Farmers' Markets: If it’s Thursday afternoon and you’re headed on Highway 13 through Cornucopia (Corny), stop at the Corny Farmers Market, right on the beach. Tiny, but chocked with good stuff, from 3-6 p.m. Saturday is market day in Superior (Barker’s Island), Port Wing, Bayfield, and Ashland, from 8-noon. All feature local and organic produce, cheeses, baked goods, pork, lamb, beef, poultry, eggs, and crafts.
Ehlers’s General Store: If you miss the markets, stop here right off Highway 13 in Corny. Now in its third generation (circa 1915), Ehler's is the source for berries, tomatoes, garlic, onions, broccoli, smoked fish, lamb, beef, chicken and pork, lots of great cheese from all over Wisconsin, artisan breads (kick-ass sourdough from Coco's in Washburn, more later), and deli sandwiches. You’ll also find fishing tackle, bug spray, WI brews (New Glarus), and spirits (Death’s Door vodka, gin and clear whisky), plus hammers, nails, shower rods, toys . . .
Farm Stands: Many of the Bayfield farmers have farm stands, my favorite is North Wind Organic, a permaculture farm with the best tasting blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes. Farmer Tom Galazen runs the place off the grid, using a solar powered tractor and making jams and jellies on a wood stove. Look for the sign - Bayfield Orchards - as you’re entering town off 13, North Wind Organic is listed on that. Flying Snake Eco-Farm, also organic, sells produce as well as its artisan sausage and free-range chicken.
Sassy Nanny Goat Cheese: Look for it at all of the farmers' markets and the Bayfield Wine and Spirit Shop, which carries an eclectic selection of vinos at easy prices. Sassy Nanny’s Lake Effect is a fresh spreadable cheese (terrific drizzled with local honey and hit with cracked black pepper), the Buttin Heads is a sea salt brined feta, and Cabra Fresco is a classic queso fresco for nachos, all are worth seeking out.
Cafe Life: In Bayfield, check out Big Water Cafe & Coffee Roasters, whose coffee trumps some of the fancier places back in the Cities (duck in for breakfast or sandwiches). In Washburn, don’t miss Coco for fabulous artisan breads and pies stuffed with local fruit.
If you’re like me, more interested in what comes AFTER kayaking, swimming, and beach games, know that there are lots of good eats.