Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wisconsin Travelers' Delights

Last weekend we drove through Wisconsin to get to Minneapolis. We were out of honey and made plans to stop near Janesville to pick up a new supply at Orlovsky Apiaries. When we called ahead to place our order, we were told that the bees had not had a good year, so we were going to be limited to 3 gallons. Rats.

I did some research on the Wisconsin Honey Producers Assn. site to see who was close to the Interstate AND had an e-mail address. The first one to get back to me was a guy in Tomah, home of the Warrens Cranberry Fest each September, who has hives in the cranberry bogs around there, so - cranberry honey! It's very thick and a little darker than other honeys. He told us it's as sweet as any other honey, but has a slight "tang" (I can't tell, so far). A third of our new supply is gone now, as we gave away some to relatives. My mother wants some, too, but she'll have to be content with a 2 oz sample that will pass airline security.

In Tomah, we got an additional 20 lbs. of the cranberry honey, 2 cheap bags of fresh cranberries, and a big pumpkin for Halloween carving. Lastly, we stopped at our all-time favorite Wisconsin eatery, Norske Nook, where the pies are huge and the crusts taste like homemade. We have been stopping there for years, and this time we got a banana cream (no refrigeration needed in October!) and a peach praline to go with a stuffed shells dinner with family in Coon Rapids that night. Excellent!

We always buy the pies in the metal pie pans which require a $7 deposit. With an accumulation of a stamp on their business card for each pie you buy, you get a freebie with 7 stamps. Two pie pans to return, plus the 7 stamps, means we got 2 more pies for practically nothing - yay!

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