This weekend, we launch our sales of “Moonglo” cheese. This raw goats’ milk “tomme-style” cheese was a staple in our farmstead creamery’s repertoire for about a decade. I decided to stop making it at the end of 2018 because I felt that we couldn’t produce consistent quality wheels from batch to batch. I struggled with understanding the compounding influences of milk seasonality, cheese maker subjectivity and affinage (aging) conditions.
I decided to give this emblematic farmstead cheese another chance this year. It represents several elements of our farm. Raw milk highlights the goats’ diverse pasture-based diet and milk microflora. Pear tea ties the cheese to our orchard. The tomme style, while typical of alpine cheeses (French, Italian Alps), affords small farmstead producers like us the opportunity to make a tasty and rustic hard cheese, even without the mountains.
The cheese is made with unpasteurized goat milk and the curds are heated and stirred slowly after a series of cuts to achieve “hazelnut-sized” curd pieces. The curds are ladled into large basket molds and the cheeses pressed by rotating stacks of two wheels on top of each other. After brining overnight, the wheels go to a separate aging room to begin their affinage. To develop the lovely pale orange rind (reminiscent of a full moon low on the horizon, so typical of our dusky fall skies), we bathe the wheels weekly with a special wash. The wash contains a “tea” made from Moonglo pear leaves (a variety of pear in our orchard), rind ripening cultures, sea salt and pear liqueur. It takes at least three months for the cheese to develop its flavor profile: notes of pineapple and toasted pecans.
It feels good to bring back a farm fan favorite. Over the years of its absence, I have grown as a cheese maker. I have reacquainted myself with the intricacies of making this cheese, making some improvements and respecting the gifts that raw milk can provide.
Weekend Wine & Cheese Flights
Looking for something fun and out of the ordinary to do this weekend? We have some great wines in our store, and we’re excited to share them with you alongside our cheeses. How does it work? Each weekend, our staff pick a white, a rose and a red to pair with three of our cheeses. We serve the wine & cheese flight with a rustic baguette bread from Publican Quality Breads in Chicago or with Potters Crackers. $25/person (must be 21 or older) gets you this amazing flight with some surprises every weekend. All of our wines come from wineries and vineyards using sustainable agriculture practices; most are organic and/or biodynamic and/or regenerative. Just ask our staff for the details if you’re curious.
No need to reserve; just ask for the flight when you come to the farm store.
Farm Open Hours
This weekend (and all weekends through the end of the year) we’re open 11-5 both Saturday and Sunday. Shop our farm store and sample some of our award-winning cheeses. The weather is looking pretty nice, if not down-right summery!
Enjoy a cheese and charcuterie board under our pavilion with a bottle of organic and/or biodynamic wine or local microbrew. We have some great new beers and hard ciders in the cooler. Want something cold and creamy? Try our delicious goat milk gelato! Come early and grab some yogurt, house-made granola and a little jar of farmstead honey for a healthy breakfast. Of course, there are lots of opportunity to engage with the goats—the mommas and the teenagers LOVE visitors. The interactive goat "play pen" is right next to our Sorghum-Sudan Grass Cover Crop forest, You can grab a hand-full of grass to feed to the goats.
The secret ingredient to our amazing cheeses and gelato is our MILK! You too can experience our milk in its purest form! Our milk super fresh (usually less than one day old) and clean. We are permitted to sell raw milk from the farm (Illinois Dept. of Public Health). Curious what it tastes like? We will have samples for you to try-just ask.
If you don’t have time to peruse our farm store in person, but you need some milk or cheese or accompaniments, you can always order from our online store for pick up at the farm during weekend open hours. Just let us know if you’re picking up on Saturday or Sunday in the “NOTES” section (before checking out).
We’ve also got some great local products, including artisan jams, local honey, preserves and salamis. Check out the gorgeous eggs from fellow AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) certified eggs from Joyful Wren Farm. They are equally beautiful on the inside (bright orange means they are definitely eating grass) as well as the outside. I eat them every day!! New in the store, a great new selection of PFFC T-shirts.
NEW PRODUCTS ALERT:
fresh cheddar cheese curds from our friends in Nebraska--Dutch Girl Creamery--plain only
House-made feta-watermelon salad, house made pickles!!
locally made hot sauces from Weird Meat Boyz
organic garlic from Blue Moon Farm (yes, that's right-they are growing some produce this year)
new gelato flavors--specials for fall--Paw Paw! Pumpkin!
The farm is open on weekends RAIN OR SHINE! We have ample seating inside our farm store if you want to stay and enjoy a cheese & charcuterie board. Our store is AIR-CONDITIONED!
From 7-12 each Saturday, you can stock up on great produce, meats, eggs and of course PFFC cheeses. September is the time of year that the market brims with diversity--summer crops linger and fall crops enter the stage.
PLEASE NOTE: OUR LOCATION AT THE MARKET HAS CHANGED FROM YEARS’ PAST. WE ARE STILL LOCATED ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE MARKET, BUT WE ARE NEXT TO ILLINIOIS WILLOWS (AT THE SOUTH END OF AISLE TWO).
Here's the lineup of cheeses and dairy product you can expect to find in our farm store and at the farmers’ market:
Moonglo!! Our raw goat’s milk "tomme-style” cheese!!
Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society 1st Place Medal!
Seasonal chevre flavor: Tomato chevre Made with dried Juliette Roma tomatoes from our garden and from Blue Moon Farm. This is my FAVORITE seasonal flavor!
Mixed milk feta in whey brine-cooler weather means it's time for stews and chili! Try crumbling feta over your favorite hearty recipe
Fleur de la Prairie: all goat milk bloomy rind adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers 2021 Good Food Award Winner and 2022 American Cheese Society 1st Place Medal
Black Goat: ash-ripened (all goat milk) bloomy-super young and fudgy this week.
Little Bloom on the Prairie (mixed milk): camembert style--super young this week.
Goat milk Yogurt (both pints and quarts); we’ll also be selling some house-made granola and small jars of honey to go with the pint size yogurt if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option.
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
Yogurt Smoothies! Fall flavors include honey-vanilla spice and black currant
Organic garlic-Blue Moon Farm's renowned garlic--available at our farm store ONLY
Not local? No problem. We ship nationwide. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.