Congratulations to the 2018 Local Hero Award Winners!
By Wendy Allen | Photos By Contributed 0
A huge thank you to the hundreds of people who cast a vote for our Local Hero Awards finalists! The winners were chosen by you—our readers—in an open voting process, which makes this award even more special to the recipients. These awards go beyond simply supporting local food. Local Heroes demonstrate leadership in our communities by using environmentally and socially responsible business practices. They produce some of the highest quality products and services in our region. And they clearly demonstrate a commitment to creating a positive economic impact for a robust local food system.
The results were incredibly close in a few categories, showing just how much Wisconsinites love their local farmers, food businesses, artisans and nonprofits. Let’s give a hand for this year’s Local Heroes!
Kevin and Keely Oppermann
Highland Spring Farm
Oregon | highlandspringfarm.com
Kevin and Keely Oppermann are committed to raising their cattle, pigs and chickens on pasture, using a daily rotational grazing system for optimal animal and pasture health. They have chosen to raise heritage Scottish Highland cows, which are efficient grazers, hardy in Wisconsin’s cold winters, and produce a highly flavorful, leaner meat.
Madison | brasseriev.com
Local and seasonal sourcing has been an integral part of Brasserie V's mission since its opening in 2007, currently accounting for more than 50% of the restaurant’s purchasing. Chef Stephen joined the restaurant in 2014 as sous chef and took the reins as head chef in 206. He has continued to work with many of Brasserie V’s longtime partners as well as forged a number of new partnerships with farmers and artisan producers. With his commitment and leadership, Brasserie V received the 2017 REAP Golden Beet award for exceptional commitment to conscious cooking with integrity.
Anna Thomas Bates and Anna Landmark
Landmark Creamery Provisions
Paoli | landmarkcreamery.com
Landmark Creamery crafts small-batch, seasonal, award-winning cheeses from the milk of cows, sheep and water buffalo. “The Annas” launched Landmark Creamery in 2013, and after being “a bit nomadic” for a few years, they’ve settled into their storefront in Paoli. Here, they make grilled cheese sandwiches, cheeseboards and sling award-winning cheeses from across Wisconsin and the region. They also feature local jams, nuts, crackers, pasture-grazed meat and more. They age their cheeses behind the shop in four temperature- and humidity-controlled curing rooms.
Andy Hatch and Scott Mericka
Dodgeville | uplandscheese.com
Andy Hatch and Scott Mericka purchased their farm from the previous owners in 2014, ensuring the future of a dairy farm where cows have been milked for more than 100 years. Today, the cows are rotationally grazed and seasonally milked, ensuring the health of both the land and the cows. In their partnership, Scott manages the farm, and Andy makes the cheese. Uplands Cheese makes make two award-winning cheeses: Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve.
Green County | soilsisterswi.org
Soil Sisters is an informal network of women farmers that has been meeting for more than 8 years, providing peer-based learning, networking and support. The group hosts the popular Soil Sisters event in August each year, bringing the public out to more than 20 women-owned and -run farms for three days of tours, workshops and on-farm dinners. The event, a project of the Wisconsin Farmers Union in partnership with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and Renewing the Countryside, not only introduces the public to the farm, it encourages local women farmers to step out and share their passion with their communities. This year, the Soil Sisters weekend is August 3 to 5.
Thanks to the generous support of Organic Valley, each of the five Local Hero awardees will select a Wisconsin nonprofit organization to receive a $500 donation. Check our website to see who they chose! ediblemadison.com/local-hero-awards