Definition: Although the first U.S. crop of mint was planted around 1810, mint was not commercially cultivated in Wisconsin until the mid-20th century. Neighboring states, particularly Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, were producing commercial mint by the late 19th century, primarily to supply the Wrigley chewing gum empire in Chicago. In Wisconsin, mint was first planted on an experimental basis to meet wartime demands in 1943. The experiments met with quick success and within five years, Jefferson County was producing 60 percent of the state's crop of peppermint. Still, only 17 large scale growers were cultivating nearly all the mint grown in the late 1940s. Cultivation spread in the 1950s and today, Wisconsin ranks with Washington and Oregon in growing most of the world's supply, harvesting far more peppermint than spearmint.
[Source: Wisconsin's Cultural Resources Study Units, Wisconsin Historical Society]