Meg and Mike Kelly bought High Meadow Farm in Johnson Creek, Wisc., when they married in 1980. At that time, the farmhouse windows were missing, birds flew through, and snakes coiled on the floors in the sunbeams. In the early years, they focused on resurrecting their farm. They raised draft horses (and farmed with them!), and sold produce at farmers’ markets.
When their children started school, both Meg and Mike re-entered the formal workforce (Meg as a landscape designer and Mike as a wastewater treatment operator). Their land lay fallow, and they didn’t start farming again until 2008, when they invited Matt to come home to WI from California and join them as a full partner in a formal farming venture.
The three started a Community Supported Agriculture program in 2009, and today raise certified organic veggies and chickens on their gorgeous, well-maintained property. They have over 200 CSA members, wholesale accounts, and workplace CSA relationships with local businesses. Meg left her job to work full-time on the farm in 2011, and Mike retired in 2013.
Their son Matt handles the farm’s day-to-day field operations, supervising crews, packing boxes, and crop planning. Mike takes care of the equipment and buildings, and does most of the tractor work. (“I’m like the janitor,” he jokes.) Meg handles communications for their CSA, the high tunnel, and their egg operation, and sells their produce at the Fort Atkinson Farmers’ Market.
High Meadow provides workplace CSA to employees at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (Sun Prairie), Summit Credit Union (Madison), and Standard Process (Palmyra), among other businesses.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, High Meadow is hosting an on-farm market open to the public. They’ll be selling storage veggies, fresh greens, and organic eggs. Feel free to enjoy exploring the farm’s trails and hang out for a bit with the Kellys. Meg is making soup for folks. Explore Meg’s extensive recipe collection, here.
The bees at the beginning of the audio were recorded at High Meadow on Tuesday, Nov. 1. As of Nov. 2, Southern Wisconsin has not yet experienced a hard freeze. The duckling Meg is holding in the photos is called Skippy. He was born with a gimpy leg; Meg nursed him back to health and today, he follows Meg around the farm as if she’s his mom.
Learn more about the farmers at 5 Minutes on the Farm on Facebook.
Buy local! Your food dollars can be Little Green Soldiers for Good. Join a CSA, shop at a farmers’ market, or support a retailer paying local farmers fair prices (such as Willy Street Co-op ). Visit 5 Minutes on the Farm on Facebook.
Please visit the Dane County Farmers’ Market to see what’s for sale at local farmers’ markets this week. Wisconsin’s Farm Fresh Atlas lists farmers’ markets, u-picks, and CSA farms across Wisconsin.