Fair season in Wisconsin has officially arrived! Local county fairs rolls around each year, somehow always during the hottest week of the season, and brings with them food, friends and fun. As a child, and still to this day, I look forward each year to my home fair, the Rock County 4-H Fair. I look forward to meeting up with old show-ring pals, watching the selection of our master showmanship competition, and enjoying fair food that only comes around once a year.
This season, as you head out to your county or district fair, be on the lookout for local Wisconsin food products when you choose your fair meals.
First, start your day off with a Wisconsin breakfast. Choose a food stand that is selling farm-fresh scrambled eggs. In 2017, Wisconsin produced over 1.7 billion eggs to feed our families. Top your eggs off with some shredded Wisconsin cheese. Classics like cheddar and Monterey jack complement scrambled eggs perfectly. Then, pair your cheesy eggs with fresh apple juice or apple cider from a local orchard.
For lunch, check out the baked potato stand! Wisconsin spuds are both delicious and nutritious. Choose a baked potato as a perfect energizer for the middle of your fair day. Wisconsin potatoes have complex carbohydrates to satisfy your body’s energy needs. They are also high in vitamin C, containing nearly half the daily recommended value. Top your potato off with Wisconsin sour cream and bacon crumbles from a Wisconsin hog. Choose a white or chocolate milk to rinse it all down.
When snack time rolls around, it will be hard to resist those deep-fried Wisconsin cheese curds. Fair food stands across the state connect with their local cheesemakers to bring you fresh curds for deep frying. Though these aren’t the healthiest option, deep-fried cheese curds can be a special treat for a day at the fair. Choosing Wisconsin cheese curds also supports local economies, and keeps your dollars in our state.
Another great snack option is a caramel apple on a stick. Look for a local orchard food stand selling the ‘fruits’ of their labor. In 2017, apples contributed 26.3 billion dollars to Wisconsin’s economy. Commercial apple orchards can be found in 57 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, with the most concentrated regions being Southwest Wisconsin, the Door County peninsula, and Bayfield County.
Pulled pork sandwiches are one of my favorite fair-time meals, and are a perfect way to end your fair food journey. Visit your county pork producers’ food stand for local pulled pork sandwiches. At the Wisconsin State Fair, you can even try a pork chop on-a-stick! According to the Wisconsin Pork Association, today’s pork is 16 percent leaner and 27 percent lower in saturated fat compared to 26 years ago.
Top off your dinner with a classic chocolate shake. The perfect end to your Wisconsin-inspired fair meal, a chocolate shake is also a great way to celebrate National Ice Cream month this July. As we celebrate this month-long holiday, we show our appreciation to Wisconsin farmers and processors who work hard to provide safe, wholesome food to feed our families at the county fair and all year round.