Guests gather at Pearce’s Farm Stand for the Sept. 22 “Taste the Wonders of Walworth County,” a Farm to Table fundraiser to help cover the costs for the county to host the Alice in Dairyland finals next year. The several course meal was created using all local, Walworth County food items. (Submitted photo)

Proceeds support next year’s Alice in Dairyland finals

By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

Members of the local committee leading the way for Walworth County to host the 2020 Alice in Dairyland finals said the recent Farm to Table fundraiser was an overwhelming success.

“The event was amazing. We had 200 people, which was our goal, so sold out. Although a rainy day was dealt to us, the committee and all the volunteers worked hard and persevered,” said Susan Earle, chair of the steering committee, said.

The Sept. 22 “Taste the Wonders of Walworth County” event was a fundraiser in preparation for the county to host the finals for the selection of the 73rd Alice in Dairyland. It’s a process that will begin in January 2020, when the State Department of Trade and Consumer Protection will accept applications.

In March there will be an announcement in Walworth County naming the final candidates. The selection of next year’s Alice will take place May 14-16, 2020.

The steering committee is responsible for raising the needed funds to cover the cost of those two events – the announcement event and the finals, the first time Walworth County has been selected to do so.

In preparation for the finals, the current Alice in Dairyland – Abigail Martin – has and will continue to visit the county to showcase the diversity of its agriculture.

Those that will benefit from the program include family-owned farms, food processors and agriculture-related businesses, according to a press release from the committee.

What a night

Kris Welsh, who serves on the planning committee and is a former Alice in Dairyland herself, said Pearce’s Farm Stand deserved thanks for opening up their “home” to the event.

“They were gracious while we transformed their pavilion into a beautiful event. And we utilized their mums, pumpkins and more to decorate,” Welsh said.             “We are so grateful for those that volunteered, donated and dined with us that evening.”

The Sept. 22 fundraiser began with wine and beer from local wineries and breweries, passed appetizers, and the chance to “mingle with Abigail,” Earle said.                           Chef Tyler Sailsbury, of the Black Sheep in Whitewater, created the menu featuring products from Walworth County, including:

  • Appetizers – apple and pear in a red wine atop goat cheese and Soy ginger bacon with pickles red onion and slaw, and, smoked gouda cheese squares;
  • Salad – featuring zucchini that was spiral cut in ribbons, tossed with nuts, topped with a peppercorn and lemon zest dressing;
  • Bread – fresh wheat bread sticks made with homegrown and home ground wheat;
  • Soup – described as “refreshing and warm on this wet cold windy night” by Earle, the pumpkin spice soup had a maple custard creme sauce and was topped with toasted honey habanero pumpkin seeds.

“Phew bring on the heat with those seeds,” she said.

  • Entree – smoked gouda corn custard stuffing topped with generous portions of roasted pork and beef in a tomato jam gravy with pepper jelly whip.

“Yummy,” Earle said of the entrée.

“As if any of us could eat more was a dessert that was over the top,” she said. “As the sun was finally coming out, it was the star of the evening.”

  • Dessert – pumpkin crème brule with maple mustard whipped cream and on the side was a mini apple cider doughnut and an Andies Candies chocolate custard in a shot glass.

“My friend at the table was asking for extras,” Earle said.

After dinner it was time for music by Gravity of Youth, with a few guests danced to.

“Brilliant talent,” Earle said. “Those young kids and sure rock the oldies.”


Sponsor the finals

Members and businesses of the greater community are invited and encouraged to become sponsors of the 2020 Alice in Dairyland finals.

Sponsorship amounts and levels are as follows: $5,000, Tiara Circle; $2,500, Diamond; $1,000, Gold; $500, Amethyst; $250, Citrine; and, $100, Friends of Alice.

“The Jewels are representative of the crown that Alice wears,” Earle said.

To sponsor the finals send an email to or aliceindairyland2020@

For more information about Alice in Dairyland visit


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