Yes, we farmers obsess about the weather. We derive our livelihoods at the mercy of climatic forces. There is a long history of seasonal rituals that signal the change of the seasons: tilling the soil in spring before planting, planting a cover crop in fall after the main crops are harvested, insulating delicate perennials from freezes, spreading the compost when the ground has frozen, and in the case of goat dairy farming, winterizing the barns to keep the goats warm and their water from freezing.
The new “normal” is weather that comes on hard and fast. No more time for anticipating the change of the seasons and planning ahead. No more gradual transitions from one season to the next. Farmers in age of climate change must be quick on their feet, ready to spring into action when changes occur.
Case in point: this Monday’s Veteran’s Day blizzard. Temperatures plummeted over 40 degrees (mid 50’s to 9 degrees F) in less than 24 hours, and winds blew snow so violently, it filtered into the cracks and crevices of the barns and under the doors. We battened down the proverbial “hatches” as best we could, threw down lots of extra straw for bedding and plugged in the water heaters.
Convincing the goats to venture out of their wind-free and relatively cozy barn for milking was a challenge. The sudden drop in temperature has not allowed them time to put on their thick winter coats. They’re already reluctant to make their way to the milk stand in the cold and darkness of November days; not even the lure of grain was strong enough for some. As the temperatures rise again and the snow melts away, we’ll open the barn doors to let the briefly warming sun shine in. The goats may even venture out to the pasture, as long as the winds are calm and the chance for precipitation is zero.
NEW WEBSITE: If you haven’t perused our new website (designed by Big Guy Technology), please have a look.
Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings
The Urbana Farmers' Market (aka Urbana Business Association's Market IN the Square) has moved inside Lincoln Square Mall. We will be there from 8 am to 12 noon (even though the market runs until 1 pm). We will be set up in the south hall of the mall next to Blue Moon Farm.
Here's the line-up of cheeses for this weekend:
Fresh chevre: plain,herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so rich and creamy right now; it’s perfect to slather on some crusty bread or dollop on a casserole or cream up your soups or stews.
"Nutty Little Bloom:" a riff on our camembert-square shaped bloomy with toasted pecans on top. Pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL. The nuts add a sweetness that compliments the buttery notes of the perfectly ripe yet firm cheese
Cow-Goat Eclipse: Our first mixed milk (jersey cow milk from Kilgus Farmstead and our goat milk) bloomy—we’re calling it “Cow-Goat Eclipse” This bloomy has the same crinkly (and yeasty) white mold as our black goat and fleur du prairie). Some are large rounds, some small; some have edible flowers and dried herbs from our herb garden; others do not.
Midnight Cow-Goat Eclipse: made in squares (and then cut into triangles) with a thin veneer of charcoal ash, this version of “eclipse" has a lovely yeasty-bread dough flavor with hints of butter. It’s beautiful AND delish!
Note about gelato pints: We have a few pints of black and red currant sorbetto left for sale. We won't be making more gelato for the remainder of the season. We have these available at our farm store only; very limited quantities left.
Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? The farm store "The Real Stand" is open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm through the end of December.
We offer a “build your own cheese board.” You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine, cider or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations.
You can still get gelato by the scoop at the farm, or if you want to be decadent, ask for an “affogato” (a scoop of gelato in a cup of espresso).
NEW: Cheese & Salami Gift Boxes featuring artisan charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co., our chevre and house-made pickled green cherry tomatoes. $94.95 feeds 10-15 guests (individual components would cost over $100).
We have some amazing wines (from Valle de Guadeloupe, Baja Mexico) in the farm store as well as ciders from Virtue Cidery (Fennville MI).
Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike) or just wander around the farm if the weather permits. Venture inside our cozy farm store to shop for other local farmers’ products (meats, eggs, flour, jams, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and more).
Also new in the farm store: "Radish Relish" Our farm pickler extraordinaire, Megan, has crafted the perfect accompaniment for cheese, salami or even your holiday turkey.
Featured items: Goat, Lamb and Heritage Whey-Fed Pork (Red Waddle Hogs) products from D&M Farms, Breese IL We are so excited to be offering these exceptional meat products from the farm of one of our new milkers-Megan Huelsman. She and her dad raise goats, sheep and hogs in southern IL; pasture raised goats and sheep and red waddle hogs fed whey from a nearby farmstead cow creamery.
We also have fresh reinforcements from Bane Family Meats-pasture raised chicken and beef!
We are gearing up for the holiday season. The farm will have extended hours on Saturday, November 30th (Small Business Saturday), featuring holiday goats, a selfie goat “photo booth” and some warming holiday foods. We will be doing a grand tasting event on Sunday December 8th featuring many of the wines/beers, cheeses, salamis, jams, pickles and more in our farm store. Save the dates for now, and stay tuned for details.