Four generations of the Henschel family have lived in the sprawling white farmhouse
on Townline Road in Carlsville; a sign at the end of the lane reads
“Cherryland Dairy Farm.” It is a pretty setting, the buildings neat and
orderly, fields full with the crops Mike Henschel and his wife, Jamie, have
nurtured throughout the spring. Theirs is a tradition of dedication to the
“I am very proud of what we do,” Mike said of his family’s 100-year tradition
of farming in Door County. “One son in each generation of my family has kept
the farm going. I would love to have my sons work the farm someday. There’s
plenty to keep them all busy.”
The Henschel family has been keeping busy since 1902 when Ed Henschel, a
German immigrant, moved his family to Door County, building the home his
great-grandson Mike lives in today. “Each generation brought its special
interest to farming,” related Mike.
“The farm first raised dairy cows. Then my grandfather Ray introduced
Ayrshire cattle and planted the cherry orchard. My dad’s contribution was the
sawmill, and he brought pigs to the farm. The maple syrup business was my
idea,” Mike said with a smile.
Growing up on the family farm, Mike assumed responsibility at an early age.
“My father had his first heart attack when I was 12 years old and he just
couldn’t do it all after that. He was such a hard worker; the more he could
do in a day, the happier he was,” Mike remembered with affection. Roger
Henschel suffered a fatal heart attack in November 2002.
Living down the road is Mike’s mother, Helen Henschel.
“She works very hard doing field work, helping in the sawmill and she makes
our meals. We couldn’t do it without her. And she was a Schartner and has her
own history in Door County,” he said.
Today, the Henschel farm owns 410 acres and rents an
additional 150 acres. Although Cherryland Dairy Farm supports 50 dairy cows
and markets steers and pigs, Henschel explained, “We do a little of
everything. We grow canning peas, winter wheat, oats, corn, alfalfa,
soybeans, and cherries that go to Northern Door markets.” The sawmill cuts
approximately 200,000 board feet per year.
“Everything has a season; it all fits together,” Jamie Henschel added.
Door County Agricultural Agent Mark Feuerstein considers the Henschel farm
“the most diversified farm in Door County. They are super people and have
farming for the long term. Mike is committed to continuing his father’s
tradition of being a great farmer.”
The Henschels have hosted the Dairy Breakfast and the Maple Syrup Tour and
are involved in
a number of farm-related state organizations. Hosting school tours, Jamie
Henschel related, “is great fun. The children love to see the pigs. We give
them wagon rides and serve ice cream with our own maple syrup.”
“We feel it is very important to be part of the community,” Mike Henschel
said. “We love what we do and want to be here for a very long time. This is a
dominant farm area and we want to see that continue.”