Wait, turn around what the heck was that? Pecks Farm Market West, 130 years in the making
If you ever have traveled Hwy. 14 between Lone Rock and Spring Green, Wisconsin, you might have passed by a sight that was sure to crank your neck.
A spread of a few buildings with tons of cool looking yard art and something behind it all that can’t quite be made out. I am sure many a folk made the remark, “Wait turn around, what the heck was that?” What that was, is the Peck Farm Market owned by Brad and his wife Debra.
Ok, I would not do our readership justice if I did not share a short run on the history that has led up to, what can only be described as a rural experience that will leave you in awe.
In 1889, Brad Peck’s Great-grandfather built the house that he and his wife raised their family in. The Peck farm had an apple orchard and maintained bee hives. Of course, what farm would not be complete without raising dairy cows? Yup, had them too.
Peck’s Great grandfather also realized a better way to make a living growing produce. His first choice was sweet corn, a crop that Peck and his family still grow today.
In 1967, Brad’s father built the first farm stand where today’s much larger business. It should be mentioned that it only made sense at that time since Hwy. 14 had been built in the 50’s and it would give easy access for customers.
Fast forward. Today 130 years after its humble beginning, the Peck’s farm 500 acres on a dry year, but this year finds them only farming about 300 due to a wetter and later than usual spring. “With all the rain, we have about 100 acres of sand that is underwater still and our neighbors have been affected as well. It gets worse from there. It’s a bad situation this year,” Brad said. But the Peck’s early corn is silking now and is only 21 days from harvest. Brad noted that they normally start picking corn the last week in June, and stressed that it is a good two weeks behind.
Brad and his wife Debra have no shortage of help maintaining the farm stating, his three kids and his wife’s sister work along with them. “My dad is about to turn 85 in a couple weeks here and he’s still helping,” he said with a smile, and added that they also have one or two other people working for them as well.
On to the good stuff. The vast array of yard art is made by his son. “He does a lot of metal work around here. He learned from me at home. We do a lot of welding on the farm. He picked up the plasma welding at the end of high school in River Valley from a good teacher there that fits in with the welding and metal work. He also builds the grapple buckets, tools for skid loaders, bail-spears, and little backhoes,” Peck said.
The actual market features a lot of local products. Peck said, “We have a good following with the salsa and BBQ sauce which is made in Dodgeville. Our honey is from a local grower, and the maple syrup is from my wife’s uncle that makes and bottles it in Plain, Wisconsin. We try to do as much as we can with the locals.”
As if that isn’t enough, the market carries an assortment of candies, pickled products, jams, an almost unlimited variety of popcorn, noodles galore, artisan soaps made by the Peck’s daughter. The list goes on and on. Heck, they even sell Hot Wheels. As produce comes in season at their farm and others, Peck assured me there will be no shortage, and come fall their farm market will have apples, squash, different decorative squash, pumpkins, some muskmelons, seedless watermelon, gourds, and mini pumpkins.
But wait, back to the beginning of this story where I mentioned that when passing by the market, something that could not, at a passerby’s glance, be made out. Behind the buildings is an impressive petting zoo that is home to goats, mini piggys (as I like to call them), ducks, geese, chickens, fancy pigeons, a Koi Pond (no you can’t pet them), llamas, miniature horses and burros, and even prairie dogs. Yes, I said P Dogs. And all in the midst of the furry fun is the market’s Medieval miniature golf course.
“My wife does the animals. She likes the animals. She has really expanded on that. We are USDA inspected and the vet has come out a couple times and given us golden reviews,” Peck said.
For those that like to tour in leisure, you can ride the ‘The Peck’s Express, a train ride the Pecks’ son built when he graduated from high school 10 years ago, and one of his first projects.
On the variety offered at their farm stand Peck said, “If people can get it anywhere, they will, so we want them to have something to come back for that they can’t get anywhere else.”
Relying on word of mouth, Peck said they’ve “been here long enough that the kids that came when we started brought their kids, and now the 3rd generation is coming back. We see a lot of people pass by and making U-turns to come here.”
Operating 8 am to 8 pm 7 days a week, Pecks Farm Market West operates Memorial Day weekend through Thanksgiving.
For more information, visit Pecks Farm Market Facebook page.