TOWN OF WEST POINT — Attendees at Saturday’s annual Columbia County Moo-Day Brunch — and they’re expected to number in the hundreds — should be in the moo-d for a milk-intensive meal.
For those who are regulars at this June Dairy Month traditional event, the menu is familiar. Cheese. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Pizza Hut pizza. Nachos. Yogurt. Sassy Cow ice cream. And, oh yes, milk.
The activities are familiar, too. There will be pedal-pull races for children, horse-drawn wagon rides, a petting zoo, antique farm machinery and other attractions for attendees of all ages.
But what’s new and different, with every edition of the Moo-Day Brunch, is the insight it offers on how Columbia County farmers operate in America’s Dairyland.
Last year’s Moo-Day Brunch, held at the Krejchik farm in the town of Caledonia, featured tours of a mechanized milking system, in which the cows decide when they need to be milked, and a robotic system collects the milk.
Deb Steimke, who has long been instrumental in planning Columbia County’s Moo-Day Brunch, said the Miller family (whose first member of the fifth generation is due to be born soon) also have a robotic milking system for their 200-cow dairy.
And, everything that the cows eat – corn, soybeans, alfalfa and a mix of grasses – is grown on the farm.
Tours of the operation are a traditional part of the Moo-Day Brunch.
While adults, especially other farmers, might have technical questions, it’s not at all uncommon for the children to address a more basic question: Where does food come from?
“They’re so many generations away from the farm, they believe that you just go to the grocery store and get your food,” Steimke said.
One of the Moo-Day Brunch guests who’s expected to help answer questions about Wisconsin’s homegrown foods is the newly-crowned 69th Alice in Dairyland, Ann O’Leary of Rock County.
Alice in Dairyland spends a year as an agricultural ambassador for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.
She’s busy during June Dairy Month, and it’s been several years since a Columbia County Moo-Day Brunch has included a visit from Alice. Steimke said she’s expected to arrive at around 11 a.m., and will be introduced at about the same time that the host family will be introduced.
Steimke noted that the 2000 Moo-Day Brunch was held on the same farm as this year’s event.
Next year, however, a unique host has been lined up, she said. The 2017 Moo-Day Brunch will be at the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station.