RTF: Fox Valley Berkshire

NostranoCooper’s Tavern, Crema Cafe, Liliana’s as well as Graze and L’Etoile are a few of the well-known restaurants that are choosing to source their pork from Fox Valley Berkshire Farm. Bruce Braun along with a crew of about ten others raise a high quality Berkshire hog that is fed a completely vegetarian feed along with a variety of grains grown on the farm. The pigs are also offered fresh milk from six cows that graze freely on Fox Valley’s land keeping them happy and healthy year round.


While the land they are on has been a farm for many years the Fox Valley Berkshire productions are only about 5 years old. The community of local food establishments they have obtained in those few years is outstanding and very helpful for business. The Fox Valley crew is able to produce a very high quality while being able to know exactly where each product ends up.

The pigs are raised as a Berkshire breed that offers a redder meat that is of a higher quality than other pork on the market. Bruce and coworker Todd run the farm along with a small team that sources their pigs to Kewaskum Frozen Foods animal processing followed by delivering a majority of the meat themselves.


There are about 10 pigs on the land at a time that produce a liter of about 12 piglets. These animals are kept in a cool enclosure with the ability to roam outside as well. As they grow up they are given more room to roam around and graze on the grains grown. Similar to other Berkshire hogs their time on the farm is about 6 months allowing the farmer to source to as many food establishments as they do without mass producing their animals. At Fox Valley Berkshire the pigs nor cows are fed any hormones or antibiotics and the farmers find it very important to offer a variety of grains giving the animals all the natural nutrients and proteins needed to grow strong and healthy with the correct amount of fat content.


The community of food establishments that choose to support Fox Valley Berkshire do so because of the high quality product that is offered to them and the transparency that the farm promotes. The entire Fox Valley team works with the animals and the processors while distributing the final cuts of meat themselves so they are able to see their animals throughout the entire process. The team has also taken the time to dine at many of these restaurants to fully understand the product they are selling on the market.

For more information about Fox Valley Berkshire review their bio on the Real Time Farms website with pictures and contact information.

All hail a fresh milk-fed hog.

Amy Verhey

Summer Food Warrior 2012


1 South Pinckney Street

This is a special happy birthday and cheers to one of my very favorites, Mose! Last night was her 21st birthday and since we are now entering the “real world” (of legal drinking) we decided to act like it and treat ourselves to Graze. This is Chef Tory Miller’s latest addition to Madison’s downtown Capitol Square scene and it is definitely one that will last. This was supposed to be Mose’s birthday treat but I think my ooing and awing over every bite left me definitely the most satisfied.

The gastropub menu and unique, hip atmosphere allowed us to forget we were only a few blocks from campus, so we choose to start with some fancy cocktails and sweet wines. The birthday girl ordered a classic Cider and moved on to a Raspberry Sprinkler. This colorful drink of raspberry purée, Mathilde Framboise and sparkling wine was fit for a princess. There were also some Rhum Fires, a unique mix of gingseng-star anise infused rhum and ginger beer (definitely a bit experimental) and classic white wine ordered, and all of course consumed by those of age while the rest of us drooled waiting for our day when we can explore a cocktail menu.

Next we decided to start with an appetizer and this was easily, hands down, the best decision we made all night. The Fried Sassy Cow cheese curds made in a vodka batter and served with house ranch are something I will never forget. The thin layer of batter melted away in your mouth while endless amounts of cheese oozed out. The first few bites left us all a little speechless and so far all was oh-so-good.

Our great friend and Madison Chef, Ian Gatley, recommended the Pub Burger which is a pasture Highland beef patty sandwiched between two housemade English muffins and the works; including housemade pickles, bacon and aged cheddar cheese. The crispy fries were served with a garlicky aoli sauce to show off how amazing this burger was in comparison to any other attempts out there. Three of us couldn’t help but order that while I sampled the Bibimbap; a bowl of crispy rice, marinated ground pork, sautéed spinach, winter vegetables, bean sprouts, sunny-side up egg and a spicy gochujang sauce. The idea is to mash everything together and enjoy with chop sticks. This indeed was like nothing I have experienced for dinner because of the mixture of meat, veggies and eggs but my taste buds were far from disappointed.

Even though by now we were all coming close to food comma we pushed through and ordered desert and were so grateful that we did! Mose, our birthday girl, choose the Hot Fudge Sundae which was a combination of their homemade vanilla ice cream, whiskey caramel, whipped cream and smokey chopped hickory nuts. We sang happy birthday and gave cheers to a new year and our one missing love who is abroad in Paris.

Food and birthdays have become two of my favorite things over the years and we can all enjoy and celebrate the festivities.

Bon Appetit and Cheers to you.