Thanks to the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program (SSfW™), many farmers and food production companies across the state are finding it easier than ever to market and promote their products.
The program, administered by the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), requires that at least 50 percent of each member’s products or services be attributable to Wisconsin ingredients, production or processing activities. Businesses of all sizes can participate, and members enjoy several benefits including the ability to use the
SSfW™ logo on their products. “The SSfW™ logo sticker really makes your product pop when it’s on the shelf,” says David Meuer, owner of Meuer Farm and SSfW™ member. “A lot of people are looking for local products, so when they see that logo, that’s what they’ll be more likely to go for.”
Located near Chilton, Meuer Farm covers 150 acres and has been in the Meuer family since 1969. The farm raises Angus and Holden Hereford cows as well as layer hens, broiler chickens and hogs. In addition, the farm grows specialty crops such as soybeans, winter wheat, alfalfa, spelt and durum wheat; 4,000 black walnut trees; maple trees, which are tapped for maple syrup; hickory nuts; strawberries; and sweet corn.
In 2014, Meuer Farm became part of SSfW™ and received a Local Food Technical Assistance grant from DATCP, which helped the farm find facilities to process and package its rolled oats. As a result, consumers can now find Meuer Farms’ rolled oats on store shelves under the brand Farm Flavors – complete with the SSfW™ logo – and they are also sold to bakeries and breweries.
“It’s very hard to find oats or oatmeal products that are actually grown in the state of Wisconsin,” Meuer says. “We’re one of the only places that are doing it and taking it to market, and people are looking for that.” The farm also has its own retail shop, Busy Bee Country Store, where customers can purchase the farm’s honey, maple syrup and other products, and the merchandise is also available online.
Snappy Valley Foods
Owned by Damon Holter and Dave Merten, Snappy Valley Foods is a partnership between SnappyDog Foods and Croix Valley Foods. The company, based in River Falls, offers co-packing services for companies across the U.S., and produces its own line of products under the Croix Valley and SnappyDog brands.
Holter says the SSfW™ program has helped Snappy Valley Foods promote its products and continues to contribute to the company’s success.
“Being part of the SSfW™ program has given us some opportunities for exposure that we wouldn’t otherwise have,” Holter says. “We’ve been able to exhibit at trade shows for a lower cost, which has opened up some other doors and gotten us additional visibility. It’s been a good partnership and worthwhile for us in a number of ways.”
Holter also helped start the River Falls Bacon Bash, which is an annual event that draws more than 10,000 attendees. The two-day festival features bacon vendors, live music, pig races, kids’ activities and food cook-offs, with the first-, second- and third-place finishers receiving golden tickets to compete at the World Food Championships. In addition, Holter hosts “Fired Up Food,” a TV show on the Outside network. During each episode, Holter cooks his own recipes over an outdoor fire with the goal of making upscale foods more approachable.