Historic Island Dairy

dairy-builiding550.pngLocated on Washington Island Wisconsin, the Island Lavender Farm encompasses the celebrated Historic Island Dairy, a beautifully renovated and re-purposed landmark building. The Historic Island Dairy was built in 1916, centrally located on the Island which is approximately the same size as Manhattan.  Surrounding the Historic Island Dairy are the Island Lavender Company gardens and lavender farm fields including a multi-roof hand carved Scandinavian Viking temple for drying fresh lavender bundles after harvest.

On the first level of the Historic Island Dairy, the Island Lavender Farm Market is a welcome gathering spot where historical exhibits, vintage posters, art and books can be discovered alongside  a wide variety of lavender bath, beauty, home and food products.  The upper level Grand Ballroom with cathedral ceilings and expansive window views overlooks acres and acres of lavender fields. One cannot help but be enticed by the view from the outside deck enveloped by the sweet fragrance of the surrounding lavender gardens. The grand piano and hand-built stone fireplace under the “Roaring 20s” mirrored ball enhance wedding celebrations, family gatherings and special events all year round, especially during the lavender festival blooming season in July and August.

The Historic Island Dairy was cooperatively owned by and supported 46 dairy families at its peak, producing 100,000 pounds of cheese annually. It was operated with a cheese maker and staff producing milk, butter, cream and cheese. In 1967, bulk milk pickup in trucks replaced the shipment of milk in cans, impacting the efficiency and economics of dairy production. As a result, the Island Diary Cooperative was dissolved and the contents and property were sold. The Dairy building was used for storage and was vacant for nearly 40 years. In 2009, the Dairy was sold and extensively renovated.   It reopened in 2012 with two state-licensed commercial kitchens, one on each level, serving the Island community again. The Island entrepreneurial spirit continues to be invigorated with the planting of acres of lavender fields and by providing a home for the Island Lavender Farm Market at the Historic Island Dairy.