Love is in the air and oh that smell!
Farm News: Love “stinks”
A strong north wind ushered in a 30 degree drop in temperature last night, and, with it came a cold rain and that full fall feeling. Love is in the air on the farm, and it has a distinct odor of male goats eager to pass on their genes to the next generation. Their mating rituals are quite elaborate, and to spare you the gory details, let’s just say, for the bucks, there is a lot of “goat cologne” sprayed around. Our does are ready too. Their tales are wagging in a frantic manner, as they vie for coveted spots close to the fence to draw the attentions and affections of their suitors. As the Burt Bacharach song goes: “the look of love is in your eyes, a look your smile can't disguise.” Yes, even goats can smile.
It is time once again for our annual fall ritual of breeding. These past couple of weeks, I have been pouring over milk records, reviewing goat lineages and re-examining kid conformation to make my goat pairing selections. The hat I wear this time of year is that of goat yente (aka the farm matchmaker). Each buck will have his harem of does, based on our hopes and desires for the next generation. We’ve got Eddie, our tall, spotted and handsome Nubian buck, in the spot light. He provides stature, nice long necks and some splashy spots. Next in line are our two La Mancha bucks, Mocha and Rex. Mocha also gives length and leanness to his daughters; Rex gives us nice wide and well-attached udders. We have three new bucklings from last year’s breeding to bring into the lineup as well. We’re particularly excited about the “Millie buck” (yet to be given his real name). He’s the buckling of one of our top Nubian does, Millie, and the success of artificial insemination. His sire comes out of a long line of “champions” who purport to produce copious quantities of milk. He’ll be a busy boy for sure this fall. We might even have to give him a step ladder to get the job done with some of our does.
Farmers’ Market News and Cheese Events
October is American Cheese Month. It’s a time to celebrate the explosion of great artisan and farmstead American cheeses now on the market across the country. You can do your part by coming to the famers’ markets this weekend and throughout the month of October to patronize your favorite cheese makers. The cooler weather might tempt you to stay in bed, but I always say that it’s worth getting up early, coming to the market and getting all of your week’s food wares, coming home, making a great breakfast with all those local foods and then taking a long nap! We will be attending three farmers’ markets this Saturday, October 6th: Urbana, Springfield and Chicago’s Green City Market. Wes and Sarah will be in Urbana, Alison will be greeting our Springfield patrons, and I will be alongside Pat at the Green City Market. We’ve got some great fall cheeses for you:
- Plenty of Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
- An array of bloomy rind cheeses including Little Bloom on the Prairie (Angel Food is continuing to age and should be ready soon), Black Goat (limited quantities), Ewe Bloom AND Black Sheep—don’t forget this American Cheese Society’s blue ribbon winner.
- Sheep milk feta
- The last of this season’s Huckleberry Blue
We will have some of our mid- summer honey for sale as well—both 8 and 16 ounce glass jars as well as a few boxes of honey comb and comb + honey in the jar.
For our Urbana shoppers, the expected cold temperatures should allow you to purchase several pints of gelato and get them home safely without them melting. We’ve got our usual flavors as well as some new ones:
- Lemon Verbena
- Anise Hyssop
- Mint Stracciatella—NEW FLAVOR, A FANCY MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP
- Sorbettos: Espresso, Chocolate, Concord Grape and Rhubarb (yes, Brackett Farm still has Rhubarb!!)
For those of you in the Chicago suburbs, I will be coming to Standard Market in Westmont Illinois this Saturday afternoon to participate in their Artisan and Craft Food Festival. I will be there from 1:30 to 4PM along with some other great cheese makers, craft brewers and other food artisans. It should be a great time of sampling some great foods and meeting the people who make them. Please come to see me there.