Local Food & Farm Sites to Discover: Northeast Iowa Farm Crawl
Posted: December 19, 2023 | Updated: December 29, 2023
Welcome to the scenic wonders of Northeast Iowa, a region brimming with agricultural treasures and delightful farm experiences. Embark on an enriching journey through lush orchards, charming wineries, and family-owned farms that celebrate the true essence of local produce and farm life. From savoring freshly picked apples to indulging in award-winning cheese curds, this itinerary promises a tapestry of flavors and immersive encounters.
Day 1: Allamakee County Exploration
8:00 AM – Empty Nest Winery
Start your day surrounded by the charm of a century-old family barn turned winery. Explore Empty Nest Winery and indulge in tastings of their “true to the fruit” wines, ciders, and seltzers.
10:00 AM – Peake Orchards
Head to Peake Orchards for a wagon ride through their vibrant orchards, relishing the crisp air and freshly picked apples in the midst of autumn’s colors.
2:00 PM – Pop’s Produce
Embrace the autumnal spirit at Pop’s Produce, where a variety of pumpkins, squash, and other seasonal delights await in this family-owned farm.
4:00 PM – WW Homestead Dairy
Conclude your day at the Cheese Curd Capital of Iowa, WW Homestead Dairy. Sample their award-winning cheese curds and take a behind-the-scenes tour of their production facilities.
Day 2: Clayton County Adventures
8:30 AM – Great River Maple
Embark on your day by exploring Great River Maple and indulge in their unparalleled maple syrup. Taste the pure essence of maple cream and bourbon-aged treats.
11:00 AM – Plagman Barn
Immerse yourself in agricultural history at Plagman Barn. Witness horse-powered machinery and experience antique tractor pulls, a nostalgic throwback.
Day 3: Fayette County Delights
9:00 AM – Country View Dairy
Start your day with farmstead yogurt delights at Country View Dairy. Join a tour and explore their farm store filled with wholesome products.
11:30 AM – Heaven Boutique Winery
Indulge in a unique wine tasting experience at Heaven Boutique Winery. Enjoy over 110 different Iowa wines and craft beer while exploring their picturesque vineyard.
2:00 PM – Red Rock Farms
Get up close and personal with a variety of animals at Red Rock Farms, a delightful stop for the whole family.
4:00 PM – Unionland Feed & Food Market
Conclude your day at the indoor farmers market, Unionland Feed & Food Market. Explore a variety of locally grown foods and unique Iowa food products.
Day 4: Howard & Initial Winneshiek County Exploration
9:00 AM – Norman Borlaug Boyhood Farm
Begin your day by delving into history at Norman Borlaug Boyhood Farm. Discover the birthplace and boyhood farms of the renowned “Father of the Green Revolution.”
11:30 AM – Frisky Fox Vineyard & Winery
Grab lunch and bring it to Frisky Fox Vineyard & Winery, where a vast selection of over 40 wines awaits amid a picturesque vineyard setting.
1:30 PM – Pinter’s Gardens and Pumpkins
Begin with a visit to Pinter’s Gardens and Pumpkins to wonder through their extensive greenhouses, shop their gift shop, and grab a sweet treat from the bakery. Plan your trip to hit this stop on a Saturday in October to visit the Pumpkin Patch offering pumpkin picking, corn mazes, hayrides, and an array of engaging activities for all ages.
5:00 PM – Convergence CiderWorks
Grab a bite to eat and a drink at Convergence CiderWorks. Explore the diversity of hardy apple varieties and sustainable farming practices.
Day 5: Extensive Winneshiek County Exploration
9:00 AM – Iowa’s Dairy Center
Explore the innovative operations at Iowa’s Dairy Center, where guided tours are available daily on most weekdays at 1 p.m. or by appointment, offering personalized insights into modern dairy farming. Witness the round-the-clock milking process at the Robotic and Parlor Milking Viewing Areas, open 24/7, where cows are milked by robots continuously, complemented by parlor milking sessions at 4 a.m., Noon, and 8 p.m. Immerse yourself in beef farming education at the Beef Education Center, open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and delve into the rich history of dairy farming at Iowa’s Dairy Museum, welcoming visitors Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Experience cutting-edge technology, farming practices, and educational opportunities defining modern dairy farming at this comprehensive center.
11:30 AM – Seed Savers Exchange
Explore the vast Seed Savers Exchange, where 890 acres of heirloom gardens, orchards, and heritage livestock breeds showcase natural beauty and agricultural heritage.
3:30 PM – Winneshiek Wildberry Winery
Conclude your Farm Crawl with a visit to Winneshiek Wildberry Winery. Enjoy a relaxed wine experience amidst rolling hills on this family-owned winery set on a 150-year-old farm.
As the Farm Crawl through Northeast Iowa draws to a close, the tapestry of experiences and flavors encountered across Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties leaves an indelible mark. From the crisp sweetness of freshly picked apples to the tantalizing aroma of aged maple syrup, the laughter-filled orchards, historic barns, and the rhythmic hum of modern dairy operations, each stop offered a unique glimpse into the heart of local farming traditions. Whether it was the bustling farmers markets or the serene vineyards, the interactive animal encounters or the educational farm tours, every moment celebrated the dedication and passion of local farmers. This journey through fertile landscapes, rich histories, and bountiful harvests reflects the essence of Northeast Iowa—a region where the roots of agriculture run deep, and the spirit of community thrives amidst the fields and pastures. Until we embark on our next adventure, may these memories of farm-fresh delights linger, inspiring a deeper appreciation for the journey from soil to table and the remarkable stories woven into each harvest.