Paying Attention Close to Home

by dellspause / Jun 17, 2009 / 1 comments

About four weeks ago I was introduced to the concept of WWOOFing - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms - (, and my world changed.  I recently became a raw vegan, and this idea of traveling around the world working on organic farms to better understand and connect with culture, life, ecology and conscientious farming really grabbed ahold of me.  So when I stumbled across Prairie Farm Produce ( in Baraboo, Wisconsin, days after hearing about WWOOFing, I was thrilled.


This homestead, right across the street from the International Crane Foundation, is quiet in the morning.  Pulling in to one of the four or so parking spaces in the front driveway, you see a produce shed.  Weathered grey wood walls and a whiteboard announcing the day's prices greet you. Greens, local honey and, soon, vegetables await purchase in a household fridge.  And, you should know, they are some of the best greens I have ever eaten.  The lettuce mix is outstandingly buttery and rich; the spectrum of greens, deep maroons and sultry purples of the lettuce stand out in the big leaves.  And the kale...yum.  The taste is light, refreshing and the leaves bigger and the texture kinder than its grocery store counterparts.  I always buy the kale in a two:one ratio to the lettuce mix, I must admit.

Besides eating an oversized bowl of kale salad myself every day (the recipe follows below), I also use it in the freshly squeezed juices that I serve at my coffee, beer and wine house in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (  It feels pretty good to hand over local produce in fresh, healthy juices to my customers.  

Besides the great produce the farm yields, there are great ideals.  WWOOFing ideals. Community ideals.  Ecological ideals.  In the brief conversation I had with intern Caylan Larson, he noted that the owners, Rory and Bobbie Hinz, even use horse and plow when time allows.  When he told me this, I wanted to find Rory and Bobbie, shake their hands and say "thank you".  But the best news to a young eager enthusiast like me?  The Worker Share Program that the farm offers.  Prairie Farm Produce belongs to a CSA, community supported agriculture, program, which has become popular enough to create a demand for labor.  And they are counting on volunteers for this labor.  Volunteers spend five hours in the field weeding and harvesting, and, in return, are very happily rewarded with a box of "pick yourself" greens or produce.  A WWOOFing concept, right in my backyard!  These finds, they just feel good.

Kale Salad

Kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Olive oil

Sesame oil

Nama shoyu (cold-pressed soy sauce, found at Whole Foods, etc.)

Untoasted sesame seeds

Everything is to your taste! I like to squeeze the lemon juice on first, as it seems to open up the kale. Then I drizzle on the oils; if I am feeling like a more oriental taste, I use a bit more sesame oil.  Follow with a few shakes of the nama shoyu.  This can be found for about $20 for a liter, but if you prefer, you could use regular soy sauce.  I top it with a good amount of untoasted sesame seeds.  Some days I throw in shredded red cabbage and tomatoes, too.

For more information on volunteering with Prairie Farm Produce, please contact Caylan Larson, intern, at i[at]   For more information on Pause Coffee, Beer and Wine house, please see


Bianca Richards is the Organic Foods Editor for Wandering Educators

Comments (1)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 11 months ago

    wow, bianca, how cool is that, to find a WWOOF so close to home! lucky! and your recipe sounds delicious. thanks for sharing!


    Jessie Voigts, PhD


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