and Sausage, an award-winning family-owned and operated meat processing facility in Fond du Lac County.

For more than 55 chefs and culinary students the farm and meat processing plant became the classroom during a “pasture to plate” tour of Wisconsin's beef value chain.

"The Farm-to-Fork Tour was truly an eye opening experience," says Chef Zac Benson of The Pine Lodge Restaurant at Heartwood Conference Center in Trego. "To be able to see where our beef and dairy products are coming from and positive impact these family farms have on the local economy, is truly special."

The tour connected the dots of the beef value chain from farmer, processor, restaurant to end consumer. Chefs from Mr. B's A Bartolotta Steakhouse, Brookfield; The Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery, Kohler; among culinary students from Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) learned about new beef cuts today's health conscious consumer’s desire. Participants gained an understanding of modern farming practices, sustainability, food safety and nutrition. The Beef N' Beer Tasting pairing MPTC culinary student inspirations with local craft brews topped off the tour.

"Helping connect culinary professionals to a beef producer, meat crafter and beef educational experts is vital," says John Freitag, Executive Director of Wisconsin Beef Council. "By showcasing new beef cuts to add value to menus while communicating with foodservice professionals who directly impact consumer’s choices strengthens the understanding of beef in today’s food chain.” 

In addition to the beef farm tour, attendees toured a modern dairy farm, Vir-Clar Farms. This family dairy farm milks 1,400 dairy cows, raises dairy beef cattle and recycles waste using an on-farm bio-energy digester to power 400 Fond du Lac area homes. Wisconsin's dairy influence offers consumer choices from the many Holstein dairy beef cattle speckling our landscape.

"I was pleased to learn that farmers not only take excellent care of their animals, but also the environment around them making this a sustainable industry," says Lisa Hitchcock, Chef de Cuisine at The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. "The tour gives a detailed look into the entire process of what it takes for us to create and enjoy a delicious meal with beef."

For culinary professionals interested in attending a future "Farm-to-Fork" tour, contact Angela Horkan, Director of Marketing at Wisconsin Beef Council amh@beeftips.com at 608.833.9941. Chefs can also earn continuing educational credits by attending.

For delicious recipes, grilling tips and ways to fuel up with lean beef, visit www.beeftips.com  or call 1-800-728-BEEF today.    

The Wisconsin Beef Council is a checkoff-funded, producer-directed organization dedicated to building demand for beef and veal through promotion, consumer education and research. The WBC continues its work to improve the demand for beef and veal through well-planned programs throughout Wisconsin.

Jerry Huth, a beef farmer speaks to the care of raising cattle at his family farm, Huth Polled Herefords in Oakfield.


Culinary professionals tour Vir-Clar Farms, a family dairy farm who milks 1,400 dairy cows, raises dairy beef cattle and recycles waste using an on-farm bio-energy digester to power 400 Fond du Lac area homes.

Chefs get a behind the scenes tour at Brandon Meats and Sausage. This award-winning meat crafter has two generations working in the meat processing business.