Fall Farm Picnic Updates
Our last farm dinner is this coming Sunday afternoon, October 26th from 1-5PM. Given the weather forcast (cold and windy), we will be eating inside our barn for the first time this year. It will be very cosy with a strong farm feel--we're building walls of hay and we will have heaters to keep everyone warm. Of course, the menu features some outstanding warm fall foods--check out the menu in the "Dinners on the Farm--Buy Farm Dinners--October 26th" for all the delectable details. Since we will be expecting a cooler day, please dress accordingly, especially for the farm tour. As usual, we will start the day off with hors d'oeuvres and a special beverage and have a tour before the meal. The tour will probably start around 1:30PM. We look forward to seeing those of you who have signed up for the dinner.
Farmers' Market News
All though the outdoor market season is winding down, we still have plenty of cheese. In fact, our girls are still producing milk in respectable quantities, and we expect to keep making cheese into mid December. The chevre is as creamy as ever and we will be bringing lots of chevre to the markets this coming Saturday, October 25th. We will also have Little Bloom on the Prairie, Angel Food, the last of the Prairie Blazing Star banon as well as Moonglo, Aeolian Dust and Dent de Leon. There are a few pieces of Everett Lee's Wicked Dry Blue--the last of the bunch, so if you like that cheese, get it while it lasts.
The Urbana Market at the Square continues outdoors through November 8th and then it goes inside Lincoln Square Village (hours change from 8AM to 1PM once it goes indoors). We will be there through the end of the Holiday Market (December 20th). We hope to see you there.
The Green City Market in Chicago's last outdoor market is this coming Saturday, October 25th. Please come visit us if you live or are visiting Chicago this weekend. After that date, it goes indoors to the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum. We will be doing four of the holiday markets this year--November 15th, November 22nd, December 13th and December 20th. Hours are 8AM to 1PM.
Seasonality of our cheeses and availability
Please come by the markets to stock up on fresh chevre (it freezes beautifully) and our other cheeses while the supply lasts. Remember, we are a seasonal dairy. Our girls will go dry in about mid December and we won't be making cheese until they have their babies in March and start producing milk again. We will continue to have our aged cheeses into January and Februarym, and we will give you updates about where you can purchase them.
Report from the orchard
We are enjoying an amazing fall this year. If any of you were lucky enough to purchase some of the few certified organic apples we had for sale at the farmers’ markets this past weekend, we hope you are enjoying them as much as we are. Maybe you noticed that in addition to their crisp texture and sweet-tart taste, there were no insect holes or little worms in the core. Maybe the thought crossed your mind that “these sure don’t look like organic apples.” Well, I believe their visual beauty is attributed in large measure to our successful biological control of the notorious insect pests of apples—coddling moth, plum curculio and oriental fruit moth. This year, we used pheromone disruptors and traps. The disruptors are little twist ties containing the pheromones (chemical scents) specific to each insect pest. They are tied onto tree branches in the orchard and emit the pheromones into the air. This confuses the males and female insects such that they can’t find each other and mate. No mating, no egg laying and no larvae (worms) hatching inside the fruit. Our apple crop is small this year, but I am happy to report it appears to be possible to grow a beautiful and delicious organic apple in central Illinois. Let’s hope our success continues next year.
The goats and the cheese
As the days get shorter, our does are beginning to come into heat. We will start the breeding process next week. It’s a raucous and exciting time for all concerned. It’s also fun to match make, although some of the does don’t like our mating choice and make a big fuss until we pair them up with the “one they want to be with” (instead of loving the one they are with). Their milk is changing too. As we enter into the late phase of their lactation (milk production), their milk becomes more rich in butterfat and protein. That translates into some amazingly creamy fresh Chevre and higher yields on our other aged goat cheeses. Make sure you come by the markets this fall to taste the richness of late lactation milk.
At the market this weekend (October 11th)
- Our usual array of fresh Chevre (plain, Herbes de Provence, cracked peppercorn and heirloom tomato)
- Angel Food (the delicate brie-like soft ripened cheese)
- Little Bloom on the Prairie (our American Cheese Society award-winning goat milk camembert-style cheese)
- Dent de Leon—excellent for grating over the pasta dishes so appropriate for this time of year
- Moonglo (the raw milk washed rind tomme that is part of the Slow Food Presidium of American Raw Milk cheeses—AND is on its way to Turin Italy for the whole world to taste in the Slow Food International’s Terra Madre “Salone del Gusto”)
- Our new “Aeolian Dust” a natural rind tomme style
- Organic apples (if we have more)
- Organic fall red raspberries (YUM)
- Our farmstead honey extracted with care by Emil and Melvin Blobaum
News on the Farm Dinners
If you are signed up to attend our farm dinner this coming Saturday October 11th, the menu is now available for your viewing. Just go to the Farm Dinners Section of our website and then to the “Buy Farm Dinners” Section. If you click on the October 11th dinner, you will see the menu. We will be posting the menu for the final October 26th dinner soon. Also, stay tuned for 2009 farm dinner dates and on line reservations.
We're happy to announce that we actually have enough of our first organic apple crop to sell at the Farmers' Markets this Saturday, October 4th. We have three varieties: Liberty, Winesap and Sun Fugi. They are all crisp and delicious.
We are also introducing an experimental raw milk tomme style cheese with a natural unwashed rind called "Aeolian dust." Aeolian refers to the wind-blown soil particles that formed the rich prairie soils of central Illinois. We pay tribute to our soil's heritage in naming this cheese "aeolian" because of the wind-borne natural molds that colonized the rind. Aged four months, the taste is mellow and milky. Come visit our stand at the farmers' markets to try some.
This week at the farmers' markets we will be offering the following cheeses:
- Fresh goat cheese: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper or heirloom dried tomato.
- Angel Food
- Little Bloom on the Prairie
- Dent de Leon
- Prairie Blazing Star Banon
- Aeolian dust
We now have the menu set for the dinner on September 27th. Please take a look at it under the "Buy Dinners on the Farm" part of our website.
Last weekend (August 16th), we debuted an experimental raw milk cheese at the Urbana Farmers' Market and Chicago's Green City Market. It is an externally molded blue cheese we're calling "Everett Lee's Wicked Dry Blue." It is dry like a dry jack or a romano cheese with a hint of blue on the rind. It is aged about 4 months. It is fairly mild in flavor, but it is great for grating over pasta or salad or shaving it thinly with some fresh pears.
We will be selling this cheese again this weekend at both farmers' markets.
Also look for the usual suspects: fresh chevre, Angel Food, Little Bloom on the Prairie, Moonglo and Dent de Leon.
Fruits in Season
We just harvested some delicious Harrow's Beauty and Red Haven peaches. We will have them at both farmers' markets this weekend, along with blackberries. The first of our organic pears are ripening, and they are delicious beyond belief. If we have enough, we will bring them to market.
The weekend of August 16th, we will have fresh chevre, Little Bloom on the Prairie, Angel Food, Moonglo, Dent de Leon for sale at the Urbana Farmers' Market and Chicago's Green City Market. We are also introducing one of our 'experimental' raw milk cheeses. It is an external blue mold ripened cheese (the blue is on the rind only and doesn't penetrate the body of the cheese). It has been aging for about 4 months. It is dry but flavorful. It makes an excellent grating cheese or a cheese for slicing with some peach preserves. We are calling it "Everett Lee's Wicked Dry Blue," named after our first buck "Everett Lee." We hope you will give it a try this weekend.
We are also debuting our "Dinners on the Farm" series. Our first dinner to be held on Saturday August 16th is SOLD OUT!! Please check out the website to read about the dinners and reserve seats for upcoming dinners. They are going fast.
In the orchard, the Red Haven peaches are winding down and the Harrow's Beauty and White Lady are starting to ripen. Some of our apples are showing signs of ripening as well.