Driftless Market Hosts First ‘Friendly Function’


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

The Driftless Market hosted the first Friendly Function, a series of monthly or bimonthly events to connect communities with local businesses, on Feb. 17. For the first Friendly Function, Driftless Market featured Wilson Organic Farms, an organic farm owned and led by Chris Wilson and Amy Seeboth Wilson, former UW-Platteville Sustainability Coordinator.

The Exponent spoke with Royal Palmer, one of the owners of the Driftless Market, about the importance and goal of Friendly Functions.

“We believe there’s a huge importance to shopping local and supporting other small businesses,” Palmer said. “Knowing where your food comes from can help people connect with their health in a more personal way… Not everything you consume needs to be organic, but changing a few habits can make a  huge difference in quality and longevity of life.”

Palmer added that the Friendly Function also provides a key opportunity for both the Driftless Market and Wilson Organic Farms.

“The idea for the Friendly Functions came from the desire to educate people on the variety of local small businesses we offer at our market,” Palmer said.

The Exponent also interviewed Amy Seeboth-Wilson about her experience at the Friendly Function, Wilson Organic Farm and the importance of organics and locally grown food.

“Driftless Market has always been one of my favorite places in Platteville,” Seeboth-Wilson said. “When I first considered moving here for a job in 2008, Driftless was high on my list of reasons I would like it here. Since then, it has been one of my go-to spots for fresh veggies and bulk foods, as well as bumping into friends and catching up.”

Seeboth-Wilson added, “My 16-year-old son helped me make three types of mini tacos, all made with ingredients sold at Driftless Market… All we had to do was thaw and warm up the meats with sauces sold at Driftless Market. What I love most about these dishes is that our meats are sold in Ziplock bags and one bag of meat can make several meals. One night, I can serve the pulled pork with steamed broccoli and rice, the next, with BBQ sauce on a bun, and the third night, if there is any left, as tacos. I really wanted to make a product that is practical for all different lifestyles.”

The tacos came in three flavors: Korean barbecue ground beef with kimchi, downtown BBQ pulled pork with cilantro and cheese, and shredded beef with green onions.

“My husband, Chris, and his family have a seventh-generation organic dairy farm just south of Cuba City, and while both he and I work off-farm, farming and food have always been a passion of ours. Chris works on the farm whenever he gets a chance, helping them adopt cutting-edge farming techniques like ‘mob grazing’ where they mimic the grazing methods bison would have had on this land before European settlement.”

The method of mob grazing decreases stress on fields. Herds are passed through fields quickly as to prevent total consumption of the plants. Throughout the day, herds will be moved multiple times to maintain this system.

Wilson Organic Farm also has solar panels and water recycling systems, pratices carbon accounting and is humane-animal certified. Carbon accounting is the practice of tracking, qualifying and managing greenhouse gas emissions.

“In short,” Seeboth-Wilson summarized, “this farm is a model for how agriculture can not only produce delicious, healthy foods but also be part of solving some of our most pressing problems including climate change and water runoff.”

They haven also worked to expand the range of services, partnering “with local butchers to cut top-shelf steaks and pre-made, dinner-ready meats including pulled pork and shredded beef,” Seebtoh-Wilson explained. “We started WilsonOrganicFarm.com to make it easy for folks to order direct shipments (we next-day ship to Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota), and sell at Driftless Market in Platteville and Parrfection Produce Market stand in Monticello.”

Seeboth-Wilson concluded, “We are super proud that when consumers eat our farm’s food, they are part of solving these problems. I used to work as UW-Platteville’s Sustainability Coordinator, and have a strong preference for actions that create multiple benefits at once (sustainability) and our farm truly embodies this ethic. I love that our food is healthy for the planet and consumer, and also that it provides a good livelihood for at least ten people right on the farm here in southwest Wisconsin, not to mention the others supported by the farm, like our vet, milk haulers, butchers, etc.”