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The 30 acre farm market offers vegetables, eggs and even yellow watermelon.

By Sarah Estrella/Events Reporter

Nestled in rural Town of Delton, a mere five minutes from Home Depot and Wal-Mart, is

Cindy and Charlie Rhinehart's dream come true -- Country Bumpkin farmers' market.

To residents who know about Country Bumpkin, the Rhinehart's fields-of-plenty are probably the most enjoyable grocery shopping experience they ever had. The 30-acre farm and market comprises vegetables, farm fresh chickens, eggs and just about anything you would need to make a home-cooked from scratch meal. Cindy, who picks all of the farmstand goods fresh each morning, also invites visitors to take a self-guided tour.

"We've been in business for eight years," said Cindy, a former office administrator. "I wanted to be outside (working) and my husband wanted something for later years."

So when the couple started planning exactly how to go about establishing the business, located Charlie's family land, they decided variety is the key to success.

"We're open May through November ... we even plant corn at intervals so we have it all season long," said Cindy, who couldn't even recall the number of crops harvested this year. "

Neither Cindy nor Charlie had experience in agriculture, but their market has definitely blossomed. In addition to the on-site business, Country Bumpkin also provides fresh food to several well-known restaurants in the area. To the Rhineharts, improving and expanding the business are ongoing processes. Cindy, who first took a farmers' market course at UW that she thought would help business, now attends seminars with her husband in the "off season."

"We joined the Berry and Vegetable Growers Associations, belonging to two associations definitely helps." Cindy said. "There is always the opportunity to learn more because you have access to so many speakers from all around the world ... and other growers help, too."

A couple new items Country Bumpkin brought back from conferences and other farmers -- purple cauliflower and yellow watermelon.

"Last year was the first year for the purple cauliflower seed," Cindy said, "It's wonderful because it's higher in nutrients and the color doesn't bleed (into recipes)."

The yellow watermelon, she said, is as bright as a pineapple, ripens before regular watermelon and is sweeter, too.

In addition to seasonal outdoor strawberries, Country Bumpkin has 800 "Day Neutral" strawberry plants loaded with the tasty red fruit year-long. The strawberry plants are grown in a Verti-Gro system, which hangs from the top of the greenhouse and nearly reaches the ground. The system was created by a Florida grower and is featured at Epcot Center.

"The first year was a challenge, but now we've got it down," Cindy said.

Now, instead of just figuring out what to grow and how to do it, she gets the pleasure of re-designing the farm's layout each season, and making it even more appealing to shoppers -- and herself.

"We wanted everything to be fresh and diversified. That's the feeling I want people to have," Cindy explained. "I love being here and that people take the time to drive out here. I feel good doing this and people make me feel good with their feedback."

As the Rhineharts continue with their business, they realize that it's not all about what you've got, but letting people know about it. Country Bumpkin is featured on the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau website, has its own website (www.countrybumpkinent.com) and is one of countless state farmers to join SavorWisconsin.com, a website promoting agri-tourism. For more information about related agri-tourism businesses in your backyard, visit www.savorwisconsin.com.

If you go

Who: Country Bumpkin Farm Market

What: Asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, melons, plums, apples, pumpkins, squash, plus popcorn, honey, herbs, & flowers. Enjoy the gardens and farm gift shop offering ice cream, cheese, fresh farm eggs, crafts & gifts, and delicious jams & dressings, to name a few.

Where: One mile off Highway 23 on Highway P.

When: May - Nov. 1

Call: For more information about the farm or upcoming pumpkin-picking hay rides, call (608) 254-2311.

In season fruit and vegetable schedule.

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER

9/5 - 10/1 Grapes

9/1 - 10/1 Plums

9/12-10/31 Dried Sunflowers

9/5 - 10/31 Gourds

9/5 - 10/31 Pumpkins

9/1 - 10/31 Acorn Squash

9/1 - 10/31 Buttercup Squash

9/1 - 10/31 Butternut Squash

9/12-10/31 Corn Shocks

9/1- 10/31 Straw Bales

10/1-10/31 Cranberries

ALL SEASON

5/1 - 10/31 Bird House Gourds

5/1 - 10/31 Broom Corn

5/1 - 10/31 Chives

5/1 - 10/31 Cookbooks

5/1 - 10/31 Crafts & Dinnerware

5/1 - 10/31 Decorator Baskets

5/1 - 10/31 Fresh Farm Eggs

5/1 - 10/31 Firewood

5/1 - 10/31 Honey

5/1 - 10/31 Indian Corn

5/1 - 10/31 Jams & Preserves

5/1 - 10/31 Maple Syrup

5/1 - 10/31 Mushrooms

5/1 - 10/31 Pretzel Dips

5/1 - 10/31 Relish Specialties

5/1 - 10/31 Salad Dressing Specialties

5/1 - 10/31 Salsa Specialties