Country Store“Come boss; come boss; come bossy” would bring the cows home at milking time when I was a girl growing up on the farm. Bringing bossy into the modern world is the name of a new store on the Ridge that opened two weeks ago.
Located out in the country, Bossy Cow Country Store is as country as you can get. Broad fields, bare now in winter except for a giant pile of rolled hay bales, border both sides of the driveway. In the farmyard to the left is a long open shed where 80 Holstein heifers are being raised into milk cows. On the right connected to a square, two-story farmhouse is Bossy Cow Country Store, established by Amanda and Douglas Wallerman and owned by Amanda. Future staff are children Charlie, 10, and Maddie, 9.
This new business is a companion to their big agribusiness, a family farm milking 420 Holsteins and raising corn, rye, sorghum and alfalfa on 1,000 acres of land — partly owned, partly rented. In addition, they have a beef and pork operation, which is the nucleus for this new venture.
“Doug and I talked about having a store for years,” said Amanda, “giving us the opportunity to get our meat out there, selling a good quality meat.”
They took the big step after receiving encouragement from friends and talking to a friend in the Sparta area who has a store. After the paperwork, the applications for licenses and setting up the business as a legal and separate entity from the farm, Amanda held a grand opening Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14. According to the guest book, people came from throughout the area and as far as Richland Center and Fort Atkinson.
“One of our dreams is coming to fruition,” Amanda said.
I drove down that road last week, parked next to an array of old-time milk cans and met Amanda at the store. We were masked, Amanda’s a spotted black and white to match the farm name: Ridgeville Holsteins. Inside dominating one wall are two huge stainless steel freezer units, filled with processed and packaged pork and Angus corn fed beef raised on their farm. Also for sale in bulk, Amanda pointed out, prices listed on a blackboard. Lamb and chicken will be coming in the spring.
Elsewhere in this store are varieties of specialty items with the emphasis on local. The cranberries used in cranberry wines are from Habelman’s cranberry marsh, Warrens. Award winning cheeses come from Nordic Creamery, Westby, with fresh cheese curds featured every Friday. Candies by the Amish are made in rural Norwalk. Bath soaps made by Breanne Zaremba, Tomah, are handcrafted with milk from Ridgeville Holsteins. In addition beer, Grassland butter (milk from those Holsteins), maple syrup, honey, decorative pillows, t-shirts, hand crafted jewelry and Christmas ornaments are for sale. Gift boxes available.
Highlighting displays of rustic country crafts are old-time wooden cupboards I call pie safes, one found in the basement of the farmhouse when Wallermans moved there, 2013. Cabinets repurposed into display units fit in with the ambiance of a country store.
This country store has a centerpiece, a 6 x 8 check out counter designed by Amanda and built by her brother Josh Kepler. It comes with history. “An old carriage shed on the farm was torn down after wind damage,” said Amanda. They kept the wood, which Josh used for the counter top and frame. Filling in are aged, gray corrugated pieces of metal that Josh recycled from his inventory.
The name Bossy Cow may not be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it has shown up in various ways. Bossy the Cow was a performer on Sesame Street, there is a Ballad of Bossy Cow, Bossy Cow, a character in a comic strip, and, yes, there is a book: 101 Bossy Cow Jokes. In the 1970s, a Bossy Cow almost became a mascot for University of California-Davis and was part of a cheer heard at football games.
My memory goes way back to the 1940s when our 12 Guernsey cows had a pasture in the woods where they spent the day. To bring them home in the evening was my job, walking down the lane to the top of the hill where I’d stand and call, “Come, boss; come boss; come bossy.” I’d watch them slowly walk through the valley, up the hill on well-worn cow paths and then down the lane to the barn. They came when called.
In this day and age, Bossy Cow Country Store is just up the road from my place. From Tomah, drive south on Hwy. 131 about five miles. Turn right or west to Ridgeville on Hwy. A about five miles. Turn left or south on Hwy. U one mile. Watch for the sign on Jitney Road. Open Thursdays 3-7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Open by appointment during winter break: Saturday, Dec. 19 until Jan. 6. Call 608-343-9928 or email Thebossycowcountrystore@gmail.com. Find the store on Facebook.