Here on the farm, almost everything (even stuff that most people consider garbage) gets put to use. We take sustainability pretty seriously, so from the buffet food to the buildings, almost everything finds a home (or a mouth).
One thing that is a reality of every event venue is leftover food. We spend a lot of time crafting the best formulas for food preparation, but because not everything can be predicted, we sometimes have food left over from buffets, events, and other activities. We would rather have excess than not enough (we believe you should not leave here hungry!), but all that leftover food just can't go in the trash.
So after an event, we first separate food scraps to feed to the pigs, cats, and other farm animals that are, uhm, less picky about where their plate is set. The remaining food that is not even pig-worthy goes directly to our composting pile, where is breaks down and is later spread in the fields as fertilizer for those delicious berries, good carving pumpkins, and corn for the maze.
We make sure that almost every piece of food that is not eaten by our guests find a purpose, therefore saving on waste and keeping our food items moving through the cycle of re-use!
Even buildings don't go to waste around here. As farms grow older, buildings fall into disrepair or just fall down (from the weight of their own age or by wind, storm, etc). When this happens, every usable piece of scrap wood is saved and stored here on the farm until we have use for them. We have re-purposed old barn wood for the kiddie picnic tables you'll see placed out during fall season, made some wooden spools that have served as decoration at our weddings and events, and re-worked many of these pieces into signage for the fall season and for our events. And of course, the finishes in the barn itself are fully reclaimed as well.
One of the best ways (in our opinion) of reusing these old wood pieces is Bruce Vesperman's new hobby of creating amazing decorative pieces for both the farm and for sale. He's been in his workshop most of the summer carefully cutting, placing, and framing up some of these wonderful items. Some are in our barn now for decoration, but others were sold to customers during fall season (with plans to do this again next year). I know I have a few orders in with Bruce!
Bruce and Kyle have also created some functional pieces for the business, including these great napkin holders and our wine rack!
Kyle takes sustainability even off the farm, rescuing old buildings, shipping containers, and other items that were destined to be torn down, burned, or tossed in a landfill. One of our projects last year was bringing in an old garage that has since been transformed into the backdrop for our outdoor wedding ceremony location, a beautiful little spot that's framed perfectly on the hilltop overlooking the farm. Now dubbed the Schoolhouse because it reminds us of those little one-room schools, this little building will eventually become a bridal room for wedding parties!
As we've expanded our business, we've found we need ample room for storing items like tables, chairs, buffet items, and more. So Kyle found a down-and-out shipping container and re-purposed it as our storage unit. Now we can keep all our things safely out of our way when they need to be, but accessible when we have to set up for that next event.
Next on the docket is this old beauty, which was hauled in from a neighbor's. We're not sure what it'll be yet, but we'll dream of something! After that, there are two more buildings on the project list, but rest assured that each one will find a home at Vesperman Farms!
One thing's for sure: If you have something you don't need, we'll find a use for it out here at the farm!
Our slow-smoked buffet, which features Texan-BBQ-style pulled pork, brisket, and sausage, is our most popular option when clients are selecting their menu for their event. It's not only unique to our venue, but it's an absolute feast: 3 meats, 2 sides, cornbread, and all the trimmings. We have had such a positive response to this menu that we figured, hey, let's do an event to showcase these delicious options.
And the Good Ol' Pig Gig was born.
Now, if you just want to eat, check out our website here, go to our Facebook event (linked below), and check out our menu (click below). But after you're done working up an appetite, scroll down to learn a little behind-the-scenes information on the magic behind the meal.
As always with our business, smoking meats is a family affair. Kyle's cousin Eric is the go-to guy when you want this type of food. Eric started out as a little backyard business with a little smoker, doing some small events and parties around town. He then got crafty and bought himself a refrigerator that he converted into a smoker, welding on a spot to make the fire and catch the grease and drilling in vent holes throughout. That worked well for awhile, but today we keep him busy enough that he graduated to trailer-smoker setup pictured below. He can cook up to 18 briskets at one time in this baby!
On days we serve this menu, Eric and his crew start around 6 a.m. to fire up the smoker using a mixture of oak and apple wood chips.
After the fire is going, the cooking process begins.
First, there's PREP. Eric and the gang take a large brisket, sausage links, ribs, or pulled pork and begin prepping by trimming up the cut to remove excess fat. Then they season with a super-special-secret mix of herbs and spices developed over years of cooking and smoking. Each different type of meat takes a different type of herb/spice blend. And into the smoker it goes.
After the prep, there's the really good stuff: the SMOKE. Meats stay in the smoker for 4-5 hours (the brisket takes the longest, the ribs a little less time, and rounding out the race are the pulled pork and sausage, which take the least amount of time). The smoke until they get that gorgeous, flavorful smoke ring 'round the outside.
After their time is up, the meats are taken out, wrapped in aluminum foil to keep in moisture and popped right back in the smoker for a few more hours to finish cooking. In all, they stay in the smoker for 7-8 hours, so if you plan to make this for Christmas dinner, set your alarm to EARLY.
Finally, we EAT. Once the meats have finished smoking, they are cut to order, shredded, or otherwise prepared to hit your plate. And we and our guests usually make quick work of food that has taken so long to bring to the table.
We're excited for you all dig in and have a good time at our first rib-and-barbecue event. We hope to see you there!
This past December, we hosted two wedding receptions in the barn. I know what you're thinking: "A winter reception in an old, drafty barn - no way!" But our old barn boards don't just provide a warm backdrop for a wedding. We also have in-floor heating that keeps our guests warm and comfortable, even in this recent cold snap!
Riley and Michael's wedding was on a day that was downright balmy for December, which was a blessing for guests traveling for the wedding. We had a lot of fun working with this couple, who are wonderfully creative and experimented with room design and decor, creating a cozy and nicely-layered backdrop for their reception of about 160 people.
They braved the cold and ended the night with an amazing fireworks show and bride/groom send-off that was super fun and super cool.
Congratulations, Riley and Michael! You guys have quite the "spark" and we were thrilled to be a part of your big day!
Cheryl and Daryl's wedding didn't escape the winter weather - quite a bit of snow fell on their wedding day - but lanterns lit the way for an intimate and lovely reception with some truly kind and fun people.
How amazing was this winter wonderland cake by the SweetSpot Bakehouse?
Congratulations, Daryl and Cheryl! We so enjoyed working with you and your family and are so happy for you!
We are a new barn that's been made to look old, so we enjoy some of the amenities that traditional venues have, like temperature control and indoor restroom facilities, but we have all the character and vibe of a remodeled barn.
At Vesperman Farms, you can have both the winter wedding of your dreams and the barn venue you've always wanted. Get in touch with us today by clicking here if a snow-covered farm wonderland is in the cards for you!
Guys, seriously, how amazing is this wedding? Katie and Josh had a gorgeous vision and we loved providing them with the backdrop for their beautiful wedding reception. The soft florals, romantic draping, perfect lighting, and layers of decoration wowed people as they walked through the door. It was a beautiful setting for the start of a beautiful marriage for these two lovebirds.
Photographs by Precious Moments Photography. Decorations by Lueck Weddings.
The florals were done by Country Flowers and Gifts and bakery items were from Take the Cake Desserts. Both added a lot of elegance (and flavor!) to this beautiful wedding.
Although we enjoy every wedding here on the farm, it always take a special meaning when you know the couple personally. It was wonderful to be part of Katie and Josh's day as their venue, but also as friends happy to share in the love and laughter of the day.
Couples at the farm definitely take advantage of the sunsets out here, and a beautiful one topped off the evening for these two.
Congratulations, Katie and Josh. We were so happy to be part of your day!
The donut trend is by no means a new one, but here at the farm, we are able to put our own special twist on what is always a popular alternative to traditional wedding cake. Couples can either cater them in from other vendors, or can choose to go through us for our delicious apple cider donuts. Usually a treat reserved for fall season, these donuts are fast becoming a popular choice for our couples. If you are on the Good Ship Donut, here are a few things you need to know about donuts at weddings in general, and some specific items to consider for our venue in particular!
These donuts are from the heavenly Greenbush Bakery, a preferred vendor here at the farm. They are located in Madison and have some seriously delicious donuts.
THE DEETs on the DONUTs
People have loved donuts for years, but the donut wall hit the trends a couple years ago and people haven't looked back.
Presentation style varies, from the stacking to the hanging to the ever-creative donut pegboard. With donuts, couples and bakers can get really creative with their presentation, offering a unique design, flavor, and statement to their wedding desserts.
Here at the farm, we offer a variety of options for flavors: go "traditional" with our tried-and-true apple cider donuts or branch out to chocolate, vanilla, and caramel frosted donuts (decorated with your wedding color scheme in mind).
We usually stack these delicious treats a mile high, but we work with all brides to help determine the best presentation for the donut of choice and for the unique style and flavor of each wedding decor.
It's always a good idea to think about the accessories, too—do you want hot or cold apple cider to be served or even hot chocolate and all the fixings (especially for those gorgeous winter weddings). We're strong believers that every donut experience should be transcendent, and we'll work hard to make sure your dessert stands out. While the presentation of these beautiful snacks might come in and out of favor, we're pretty sure these donuts are here to stay.
Fun on the farm...in blog form!