By Kris Leonhardt
The Weber family came to America in 1863, when Peter Weber was a youthful 17-year-old. The family initially settled in the Fond du Lac area.
In 1904, Peter moved to Lincoln Township just west of Marshfield, where he and his wife, Elizabeth purchased a 126-acre farm from C.E. Blodgett.
Peter and Elizabeth began a milk delivery route, which they named Maple Grove Dairy, and began supplying customers with raw milk and cream. At that time, the product was delivered by horse and wagon.
During the 1920s, Peter and Elizabeth’s son, John and his wife, Margaret purchased the farm. The couple expanded the farm business into retail distribution, establishing a milk route that serviced 100 customers in Marshfield.
This started an era from farm to home. In a time before refrigeration units were mainstream, the average person depended on this delivery service for fresh product.
The delivery service continued well into the 1940s, with John and Margaret’s children, Eugene, Peter, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Loraine, assisting their parents.
In 1951, John and Margaret’s son, Joseph and his wife, Bernadine purchased the Weber family farm.
Four years later, the couple opened Weber’s Farm Store changing the business model from the product coming to the customer, to the customer coming to the product.
This type of service was beginning to trend in the 1950s. According to the USDA, half of consumer milk sales in the 1950s reached the home through delivery service. By 2005, home-delivered milk was down to less than half of one percent.
With the new business model, customers would bring containers to the store to be filled with pasteurized whole milk.
In 1959, the state laws changed required the milk to be bottled, and the Webers began bottling the milk in glass and added a drive-thru to the store.
Like previous generations, Joseph and Bernadine’s children, Carol, Pat, Joellen, Joel, and David assisted in the business. In 1970, the business became a family corporation with the fourth generation of the Weber family.
At this time, the business converted to packaging their milk in pouches.
Today the business has entered its fifth generation and is now owned by Ken and Joellen (Weber) Heiman, Kelvin and Marilyn Heiman, and Kim and Cheryl Heiman, who also own Nasonville Dairy.
The business still operates out of the Weber family farm at 9706 County Rd H, Marshfield.
Weber’s Farm Store produces, processes, and retails milk along with other products. The business is one of the hosts for Farm Technology Days this July, near Marshfield.