SOUTH ROAD FARM
A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS
We discovered the land in 1998, although we didn’t know then what it was to become. Our family had just moved from Pennsylvania to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. After viewing a handful of historic homes downtown, we decided to build a country home in the exurbs – on a rural rustic road about 3 miles east of the lake. Here – on South Road – is where we raised our 3 children before each of them launched, every few years or so into their adult lives via UW-Madison. Mark worked in healthcare administration at a nearby healthcare system and Shirley, a CPA by training, became a founding partner at the Burlington accounting firm of Bahr and Kadlec, Ltd.
Fast forward to 2009, when career twists, family celebrations and expansions took us across the Midwest and beyond for the next 8 years. First we relocated to Grand Rapids, MI during the Great Recession and were unable to sell our home because of the weak housing market. That inconvenience turned out to be a blessing in disguise when we decided to return to Wisconsin. After years of individual and collective movement across WI, IL, MI, IN, NY we came home to begin something new, rooted in something familiar.
We always loved plants and gardening and the ideas of sustainable farming and living. During our time away from Wisconsin, we discovered permaculture and here and there we were able to implement some of the principles on the land over several of those years away. We added some of our first fruit tree guilds and planted some permanent agricultural plants like apple trees, asparagus, rhubarb and various herbs.
In 2017, following another career move for Mark, we came back to our property on South Road with plans for house renovations and regeneration of the land. What made us think we could take on a micro-farm project? We were both recovering financial experts with entrepreneurial spirits and good business sense guiding us in this new endeavor.
So we started working on what Mark later coined our oasis of Edibles, Medicinals and Beautifuls. We created several gardens by transforming the property using permaculture principles - with help from those who have gone before us – spaces for fruit and nut trees, berry and super fruit bushes as well as many pollinator-attracting herbs and flowers. We added a large annual garden plot offering some unique produce for chefs to help fund the longer-term production and eventual sale of permaculture produce. Mark took an intensive course on permaculture design and received his Permaculture Design Certificate. Hardworking bees and some chickens helped us grow and mature these initial permaculture areas
Here are some people that helped us implement our vision:
OUR RESIDENT FARMER, CASEY
Casey came to us serendipitously…she previously farmed for a local restaurant and wanted to expand her knowledge of permaculture. It was a match made in heaven for us. She has a degree from UW-Oshkosh in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Management and has worked on many different size organic farms, at various farmer markets and on-site farm stores. She also manages 20 beehives for a private family estate and keeps chickens. Her newest project is installing an acre of lavender and raising monarch butterflies. She says her favorite project is South Road Farm.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
Our passion and mission is to provide healthy and delicious plants and produce using organic and sustainable regenerative agricultural practices. This fruit of the land can be used for creative and healthy cooking as well as making tinctures and teas that nourish the body. We want to encourage people to eat seasonally and locally as much as possible and educate all who inquire on the possibilities for their own use and development.
We are located a stone’s throw from the picturesque downtown of Lake Geneva and a short drive from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison and all parts in between.
In addition to selling our crops and produce we offer educational tours of our micro-farm. Learn how you can implement some or all of these practices in a residential setting. Or just come see what we are doing! Email us to set up a tour appointment.