This page is a directory of links to small businesses that provide not only bulk food and beverage products for purchase, but classes and training for how to do it yourself. As a self-reliant person, it is beneficial to you to develop relationships with the producers of food. When you have a stronger relationship with the producer, you become less dependent on the big grocery stores:
http://www.growingpower.org/ Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power, has become a bit of a rock star in the world of urban farming. Classes galore and food for sale directly to the public and through retailers throughout SE Wisconsin.
http://www.frontiercoop.com/ Online bulk grocery store; a lot of interesting products. I have personally bought products from them (not online—in store) and was pleased with my purchases.
www.penzeys.com National spice seller, headquartered in Wisconsin. I use them for much of my spice needs. But when they don’t have everything I need I go to:
http://www.thespicehouse.com/ This is a regional (SE WI & Chicagoland-area) retailer with both an online presence and physical storefront. They have a few blends that Penzey’s does not carry. As an FYI, these two retailers are from the same family, but went in different directions as to the markets they serve. The flagship store in downtown Milwaukee is a heady delight to visit.
http://www.wisconsindairyartisan.com/index.html This website is a blessing for artisanal dairy product lovers like me! View the WI Artisan & Farmstead Directory in the Buyers section. It is a comprehensive list of smaller dairy farmers and dairy food producers in Wisconsin. Do your homework. Find out what events they attend, what farmers markets they sell at and how you can buy direct. Make friends with your local dairy farmer or dairy delivery service. I’ve listed one below that serves metro Milwaukee and Madison:
http://www.lwdairy.com/ Home milk and dairy product delivery for the Milwaukee and Madison area. The dairy is located in Ashippun, WI and the products are rBGH free. One of the products they deliver is Sugar River Dairy yogurt, a truly delightful yogurt I purchase quite often.
http://www.wiberries.org/ Wisconsin berry growers site.
http://www.pickyourown.org/ National website for pick your own farms.
http://www.waga.org/ Wisconsin apple growers website.
http://wigrapes.org/ Classes for grape growing, non-members welcome.
http://www.wisconsinartisanfood.org/ A new group made up of some of the artisan food producers listed here.
WI Butcher Shops, Meat Processors
So you thought butcher shops have gone the way of the VCR? Think again! Here is a sampling of locations all over the state. Those of you that live in SE WI might be surprised to see butcher shops and small meat processors still in Milwaukee, but there are several fine establishments in the area.
http://www.smithbrosmeats.com/ Located in Colby, WI, has wide selection of standard meats and sausages. Processes wild game and venison throughout the year.
http://www.raysbutchershoppe.com/ This is the meat market our family has been going to forever. Good quality cuts of meat, and specialty cuts that are not found at the generic meat department in the grocery store.
http://www.bolzanomeats.com/ This is one of the newest artisan meat producers in WI. Bolzano makes dry cured salamis that are just divine, delish, etc., etc. They offer regular classes such as whole hog dressing and tours of their facility in Milwaukee. Find their products at markets all over WI.
http://www.blackearthmeats.com/ According to their website, B.E.M. has an on-site slaughter offering custom processing for beef, pork, buffalo, elk, farmed deer, sheep and goats; dry-aging for steers, and basic cut-wrap-freeze processing. You can buy online certified organic meats.