beginnings and endings, a fluid stream
The last pregnant doe kidded this morning. After one week of anticipating her delivery (she was due May 1st), Diamond delivered twin bucklings. Her five-pound babies book end the now large and self-sufficient kids born in mid-February. All the kids born in March have been weaned (and their deafening pleas for milk are met with fistfuls of grain and mountains of alfalfa hay), and we’ve moved on to planning their pasture fencing.
The nightly checks for does in labor are gone for now. They are supplanted by evening forays to the creamery to flip cheese or rotate cheese wheels in the brine tank. The kid chores go quickly, with only few still on bottles and the rest drinking milk from our automatic milk dispensers (these are a life saver when you’re feeding over 200 kids!). The milking chores have ramped up to take the place of feeding babies. We have close to 110 does on the line; the most we’ve ever milked. The girls’ production is approaching peak, and the bulk tanks each fill with one day’s milking. Cheese must be made every day to make room for the next day’s milk. The routine of pumping milk into cheese vats, making cheese, ladling cheese curd, cleaning cheese vats and transferring milk again is a pattern etched deep into my body. My motions are fluid and constant, almost automatic.
Urbana’s Market at the Square-Shop While Social Distancing!
Last week’s opening farmers’ market was strange but wonderful. The support of our local community is amazing and inspiring. Thank you for supporting your farmers! We’ll be at it again, bright and early Saturday morning, May 9th, with another great line up of cheese. If you haven’t already reviewed the markets rules for operation under “COVID 19 restrictions, please check them out on the “Market at the Square” website. We will be taking your orders at one section of our stand and fulfilling them in another. We will 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).
Remember, May is “American Cheese Month.” Help us keep the community of American Artisan and Farmstead Cheese Makers vibrant and thriving.
Here’s the line-up for this week:
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
SEASONAL chevre flavor—Fresh Chive & Lemon Zest $9
Angel Food-our little “crottin” style bloomies—young with dense fudgy paste and notes of lemon and mushroom $9/each
Black Goat—ash-rinded bloomy, young & tart with a hint of yeasty bread dough flavor $10/each
Fleur du Prairie-bloomy rind cheese adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers $11/each
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture $7 each
Pelota Roja—raw milk, Manchego-style aged goat cheese with guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind—special cheese we make for Rick Bayless’ restaurants $7/wedge (limited availability)
If you don’t want to come to the market, no worries. You can order online by 10 AM Saturday for Farm Pick-Up between 1-4 pm.
You can also get our cheeses at a growing list of retail grocery store locations throughout Illinois.
Mother’s Day Offerings and our Online Farm Store
You can still celebrate the mothers in your life, even while social distancing. We are here to help you. We’ve got some FANTASTIC gift offerings just added to our online farm store, including a “Dote on Mom” cheese & accompaniments basket extravaganza, a “Perfect Bite for Mom” gift package of bloomies, honey and bread and a “Make Mom Some Cinnamon Buns” package that features a recipe for cinnamon buns using Janie’s Mill flour, our chevre (for the frosting) and Voss orchard pecans! While it’s too late to order for shipping, you can still order a Mother’s Day gift for farm pick up on Saturday, May 9th, 1-4 pm.
Want to celebrate Mother’s Day “virtually” with a chef demonstration of making cinnamon buns and gaggles of frolicking baby goats? Tune into our Virtual Babies & Brunch on Sunday May 10th. Chef Alicia Hinze (Buttered Tin) will be making her famous cinnamon buns using locally milled flour (Janie’s Mill), Voss Orchard pecans and our chevre for the frosting!