Local Wisconsin Farm Store Has a Honey Focus

River Valley Kitchens Farm Store

On our way to visit Lake Geneva, WI, we investigated this unassuming barn-shaped store with a giant mushroom painted on the end. It was quite a find—not only an excellent source of locally grown products both prepared and fresh, but a nice selection of local honey, with a surprising supply of some hard-to-find Italian honeys.

River Valley Ranch

It is located in Slades Corners at the intersection of Hwy 50 and County Road ‘P’ about 8 miles due east of beautiful Lake Geneva and the same distance south of Burlington WI.

River Valley Kitchens Outlet

With a large sign declaring, “Fresh Mushrooms – Open Year Round” you might imagine rows of tables covered in mushrooms, but although freshly grown mushrooms are a specialty (grown across the highway), they produce a wide selection of locally grown products, including pickled vegetables, salsas, chutney, soups, spreads, pasta sauces, brushetta, giardinera, dips and fresh vegetables. Most, if not all, of the prepared foods are made on site.

From their brochure, you wouldn’t know that honey played a big role in their offerings, but it does! They had three brands of honey:

Wisconsin Natural Acres Honey

Wisconsin Natural Acres Honey

Located in Chilton, WI, Natural Acres produces a multifloral honey primarily from the nectar of Alfalfa, Clover, and the Basswood tree. They move their beehives near these nectar sources, choosing only areas where organic or natural farming is done. They produce raw honey from their bees with no heating and no blending or filtering, ensuring the best tasting, most healthful honey possible. We purchased a jar of this honey to try later. It was amber colored, medium sweet, with a delicate aroma and medium persistence.

My Honey Co.

My Honey Co.

Located in Richmond, IL, My Honey Co. is as family-owned business since 1975, producing a wide selection of bee products from Wisconsin sources, including Wildflower honey (mainly golden rod and aster from the fall), Cranberry honey from Cranberry bogs of Wisconsin and Clover honey. Only Clover honey was offered here. No additives and raw honey is produced to ensure flavor and healthful qualities.

Mieli Thun

Mieli Thun

Quite a surprise to find this honey well represented here. Mieli Thun is one of the premier honey production companies in Italy from the northern province of Trento, about a 3 hour drive from Milan or Venice. Winners of the Grandi Mieli d’Italia for the last 7 years for at least five honeys each year. Well known for a wide variety of single flower honeys, I found Thyme (timo), French Honeysuckle (sulla), Eucalyptus (eucalipto), Chestnut (castagno), Wild Carrot (carota selvatica) -*rare*, and Sunflower (girasole).

Wisconsin Honey Sweetened Root Beer

Wisconsin Honey-Sweetened Root Beer

We purchased some fresh veggies and root beer for a snack. I was pleasantly surprised to see the gourmet root beer, made by Sprecher Brewing Co. of Milwaukee, was sweetened with raw Wisconsin honey!

..dark honeyed brew..

Later, upon closer examination of the ingredient label I discovered the primary sweetener was glucose syrup, then malto-dextrin, followed by WI Raw Honey. I suppose the product development folks need to catch up with the marketing folks. Nevertheless, you are on the right track Sprecher! Perhaps the next new and improved version will declare, “Now Made With Even More Raw Honey!” and WI Raw Honey will be the first (and only) sweetener on the label. Or if that isn’t feasible, and since Sprecher also brews beer, perhaps we can look forward to the introduction of a true WI Honey Mead?!

River Valley Kitchens Farm Store
39900 W. 60th Street (map)
Burlington, WI 53105

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