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and then it rained

Less than 48 hours ago, I was lamenting the paltry presence of fireflies this June. Our robust prairie grasses were certainly tall enough for them to perch. Yet the prematurely desiccating stocks hiding parched-earth patterns of soil fissures provided proof that firefly larvae did not have adequate conditions for hatching. As dairy farmers and gardeners, we were watering plants as much as possible, contemplating pumping pond water to keep the pasture going, fretting about when to cut alfalfa hay again, and then, it rained. It really rained. The storm front barreled eastward toward Champaign county mid-day yesterday, with 80 mph winds and swirling clouds aspiring to become tornadoes. The power went out in most of our region, and we battened down the hatches of the barns and out buildings. The ferocious part passed quickly, leaving trees and limbs strewn everywhere, cornfields lodged in some places (from straight-line winds) and sunflower stalks bent to the ground. The gentler rain continued, soaking into the cracked soil, barely leaving any puddles as evidence.

Despite the sustained power outage, eventually, we got our generator to start, and we were able to milk and go about our daily chores. Seemingly within hours after the rain subsided, the neighbor's corn grew nearly 12 inches and our alfalfa nearly 4 inches. As the sun hung low in the western sky, the fireflies began to emerge and resume their summer light shows. This morning, the grasses hung on to their raindrops, hoping to replenish their moisture by osmosis. Our prairie-savannah landscape is resilient, punctuated by the enthusiastic songs of the white-throated sparrows and the wood thrushes.

Farmers' Market and Farm Happenings

This Saturday, come see us at the outdoor farmers' market, Urbana's Market at the Square. Our location is the same as last year: on the south end of the market at the south end of aisle two. Hours are 7 am to 12 noon. Celebrate the fourth with CHEESE!!

As usual, we have a LOT of cheese for you this weekend, as well as goat milk yogurt. We have some favorites back into the lineup: Pelota Roja and Moonglo . We have a gooey black goat special-buy one, get the second for 50% off!

Need some cheesy menu ideas for this holiday weekend? How about a slice of little bloom melted on a burger? How about a Greek-style summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with our feta? How about shaving the truffle chevre over grilled zucchini or oven-roasted tomatoes? What about Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese with pan-seared green beans and fresh mint? How about our yogurt with fresh berries or early season peaches??

If you want raw goat milk or gelato, you will need to come out to our farm store during open hours. You can also order from our online store for farm pickup. We'll be bringing the following cheeses to market:

  • Fresh chevre--plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal winner!

  • Fresh chevre with "everything bagel" seasoning-grab some lox and forget the cream cheese!

  • "Red, white & blue" chevre log featuring edible flowers and dried fruits--a showstopper for any holiday BBQ or potluck you're attending this weekend!

  • Truffle chevre--an aged/dried chevre ball mixed with olive oil-cured truffles and rubbed with cracked peppercorns. Amazing for grating over pasta or roasted veggies! Try it in place of parmesan cheese for a wilted kale salad!! GIVE THIS little flavor bomb a try! You won't be disappointed.

  • Angel Food mini-brie-super ripe ones are part of the BOGO offer! Mixed milk batch is young but melts in your mouth!

  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-mixed milk camembert-all goat batch! Aging beautifully and burger worthy!

  • Black goat-ash-ripened goat bloomy rind-get in on the BOGO offer (really perfect for a dip with Great Lakes Potato Chips which you can buy in our farm store--I am OBSESSED with these chips and our gooey cheeses!!)

  • Fleur de la Prairie-all-goat bloomy rind with dried herbs and edible flowers-beautiful and delicious! 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal winner!

  • Ukrainian Farmhouse Cheese-all cow milk, fresh cheese-great for sweet or savory applications-we are doing our former Ukrainian cheese maker, Tetyana, proud by continuing to make this popular fresh cheese.

  • Moonglo: raw goat milk tomme style semi-hard cheese--slightly nutty and fruity--perfect for slicing or melting

  • Pelota Roja: raw goat milk "Spanish-style" hard cheese with guajillo chile-olive oil rub--sharp, slightly spicy and just plain scrumptious-slice it, shave it! Serve it with your favorite summer red wine!

  • Feta in whey brine: crumble on a summer salad! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza!

  • Goat milk yogurt (pints and quarts)-all natural, no thickening agents

Farm Open Hours

Come visit us this holiday weekend. We are open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm. You can visit with the goats, taste our raw milk (and buy some to take home), shop our farm store for cheeses, accompaniments and unique gifts, enjoy a cheese board under our pavilion or grab a scoop of gelato. We are also offering wine/beer & cheese flights featuring three cheeses with three wines or micro-brews. For the 4th of July holiday, we're featuring a white, red (rose) and blue (well, deep red) wine & cheese flight that is sure to please. Our beer and cheese flight highlights some unusual regional microbrews alongside our cheeses and Great Lakes Potato Chips as the eating vessel--fun and delicious!

Please note: on Saturdays, we offer cheese boards and flights starting at 12:30 pm until closing. On Sundays, they are available from 11-5.

Celebrate the fourth farm style this weekend! Our farm is great place to unwind, enjoy some great cheese and gelato and take in the natural surroundings that are so scarce in central Illinois.

Goat Hikes

In general, we plan to offer hikes every Saturday at 11 am. If it is too hot or if it's raining, we won't be able to offer the hike. Just check in with our staff when you arrive on Saturdays to see if the hike is happening or not.

When hikes happen, join one of our rock star volunteers (or Wes) on a stroll along the eastern edge of our farm. It's a gorgeous part of the farm. The hike lasts for about 30-40 minutes and then we take you on a brief tour of the dairy. It ends with a scoop of gelato. $18/person includes the hike, a farm tour and a scoop of gelato at the end.


Want to order for farm pick up during the weekend? Need some raw goat milk? Eggs from Joyful Wren? Cheese? Just order from our Online Store for Farm Pick-Up. It's super easy!! Not local? You can still support us! You can order from our online retail store. We ship nationwide Mondays through Wednesdays every week. You can choose from one of our gift collections or just mix and match a la carte.

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