Thoughts for Food: How did Wisconsin’s Central Sands emerge as one of the premier vegetable production centers in the nation?
The Central Sands region of Wisconsin is recognized as one of the premier vegetable growing regions in the nation; potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, peas, carrots and cucumbers all rank near the top of US production. This remarkable level of success was forged by the ingenuity and hard work of the farmers who settled here generations ago, and it is enhanced by our temperate climate with warm daytime temperatures, cool nights and ample rainfall. The foundation of the region’s productivity, however, lies in its geological history, which began during the glacial ice age that encompassed Wisconsin over 15,000 years ago. Geologically, the Central Sands is a large and relatively flat glacial outwash plain with abundant sandy soil—ideal for vegetable production—that is underlain by a deep groundwater aquifer that provides the water needed for crop growth and productivity. The sandy soils deposited by the glacial lake and its residual groundwater make this region ideal for vegetable production, which provides an economic boost to the region and enables Wisconsin to be a leader in providing a safe and abundant food supply to the whole nation. (more…)