Weber's Farm Store is a staple in the local community for fresh milk, dairy products
MARSHFIELD - Weber's Farm Store is a staple in the local community for fresh milk, dairy products Weber’s Farm Store of Marshfield has supplied milk direct to customers since 1955. Operated by Joellen (Weber) Heiman and husband Ken Heiman, the store will be open for visitors attending the 2018 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Wood County.
Weber’s Farm Store is associated with Heiman Holsteins of Marshfield. The two enterprises are co-hosting Farm Technology Days with neighbors Daryl and Brenda Sternweis of D&B Sternweis Farms.
Joellen’s great-grandparents purchased a farm in 1904 on which the farm store is located on the western edge of Marshfield. They established a milk-delivery route between 1910 and 1920, which was continued by the family until 1955, when Joellen’s parents realized their dream of opening an on-farm retail store. In the early ‘60s they bottled milk from their farm and launched drive-up-window service. The store switched from glass bottles to milk in half-gallon plastic pouches in 1973. Joellen is now the fourth generation in her family’s farm-to-retail milk business.
A milking herd is no longer on-site at Weber’s Farm Store. Instead milk from Heiman Holsteins, southwest of Marshfield, is shipped to Weber’s where it’s processed on-site. Heiman Holsteins is operated by Ken and his brother Kelvin and their sons. The farm’s milk is also used to make cheese at Nasonville Dairy. The cheese operation, which has other farm patrons as well, is operated by Ken, Kelvin, and their brother Kim Heiman.
"Back in the 1970s we were running 72,000 lbs. of milk per day, now we're running that per hour," said Ken Heiman. "We have 200 milk producers that ship 25 million lbs. of milk each day. I can remember when we had 40 farms producing for us, only three were bulk while the others shipped milk in cans."
Weber’s milk is sold on-site at the store, as well as area convenience stores, day-care centers, assisted-living facilities, coffee shops and Nasonville Dairy’s two locations, south of Marshfield and near Curtis. Ken and his brothers are long-time cheese makers. Ken is past-president of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and serving with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, formerly the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Ken, 64, was instrumental in bringing Wisconsin Farm Technology Days back to Wood County. The county had hosted in 1960 when it was called Wisconsin Farm Progress Days. He felt Wood County would benefit from the economic impact that returns to host counties. And he’s excited the show will put a spotlight on the Central Wisconsin’s dairy-industry powerhouse, which includes neighboring Clark and Marathon counties. Wood County is also the No. 1 cranberry county in the world. Cranberries will figure prominently in the 2018 show.
The cheese maker said both host families include younger generations with eyes to the future. Each farm has a 40-cow rotary parlor. And the next generation of the extended Heiman family is also focused on new dairy products such as Weber’s kefir, a drinkable yogurt, which attendees can try at Farm Technology Days.
"That product is doing quite well for us," Ken said.
Weber’s milk and Nasonville Dairy cheese curds will also be served in food tents. And show goers will be able to walk to Weber’s Farm Store from tent city.
Heritage and pride in being a part of agriculture are reasons Joellen gives for wanting to host Farm Technology Days. She has been a familiar smiling face at the Weber’s Farm Store window. She now works there part-time. Five years ago breast cancer invaded her life and changed her priorities. One priority, however, remains unchanged – producing high-quality dairy products for consumers. Weber’s “happy cow” character logo is a reminder that the farm store is a friendly, affordable place to buy high-quality dairy products – from milk to cheese to soft-serve ice cream and a myriad of other foods.
“It’s about family – and our valuable employees,” said Joellen.
For the Heimans it’s also about community. Ken and Joellen contributed to a science lab-addition to Columbus High School in Marshfield. The addition at Joellen’s alma mater carries their names. They also founded an annual dinner-show fundraiser in Marshfield to fight breast cancer and contributed a family-consultation and examination area at the Marshfield Clinic for breast-cancer patients.
And they continue to reach out but this time to all of Wisconsin agriculture by co-hosting Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
Colleen Kottke contributed to this story