Getting to Know Your Grower: Known for Windmill ice cream, Berg families serves up plenty of tasty produce at TMS Farmers Market
By Jed Buelow
Co-Editor, Sports, Nature Editor
An overabundance of produce from their family garden in Athens 40 years ago resulted in Pat and Charlie Berg participating in the Wausau Farmers Market.
In the late 80s the Bergs began tapping maple trees to make maple syrup so it could also be sold at the market. The cherry on top came around 1995, when Pat and Charlie moved to Tomahawk to be closer to the family business, the Windmill Ice Cream Shop in Nokomis.
It was at that time that their son, Ryan, along with Pat’s brother, Jim Witucki, bought a 20-acre farm field in the Lake Nokomis area. As the years passed the gardens continued to get bigger and they were able to produce even bigger yields, which allowed the Bergs to start going to other newly forming farmers markets in Rhinelander and Eagle River to go along with the market in Wausau.
“Right now we have around four acres of garden and grow all the typical vegetables,” the Bergs stated in noting that Ryan has even taken up the ambitious task of growing shittaki mushrooms in oak logs that are sold at the local markets come harvest time. “Being able to bring high quality, healthy produce to the area markets is our goal, which now also includes Minocqua and Tomahawk.”
Suffice to say the family is very busy come summertime, as along with growing an abundance of produce to sell at several local farmers markets, they also run the widely-popular Windmill as well as Big Bear Mini-Golf Course in Tomahawk.
“It is very rewarding when we have customers come back and tell us how fresh and good our produce or maple syrup tasted or even just come up to ask us how we go about successfully growing a certain crop when they are having trouble in their own gardens,” the Bergs added. “We are always glad to share what techniques or different things that work for us up here in the sandy soil of the Nokomis area, but in the end it is all decided by the weather.”
The Bergs note they appreciate all the people who come out to support their local farmers at the many farmers markets they take part in, including the Downtown Tomahawk Farmers Market held each Tuesday in downtown Tomahawk.
Getting to Know Your Grower is part of a Tomahawk Main Street Inc. series for the Tuesday downtown farmers market. The market will run into October and takes place every Tuesday from 1-5:30 p.m. on Third Street in downtown Tomahawk.
For more information on the market, visit tomahawkmainstreet.org