This summer, my visit to northern Wisconsin happened to coincide with the annual “Art Crawl,” a weekend of open studios at the homes and shops of artists along 50 miles of wooded backroads. One of the stops was North Star Homestead Farms, a homestead built in the early 1900s and lovingly restored by the Berlage family (Ann, Laura, and Kara) since 2000. The farm provides a wide array of fresh produce year-round, quite a feat in this northern climate.
The farm also has a small flock of hard-working sheep, a mix of Dorset, East Fresian, Finnsheep, and Clune Forest. This combination suits Laura and Kara, the two Berlage sisters, well: Laura is a weaver trained in Navajo-style and Flemish tapestry; Kara studied the ancient art of Italian gelato-making, a delicious addition to the farm’s onsite café.
Since the focus of the Art Crawl was on finished products, not raw materials, I only caught a glimpse of the flock from afar. But I got to see (and buy) some beautiful, raspberry-colored yarn spun from their fleeces.
I also toured Laura’s weaving studio, where she had a variety of looms, including this adjustable triangular gem, on which Laura weaves shawls with just some yarn and her fingers.
Laura also had some tapestry work on display–including this “five-year” project (which is soon to become a “ten-year” one).
- What fiber does North Star Homestead Farms produce? Wool from a flock of dorset, east fresian, finnsheep, and clun forest.
- What products does North Star Homestead Farms sell? Yarn (natural and dyed), roving, comforters and dairy (gelato, milk, cheese).
- Where can I buy these products? At the Farmstead Creamery & Café in Hayward, WI. If you don’t have plans to be in the area anytime soon, check out the farm’s website and Etsy shop. (I can highly recommend the rag rugs–bought one to cover a cold kitchen floor and it is wonderful!)