Mid-Atlantic cuisine conjures images of crab coated in Old Bay. If asked what you might eat in New Mexico, you might answer chili or queso. And Wisconsin has flavors all its own, which are proudly presented at the State Fair.
Starla Batzko is a former farmer and Texas State Extension educator that felt compelled to return home, to the rolling hills and dairy-inspired flavors of Wisconsin. She started Starla’s Seasonings, Dips, and Mixes. But it’s not as simple as locals asking for cheese dip. There’s more variety even within our state borders.
“We’re very regional in Wisconsin!” she said. “Central Wisconsin seems to love more horse radish. North will buy more of my pizza mix. And there’s a whole ‘nother region that likes the spicy or habanero or buffalo wing.”
It comes as no surprise that the #1 favorites are BLT and cheesy bacon ranch.
We just stick with what we love,” she added.
Pop’s Kettlecorn is another Wisconsin-owned and sourced company that has a multitude of flavors, but especially takes pride in the red and white tastes. Owner Mark Aitson has helped craft over 60 flavors, but the biggest hits are his two cheddars: the hot Dragon’s Breath and the mild guacamole lime white cheddar.
Kettle corn, for which the company is known, is another Wisconsin classic. Also layering the shelves are impossible to miss titles like Brandy Old Fashioned, Maple Bacon, Muskego, and Bourbon. The ingredients are all locally-sourced, too! The only out-of-state ingredient is the corn itself, but they’re working on starting their own corn field.
Mark’s dream is to make the company entirely Wisconsin, in not just name and taste, but ingredients as well.
All these treats and more can be found in the Products Pavilion at State Fair.