On a seasonably warm Friday evening in June I had the pleasure of enjoying the first grass-fed beef grilling class and dinner out at Together Farms in Mondovi, Wisconsin. Located just 30 minutes south of Eau Claire, this beautiful farm is home to many happy hogs and piglets, as well as grass-fed cows and sheep along with a crew of quietly clucky chickens. Much to my delight, upon arrival we were greeted with a complimentary beverage – wine, beer, Wisco Pop or water – and the wagging tails of four furry doggos. True to form, I chose a nice chilled glass of Pinot Gris and tried to win over the copper colored weiner dog, Winnie.
Wine in hand, we wandered around the farm, followed by our furry friends, and checked things out while waiting for the other guests to arrive. We walked along the edge of the pond and admired the beautiful rolling hills that sometimes go unappreciated. We said hello to the chickens and visited the piggies in their large pen. The cows were in a pasture too far away to see since they move them frequently to graze in different areas, but if you stood still enough you could almost hear them mooing in the distance. We grabbed a seat around the fire pit, sipped our beverages and just took it all in. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze keeping all of the gnats away and time seemed to slow down for a bit. I wasn’t checking my phone or thinking about all the errands I had to run. I was able to relax and enjoy the beauty of this Wisconsin family farm.
Together Farms owners, Stephanie and Andy Schneider, welcomed about 10 guests on this evening, which made for an intimate dining experience and farm tour. They invited chef Luke Bilda to prepare the appetizers and main course, and his creations did not disappoint. We kicked the night off with wasabi bacon deviled eggs–the perfect hand-held snack to take along on the farm tour. Stephanie led us around the property showing us the different livestock while foraging for wild greens to add to our salad for dinner. She explained that when they purchased the farm it was the typical industrial style with soy and corn. They revamped everything creating their own self-sustaining ecosystem and decided to farm the way it was done years ago. When we circled back from the tour there were grilled slices of French baguette and fresh-made tomato bruschetta waiting for us. We nibbled on bruschetta, refreshed our beverages and gathered around the grill for the main event. Chef Luke gave us the basics of grilling with charcoal and propane while he sliced up the tenderloin steaks. We discussed the different cuts of beef offered by Together Farms and how to prepare them. Chef Luke welcomed questions and shared with us the secret to knowing when your steak is done. While the steak was cooking we took a seat around the table and enjoyed a fresh salad with homemade vinaigrette, homemade coleslaw and another helping of bruschetta. Shortly after that, dinner was served! We feasted on Together Farms grass-fed beef tenderloin steaks grilled to perfection, baby red potatoes with fresh dill and grilled portabella mushroom caps. There was no fancy steak seasoning or A1 steak sauce. The beef was so phenomenal that just a hearty sprinkle of salt and pepper was enough. For dessert we enjoyed a rhubarb shrub – a delicious drink made from fresh picked rhubarb, gin and simple syrup. We thanked our hosts, said our goodbyes and left feeling full and happy.
If you’re looking for something a little different for date night, or a new place to go with a group of friends, I would highly recommend taking the short drive out to Together Farms. They have many events coming up this summer including two more grilling nights and several burger nights. The farm is welcoming and relaxing. The owners are kind and inviting and raise their livestock in a humane, loving way. This is a small Wisconsin business that you can feel good about supporting.