We live less than 50 miles from the Illinois Amish community in Arthur. Over the years, we have collaborated with members of the community from hay makers to dairy sheep producers. We have patronized their feed mills and their amazing hardware stores; we have sold them goats and bought their dairy products. While their community has undergone a gradual transformation from mostly agrarian to manufacturing and agri-tourism, they still maintain an amazing work ethic, knowledge of farming and impeccable craftsmanship.
When we decided to go all out to fence the entire perimeter of our grazing/browsing area, we settled on an Amish fence builder. They arrived last week on a tractor (yes, they are allowed to drive themselves on farm equipment; no cars or trucks) towing a wagon containing all the fencing supplies they would need for the job. I was envisioning a crew of four or five; there were just two-young guys with unflappable modest smiles, outfitted in Amish straw hats, blue or grey shirts and blue pants with suspenders. After a quick review of the plans, they got right to work, pounding posts along the eastern edge of the property. By the end of the first day, the entire eastern border had posts. Within three days, two thirds of the farm’s perimeter had been fenced; posts pounded five strand wire strung. Erica raced ahead of them with the mower, clearing a swath wide enough for them to work just in time. At the end of each day, they were retrieved by a van to take them to a nearby hotel.
After four days of solid post pounding and wire stringing, they were done. I marveled at how perfectly straight their fence rows were—no fancy leveling equipment, just eagle-eye line of sight! They did not use power-driven post hole diggers, just their two strong bodies and indefatigable stamina. They called ahead to their next job site with a ‘70’s era push-button phone (how this was hot-wired to actually make a phone call is a mystery to me!!) and devised their route with a gazetteer (anybody under 30 even know what this is??). As they drove out the driveway on their tractor, headed toward Seymour, I envied their embrace of the slow lane and their single-mindedness to the task at hand.
PLEASE Support your artisan and farmstead cheese makers #chooseitorloseit The American Artisan cheese community is NOT out of the woods, as COVID-related traumas continue to impact restaurants and food retailers alike.
GIRL AND THE GOATS TO VICTORY CHEESE BOX
As the weather gets cooler and the days shorter, we tend to resort to nesting behavior. Why not settle into your comfy chairs and graze on a lovely (and delicious) VICTORY CHEESE BOX.
Our latest Victory Cheese Box collaboration with grass-fed, raw cows’ milk cheeses from Jacobs & Brichford, bloomy rind cheeses from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and accompaniments by Chef Stephanie Izard and her “Girl & the Goat-ceries” team. This DELUXE box features two cheeses from each farmstead creamery, house-made crackers, several kinds of pickles, jam and mixed nuts. It is the ONLY box that features accompaniments made by a Celebrity Chef. You can get your box through our online store. You can either pick up your box at the farm on Saturdays OR Sundays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped.
Psst: We still have a few more of the Rick Bayless Victory Cheese Boxes available if you want to order one of those as well, both with and without the signed cookbook. You can start a collection of Victory Cheese Boxes from PFFC!
Urbana’s Market at the Square-Come early, shop often
It’s hard to believe the outdoor farmers’ market season has a little over a month left. We will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall for the Market IN the Square, but for the meantime, you have access to some of the BEST local food in the Midwest right here in Urbana. The transition from summer to fall means that you get the best of BOTH seasons-summer fruits and veggies abound and fall crops (apples, pears, broccoli, carrots) begin to make their appearances. So many of these veggies and fruits, either sliced raw or simply roasted pair well with ALL of our cheeses. Just ask us for a few simple recommendations when selecting your cheeses this week. We can have you putting together a show-stopping cheese board in no time!
The Urbana Market has COVID-19 related restrictions. They require social distancing, and both patrons and farmers must wear masks at all times. We have a Square card reader set up for you to swipe your card for payment. If you bring cash, we will give you change (and sanitize our hands between transactions). Gelato pints are ONLY available through online farm store sales/farm pick up.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
TWO Seasonal chevre flavors of the week:
Roasted Garlic Last week, we featured garlic from our fellow goat friends in Indiana (Sirocco Ridge Farm). This week, we’re featuring garlic from our long-time veggie friends up the road—Blue Moon Farm. VERY LIMITED offering, so come early to the market.
Dried tomato chevre It’s that time of year again—dried Juliette and Roma tomatoes from our garden (and sometimes from Blue Moon Farm), chopped up and blended into our chevre. This is my FAVORITE flavor. VERY Limited offering this weekend.
Nutty Goat: A lovely, large-format bloomy rind adorned with toasted pecans from Voss Pecan Orchard. This round has been aging for almost two months. The paste is supple and the white-mold rind with toasted pecans tastes like sauteed mushrooms with buttered pecans. Perfect paired with slices of fresh apples or pears $15/each
Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert style round; young, but has a lovely tang with slight buttered-mushroom flavor $11/each
Angel Food: our “crottin” style bloomy-petite but loaded with delicious goat tang! Aging beautifully and firm enough to cut into wedges$9/each—SUPER YOUNG (like a very firm log of chevre)
Black Goat-ash-rind bloomy that has a firm tangy paste when young and gets progressively earthy and funky (and gooey) as it ages. $10 each-SUPER YOUNG this week
Blushing Goat-washed rind goat milk cheese, washed with bourbon-peach kombucha beer; our second batch is firmer than the first batch, but it’s aging beautifully and it’s loaded with great umami flavor $8/triangle, $13 for rounds; $15 for whole squares
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture-PERFECT for salad season, or crumble over a pizza or a bowl of chili! $7/each
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge-consider shaving this cheese over grilled zucchini or eggplant! Shave it on a salad of greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over sliced tomatoes and broil them in the oven. Try using in a local corn-meal polenta!
Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person, you can order online for on-farm pick up or shipping. If you order for pick up, you can pick up from 1-4 pm either Saturday or Sunday.
Check out some featured items in the online farm store (and in the farm shop “The Real Stand”):
**Raw Milk! Yes, we have a permit from the Illinois Department of Public Health to sell our raw milk. You can either order online (for Saturday Pickup, 1-4 pm) OR come out to the farm on Sundays, from 1-4. We’re selling milk in half gallon jugs for $9 (competitively priced compared to conventional goat milk found in the grocery store).
**”Wash Your Hands! In Style”—new gift item (or just buy it for yourself!) featuring goat milk soaps made exclusively for us by the Wright Soapery. We’re offering a large bar of goat milk soap (tea tree oil, lemongrass, fresh mint or chamomile-oatmeal) with a “Three Chippys” tea towel for $15.
**Our NEW Chippy the Chef apron is HERE! This gorgeous all-cotton apron features Chippy the Goat (our logo and mascot) with her chef hat and mixing bowl. Fully adjustable straps, big deep pockets and super stylish! $20 each.
** Local fruit leathers-made by Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains, we offer three flavors: petite plum from the Jarrell Family orchard (Forest Grove Oregon), black currant (Midwest Agroforestry Solutions) and apple pie. $4 each or 3 for $12.
Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY- flavors this weekend include: Vanilla, Peaches & Cream, Lemon Verbena, Fresh Mint, Anise Hyssop, and Nectarine Sorbetto (made with Mileur Orchard Nectarines).
We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week, 1-2-day ground ($20 shipping/handling) for most of the Midwest and 2nd-Day Air for other areas of the country ($35/shipping & handling). There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.
Farm Open Hours and Offerings
If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. The farm is open BOTH Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm each day.
During our weekend open hours from 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato, gelato sundae (with house-made toppings) or order a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages. You can visit with the goats (no petting, just viewing) and just enjoy the rural outdoors. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm. We’ll be featuring ALL OF OUR CHEESES, as well as lots of great PFFC “merch” for sale during open hours.
Back by popular demand, we’ll be selling “The Ultimate” grilled cheese sandwich featuring Marcoot Jersey Creamery sharp cheddar, our chevre, Autumn Berry jalapeño jam, farm-grown tomatoes and Central Illinois bakehouse baguette bread.