Featured Farmer: Englewood Local Foods
Oct 10 2013
I love taking road trips, but finding decent food to eat along the way is not easy. Given the choice of fast food or packaged gas station food, I prefer M&Ms. So imagine my utter amazement when I discovered Englewood Local Foods tucked in a truck stop in Columbus, WI, just off Highway 151. The farm-to-market store boasts a few large freezers stocked with local meats and gluten free products, a fridge full of fresh eggs and veggies, healthy packaged goods, and baskets brimming with local farm produce next to the register. All of this bounty is wedged in a lobby between BP and Arby’s, like a heritage pig bratwurst on a Wonder Bread bun.
Englewood Local Foods is the love child of farmers Ben Agnew and Kristi Hansen Agnew, who own Englewood Grass-fed Beef. Ben and Kristi started their grass-fed beef farm six years ago near Fall Rivers, WI, after spending many years working on farms across the country. Their herd has grown to 55 head of cattle–and 4 young children. Kristi, who manages the store and marketing for their grass-fed beef, found life on a farm with a growing family isolating. She began to sell at the farmer’s market in Columbus, WI, but had always wanted to open a store where she could visit with her customers year round.
Kristi had never really considered a truck stop as an ideal location for their store, but the opportunity presented itself, and she took the chance. That choice payed off. “This is the only truck stop for miles,” she says. “A lot of truckers stop in to buy food. They have little access to fresh food on the road, or vegetarian food, and we offer that.” She has regular customers coming from as far as Green Bay, Oshkosh and Janesville. Though Englewood Local Foods does not have a deli, they have healthy heat and serve soups, gluten-free snacks, and pre-cooked organic chicken sausages. Many truckers will load their coolers with Englewood Grass-fed beef to take home, as well. But don’t worry, there’s enough for everyone! Most of their beef is packaged to sell at the store, though they do sell some half and quarter cows each year.
And if you grab a bag of M&Ms for the road, I won’t tell.
Open Tue – Wed: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Thu: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Fri: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
originally published in Madison Magazine October, 2013