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Beyond farming: earth day reflections

Farm News

In this age of monumental weather fluctuations due to climate change and species diversity losses from habitat alterations, what role do farmers have beyond their farming practices to repair the planet? In commemorating earth days past, I have focused on our farming practices, our commitment to pasture-based goat dairying, our silvopasture and the environmental benefits of eating locally grown foods. For this earth day week, I'd like to talk about what farmers can do in addition to their farming practices, how farmers like us manage the edges.

Our central Illinois pre-colonial landscape was wet prairie intermeshed with riparian woodlands and savannas. For tens of thousands of years, the native peoples of this landscape navigated flooded tall prairie by canoe. They built settlement areas on the "high spots;" indeed, our farm is located on a ridge. If you take a landscape view of our little patch of Champaign county, the elements of the original landscape are still with us, albeit much altered. Our low lying fields and pastures still flood in winter and spring. Our farm is bordered by the Saline Branch, a tributary of the Salt Fork River. Yes, it was dredged in the early 1900's and the stream flow severely modified. Yes, the riparian vegetation is a jumbled hodgepodge of native and invasive woody species. Yet, the architecture of our landscape remains true to its post-glacial bones. I have begun to think about how we take those bones and build back the flesh of the native landscape. I have begun to explore what native shrubs, trees and forbs used to thrive here and how we can go about the monumental tasks of removing the invasive species and replanting with natives.

I have been thinking about the small ways that farms like ours can take small steps to create a hospitable environment for the birds and other animals that used to thrive here. Instead of admiring the fleeting migratory beauties that use our honeysuckle thickets to rest on their way to better breeding habitats, why not provide quality food for them and appropriate trees and shrubs for them to build nests and rear their young? Why not give them an added leg up with a nest box or two? Why not let the ephemeral "wetlands" that cover farm fields stay wet naturally so that waterfowl and salamanders can find refuge? Instead of "drain the swamp," let's embrace a philosophy of rebuild the swamp, so these species will come and feel welcome. The longer they stay, the more we can enjoy their company.

Happenings at the Farm & Beyond

The final indoor farmers' market of the season is this Saturday, April 27th. It's also the Illinois Marathon. Check out the route to avoid traffic delays. The outdoor market "Urbana's Market at the Square" starts Saturday May 4th!

We're bringing the following to this Saturday's:

  • Spring mixed-milk feta in whey brine is BACK!! Tangy, creamy yet crumbly--just as you remember it!! Crumble it on everything, especially roasted beets!

  • Chevre frais: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper--so fresh and lemony, it screams spring is here!!

  • Goat milk yogurt!!! Both pints and quarts available this week! Buy your yogurt and then pop over to CIB's stand to grab some of there house-made granola!!

  • Jersey Milk Gournay: all flavors available this week, limited quantities

  • Ukrainian Farmers' Cheese: think ricotta and cottage cheese make a baby-delicious served with fresh fruit OR use in a savory dish like stuffed peppers

  • Angel Food-brie style: petite rounds-mixed-milk and introducing our all goat version called "Archangel."

  • Little bloom on the prairie: mixed milk camembert style bloomy rind--aging nicely

We are also bringing some special accompaniments to go with the cheeses!

Our weekly CSA share offers you unique pairings with ultimate flexibility. Every week, you'll get cheese, bread and house-made accompaniments. We will have these for sale at the farmers' market, but please go ahead and sign up for shares. Pretty soon, you will only be able to get these shares if you pre-order. This Saturday's share is pure perfection:

  • 1 wheel of mixed milk little bloom on the prairie-our camembert style bloomy rind

  • 1 CIB demi-baguette

  • 1 x 4 oz. container of house-made tomato jam

We are also launching a new "Farm Club" subscription--join the club and get special perks!

Farm Open Hours

Thank you everyone for your patience as we wrap up multiple construction projects on the farm. We are in the final stretch of securing permits and are looking forward to re-opening with public open hours in early May! Please follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram and check your inboxes for that announcement soon! In the meantime, there are still tickets available for our farm to table dinner series held on Wednesdays from May through August. Those tickets are available online now! Check out the May 1st Menu below!!

Last call for Babies & Brunch!! Book your reservations TODAY to guarantee a spot. Enjoy a continental style breakfast while snuggling up to these adorable baby goats!!!

Goat Yoga-Pilates comes to the farm in early May, featuring our adorable baby goats and certified Pilates instructor Lisa Staples of Living Legacy Pilates. Sign up now for this light-hearted workout.

Farm to Table Dinners: May 1st, Chefs Garron and Cody will be offering pre-fixe multi-course meals featuring locally grown foods and our cheeses, of course. Go on our website NOW to make reservations. We have only 15 seats left to the first dinner on May 1st. Need some tempting? Here's the menu

Early Spring Celebration 

Celebration of early spring harvests 


mushroom duxelles en vol au vent with pickled ramps and thyme

Salad - 

mache greens, fresh goat cheese, roasted pickled beet, beet greens, pecan butter

Appetizer - 

Peas and Carrots

blanched, roasted, puree and pickled with leek micros, pea shoots, sesame tuile, lime zest 


blue spruce smoked lamb leg daube, rosemary mint honey, roasted white eva potatoes, asparagus and knob onion confit

Palate Cleanser - 

citrus granita 

Dessert - 

goat milk flan, rose water caramel, edible spring flowers

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jane Lily
jane Lily

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Colby Adkins
Colby Adkins

Rather than adopting the mindset of "draining the swamp," let's reconstruct the swamp to make these species feel welcome. eggy car


Yukia Nanilas
Yukia Nanilas

Proactively addressing hearing loss with treatments such as hearing aids reduces

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