Bonduel farm hosting annual brunch SundayBy:
Lee Pulaski, [email protected]
Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski
These are some of the cows visitors will get to see on Sunday at the Bonnin Family Farm during the 33rd annual Brunch on the Farm, sponsored by the Shawano County Farm Bureau. Farm tours will be one of many activities visitors can participate in.
Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski
Cassie Bonnin, Kevin Bonnin’s daughter, checks the tube on the milking unit as she starts to milk one of the 65 dairy cows on the family farm. Milking all of the cows takes about 2 1/2 hours, according to Kevin Bonnin, and is done twice a day.
Kevin Bonnin is proud to still operate a farm that thrives on the sweat and determination of his family.
He’ll get the chance to show off the farm started by his family in 1957 when he hosts the 33rd annual Shawano County Brunch on the Farm on Sunday.
With the help of dozens of volunteers, the farm, located south of Bonduel, will serve up brunch beginning at 9 a.m. There will also be plenty of activities throughout the morning to keep folks on the farm and to show them where their food comes from.
“Folks will see that we’re a very small, family-run farm, which is not the norm so much these days,” Bonnin said.
Bonnin and his wife, Shawn, are the second generation to run the farm. They milk 65 cows. With the dry cows and young calves, the count comes to almost 130.
The Bonnins also own some miniature horses, along with some pigs and goats.
Bonnin sees advantages and disadvantages to keeping the farm within the family. The big advantage is that he and his wife work the farm with their children, promoting family togetherness. The flip side is that he doesn’t get to leave the farm for an extended period because he doesn’t have workers to mind the farm in his absence.
“It’s our family working together. We benefit from the laughs, but we share in the grief, too,” Bonnin said.
Because he has been involved in agriculture all of his life, he feels the need to keep improving the farm and has no intention of throwing in the towel.
“I enjoy being my own boss,” Bonnin said. “That’s a huge benefit.”
Warm weather is expected Sunday, which means the brunch volunteers expect to serve up plenty of ice cream, topped with either strawberries or maple syrup. The meal consists of scrambled eggs with diced ham, sausages, hash browns, cheese, cinnamon bread with butter, milk and juice.
When visitors are not eating, they’ll be able to go on wagon rides and farm tours, and kids will be able to play games and check out the petting zoo.
A family church service will take place from 8-8:30 a.m.
For those eager to get in a run before brunch, the second annual Dairy Dash and Stroll kicks off at 7:30 a.m.
A new addition to this year’s brunch is a dairy bake-off sponsored by the Shawano County Farm Bureau. Children can make a variety of treats, as long as they include two dairy ingredients.
“One of the families I talked to, his daughter has been practicing and trying different recipes to see what they want to bring,” said Jamie Patton, University of Wisconsin-Extension agriculture agent for the Shawano County. “Whenever you have these ongoing events, it’s fun to introduce something new to keep people’s interest up.”
Patton enjoys tasting the variety of cheeses available during the brunch, noting she’s not “adventurous enough” to buy different cheeses when she prepares meals. Her son also enjoys the brunches, she said, because it gives him a chance to play in the sandbox and check out the livestock.
Brunch on the Farm is a signature event for the agriculture industry, in Patton’s view, as it helps to shine a spotlight on farms and gives those who are non-farmers some insight into how farmers make their living.
“To me, brunches are a wonderful opportunity to get people who aren’t actively engaged in farming out on a farm and interacting and asking questions,” Patton said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch kids touch a cow for the first time. We have some people who are not from the region but come in from the larger cities asking questions about where their food comes from.”
In the end, Bonnin hopes visitors will come away with a better idea of how farmers produce the food they consume, and that smaller farms like his take care of their animals and do not abuse them.
“Our animals are taken care of and kind of pampered,” Bonnin said. “We have tiled mangers that the cows eat off of. We have rubber mats and straw where they lay on, and we have rubber mats that they walk on.”
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Brunch on the Farm, sponsored by Shawano County Farm Bureau
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: W3752 E. Slab City Road, Bonduel
DIRECTIONS: State Highway 29 to Highway 47 (south) to Slab City Road (east) to farm.
COST: $7, $4 ages 5-12, free under 5.
FYI: More information is available on the farm bureau’s Facebook page.
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