Fall is in the air, but so is the cheese
It’s in the air: that certain crisp smell, the clarity of light, the ease of breathing dryness. Fall is here. You can feel it. You can sense it in the animals around the farm. This week, a rash of hummingbirds appeared at the hummingbird feeder, all fighting for a spot to drink nectar. They seem to spend more time fighting each other than feeding. There have been a few monarch butterflies hovering around the flowers, as they stock up on reserves to sustain them on their southbound journey. I’ve also noticed that the praying mantises are abundant once more; it’s strange how I only see them as summer is waning and fall is waxing.
The grain farmers have started harvesting corn this week. The combines are rolling down the roads, but I don’t see the usual back and forth grain truck traffic associated with many trips needed to take the harvest to the grain elevator. There’s lots of talk on the commodity reports about checking for aflatoxin in corn this year-it’s a toxin associated with a black mold; another insult to the injury of a poor corn harvest. I’ve been watching the sharp-shinned hawks hover over the newly harvested corn fields on the prowl for rodents, now easy to spot in the skimpy corn stubble.
The goats sense fall is in the air too. The bucks are all too eager to watch the milkers parade into the milk parlor every evening, curling their lips to catch any scents that might indicate that the does are coming into heat. Soon, they will be able to satiate their desires when breeding season begins. The milkers are ever more reluctant to rise from their slumber in the morning and waddle into the milking parlor. It’s dark now at 5:30AM, so, really, who wants to get out bed? We too are finding it ever more difficult to leave the comfort of the covers and rise to meet the days’ challenges. The desire for hibernation grows stronger and stronger. I’m holding it back for the time being.
We’re attending three farmers’ markets this Saturday, September 22nd: Urbana, Springfield and Chicago’s Green City Market. For our Springfield patrons, we’re the featured farmer for the Springfield Slow Food Convivium this week, so if you’re a Slow Food member, please come out and see us this Saturday. We’ve got some great cheese for you:
- Fresh Chevre—plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper and a few heirloom tomato
- Most of our bloomy rind cheeses including: Little Bloom on the Prairie, Black Goat, Ewe Bloom, Black Sheep
- Sheep Milk Feta
- Huckleberry Blue—we are now cutting into our last wheels so this cheese will be around for another week or two. It’s more aged, drier and more crumbly than earlier in the season—perfect for a salad or to crumble on a pizza (try caramelized onion, Huckleberry Blue and chevre on a pizza-yum!!)
- Mollisol Pecorino Romano (these are the last few wedges of this sharp and flavorful grating cheese as well)
For our Urbana shoppers, don’t let fall deter you from stocking up on pints of our goat milk gelato and sorbetto. We’ve been tweaking the recipes for the Anise Hyssop and the Cardamom, resulting in a lot more flavor. If you like these exotic flavors, I encourage you to give them a try.
We’ve also got:
- Rhubarb Swirl
- Stracciatella (fancy chocolate ganache chip)
- Thai Basil
- Concord Grape Sorbetto
- Pear Sorbetto
Fall is a great time to shop the farmers' markets, so come out and support your local farmers!