Meet Kelly Wilfert and her family farm, Wilfert Farms! Learn her #thinkloveplay story, “Manitowoc County Lets my family live our American Dream.”
Why do you love our area? Manitowoc County lets my family live our American Dream. With generations born and raised in this county and the surrounding area, the Wilfert farm family is homegrown in Manitowoc. In 1977, after my grandfather was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the family’s cows were sold. My father left his marketing career and moved home to raise grain and work in custom farming. Several years later, with the need to diversify in a struggling agricultural economy, Wilfert Farms – the vegetable farm – was born. The community’s love of our strawberries, peas-in-the-pod, and sweet corn (among other things!) has allowed our farm to flourish and grow – giving our family the chance to do the same.
Each generation has worked successively to better the next, but we couldn’t do it without the loving support from our customers and the community! Being a part of a community that supports local family businesses is just one reason why I love Manitowoc County and look forward to returning full time.
Positive experience: As a little girl growing up on the farm, I was also instilled with my parents’ entrepreneurial spirit. Our customers supported me every step of the way. From letting me carry their bags to buying my gladiolus, community members encouraged my hard work and often rewarded me with a $1 tip. Those tips were used for three things: (1) saving for college, (2) buying Friday night fish at the old “La Fiesta,” or (3) saving to buy my 4-H project, Kramer. Kramer was an inexperienced four-year-old horse, bought by an inexperienced eleven-year-old girl. Yet, several customers came to cheer us on at our first county fair as we won our first (and only ever) blue ribbon. Kramer and I were the only entrants in the class, but they applauded nonetheless.
You see, Kramer was much more than just a horse. He taught me patience, determination, and to always get back on. To many folks, the small tips and money they spent at our farm may have been just another trip to the grocery store, but it helped me accomplish my first big goal. I could not be more grateful to the Manitowoc community that supported a little girl’s dreams by shopping at our local business.
Favorite thing about Manitowoc County: Kramer and I enjoy exploring the horse trail at Point Beach State Park, but my favorite part of Manitowoc County is the strong community feel. In high school, a friend once said to me, “It must be awful living here! Everywhere we go – someone knows you.” Today, that’s one of my favorite things. From Mishicot to Meeme, it kept my younger self on my toes and continues to make me feel welcome countywide. It takes a village to raise a child, but those of us in Manitowoc are lucky enough to have a whole county.