Jim’s grandfather, Anton Palmquist, went into business with the Gustafsons and formed the Palmquist and Gustafson Logging Company around 1920. They harvested timber across northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During their heyday, they employed more than 100 people. The farm was used as support for the logging company. During the off-season, food and hay was grown and draft horses were raised. Eventually The Farm transformed into a dairy operation but continued adding acreage as woodland as it expanded.
Jim’s father, Art, was quick and wise to adopt a management philosophy which was based in both multiple use and sustainability. Art managed the woodlands of The Farm for many years to create a healthy, multi-facetted forest landscape. They began accepting visitors for recreational purposes in 1949. Aside from being a great get-away from the city, guests enjoyed wandering through the gardens and guided horseback riding throughout the land’s trails. In 1976 Art was recognized for his efforts by receiving the State Tree Farmer of the Year award.
After college Jim was an Ag Agent for the UW-Extension in Lincoln and Price counties. Helen worked as a speech therapist for the Tomahawk School District. Jim began the process of taking over management of The Farm in the late 70’s and Helen left the school district in 1984 to join Jim in the management of the operations. Jim and Helen, with their entrepreneurial spirit, began to modify how The Farm did business. Slowly they moved away from dairy and into the recreation business. For many years Jim taught log cabin construction classes on the property. The Farm now has accommodations for up to 60 guests per night in the log cabins constructed during those classes. In addition, they have a large cabin, called the Picaroon which may be used as a gathering room for weddings, class reunions, and business meetings.
Today The Farm is a full-service destination resort for people who enjoy the outdoors. In winter they offer cross country skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. They have changed the dairy barn to a livery stable and provide riding opportunities throughout the summer and early fall (bring your own horse). During hunting season they provide opportunities for hunting deer and grouse. And regardless of the time of year, they offer their guests excellent home cooked meals at the main house.
Throughout this time they have continued to manage their forest lands under a multiple use philosophy. They manage for high quality forest products, firewood, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Kretz Lumber has been working with Jim and Helen to help them manage their property for many years. They have been members of the Kretz Forest Family since its inception. Kretz has been able to assist them with management planning, timber marking and marketing. Another neighbor, Ron Heikkinen, a soft spoken gentleman, conducts the majority of the logging operations and does an outstanding job. We would like to thank Jim and Helen for their support of Kretz Lumber.
If you ever have an opportunity to visit The Farm, I would encourage you to do so. From utilizing targeted land management strategies to offering the public a wonderful farm experience, I trust you’ll enjoy your visit.