FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast A Glimpse Into Farm Life

Fifty batches of cracked eggs. Twenty dozen eggs per batch. That’s 12,000 eggs, or 2.4 eggs per customer expected at this year’s FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast, served scrambled with ham and cheese. Hosted at Wilke R Organic Farm in Sevastopol, a team of 100 volunteers and FFA alumni plan to feed 5,000 people the morning of July 2.

If 2.4 eggs with ham and cheese doesn’t sound like a complete breakfast to you, then good thing they’ve also got 350 pounds of pancake mix (that’s not batter, mind you), 100 gallons of Schopf’s homemade ice cream, and a coffee brewer that brews 10 gallons of coffee per batch. Oh, and they’ve got plenty of milk, too, about 975 gallons.

The FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast was started 36 years ago as a fundraiser for students to attend FFA’s agricultural education programs. It’s become an excuse to eat breakfast on a local farm and to partake in all manner of countryside activities.

A cow out to pasture at Wilke R Organic Farm. The clover present in the pasture provides nutrients for both soil and cattle. Photo by Len Villano.

One of three organic dairy operations in Door County, the Wilke farm is unique in its community as a model for more responsible farming practices. The Wilke operation is small, with around 50 milking cows and 50 young. Every winter, they thin the herd to ensure quality stays high and their farm doesn’t get too crowded.

“High quality animals, high quality milk is what we want to produce,” said Kevin Wilke, who owns the farm with his wife, Tricia. “We wanted to show Door County and the rest of Wisconsin what organic can do for them, and I hope it’s a real learning experience when they do come.”

After breakfast, visitors are welcome to enjoy live music from Modern Day Drifters and spend time on the farm, exploring through hayrides around the pasture as well as visiting the animals at the petting zoo.

Breakfast is the main event, but the purpose of the FFA Dairy Breakfast is to promote and foster agricultural education in the Door County community.

 That means it comes down to the kids. In visiting the Wilke farm, owned by the same family for four generations, people will witness the product of hard work done by a single family handed down through 130 years from parents to children. Kevin and Tricia’s three daughters, Ruth, Rachel, and Rebecca, are the fifth generation to work the farm. Rebecca, 16, is a member of FFA.

The narrative of the family farm staying in the family is less ubiquitous than it used to be, with low milk prices and larger, more competitive farms discouraging smaller operations like the Wilke farm. Small, family-run farms are a labor of love in an industry known for hard work and persistence and, above all, generosity. The FFA Dairy Breakfast gives us an opportunity to see this more intimate version of farming, the one our minds jump to when we contemplate a way of life that is in plain view from the first steps taken upon the farm.

This year’s FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast will be held on Sunday, July 2 at Wilke R Organic Farm at 5238 State Highway 42, Sturgeon Bay. The event will run from 6 to 11:30 am. The cost is $9 for ages 7 and up; free for those under 7. Rain or shine.


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