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Cultivating genetics for a changing climate

Farm News

The best way to know that your goats are exceptional is to put them in a heat wave. Most dairy goats on commercial dairies will sit by the fans in their barns and pant (goats don't sweat; they lose heat by panting like dogs). Their misery in hot weather is palpable. Like modern humans who scurry from one air-conditioned space to another, they are ill-adapted to thriving, indeed surviving, in hot weather.

Our goats are different. Over the years, we have honed our genetics, selecting for goats who excel in a pasture-based environment. Back in the early days of our dairy-creamery, our goats would only go outside their barns if the weather was perfect: moderate temperature, no wind, heaven forbid a drop of rain should fall on their pretty little heads. Even on seemingly nice days, we had to coax them out to graze, often with a bucket of grain to get them to follow us. Fast forward to the past few years. Our goats eagerly go out to pasture and spend many hours grazing and browsing. During this week of extreme heat, with heat indices hitting 105-110 degrees F, our goats have been grazing and browsing in the shade of their silvopasture. Their silvopasture (browse trees--cottonwood in this case--planted in grass-legume-forb pasture) is a refuge from climate-change induced heat. It provides natural shade, constant breezes and significantly lower air temperatures compared with open fields. Yes, our girls looked a little peaked when they came into the milking parlor this afternoon. Yet, their milk production has not completely tanked like it used in years' past. The future of a warming planet is more frequent high temperatures like we experienced this week. Our goat girls will be ready to meet the challenges of weather extremes. It's encoded in their pasture-based DNA.

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. It is going to be a gorgeous summer day, so come early and stock up! The market is flush with summer produce like sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, berries and peaches! Melons are here too! Everything tastes better with a little PFFC cheese by its side!!

Did you know??? August is National Goat Cheese Month! We seem to always be "celebrating" something in the world of national consumerism, so I'm super happy that goat cheese gets a WHOLE month. Summer is in full swing, and we have cheeses to meet all of our culinary needs as well those for snacking on the back porch. All of our bloomy rind cheeses are back, young and plentiful this weekend. Check out our seasonal chevre flavors too!

Need some cheesy menu ideas for simple summer eating? How about a slice of angel food on a wedge of apple or pear with a honey drizzle? What about seasonal chevre a top slices of fresh heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil? How about a feta-watermelon salad? What about baked zucchini or eggplant stuffed with Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese mixed with a riot of fresh herbs? How about a slice of Moonglo, proscuitto and fresh melon??? Pelota Roja shaved over grilled sweetcorn anyone??? Don't feeling like cooking? Why not get a trio of cheeses and plan some simple no-cook grazing platters for the coming week. Simple, fun, and so satisfying!

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 and 2023 Bronze Medal winner!

  • Fresh chevre with lavender-infused honey

  • Fresh chevre with "everything bagel" seasoning

  • Angel Food mini-brie-young and firm

  • Little bloom on the prairie: mixed milk camembert-young, light-buttered mushroom flavor--great on a slice of apple, peach or pear with a drizzle of local honey

  • Black goat: our ash-ripened bloomy with lovely earthy notes and a little bit o' funk

  • 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 2023 ACS Silver Medal

  • 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! 2021 Good Food Award Winner

  • Feta in whey brine: crumble on a summer salad! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza! 2023 ACS Bronze Medal

  • Goat milk yogurt (pints and quarts)-all natural, no thickening agents-use it as the base of a marinade, a salad dressing or just eat it with fresh fruit.

Farm Open Hours

Come visit us. 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. Our wine & cheese flight features the three 2023 ACS winners-chevre frais, feta and moonglo! 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 "build your own" cheese boards and flights starting at 12:30 pm until closing. On Sundays, they are available from 11-5.


Cool down with our delicious and refreshing goat milk gelato and local fruit sorbettos!

Come out on Sunday, August 27th from 1-4 pm for a very special Brownie-Gelato "Sundae on Sunday!" In collaboration with local brownie makers, Nieces Pieces, we'll be offering three types of brownies, your choice of gelato flavor and some special toppings. No reservations required. Fun for the whole family (or just you and a few hungry friends).

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. Our farm store is AIR CONDITIONED, so don't let any heat or humidity deter you from making a visit to the farm. We have raw goat milk for sale as well as a fantastic selection of cheese accompaniments (crackers, jams, sauces, pickles, wines, beers) as well as Joyful Wren pastured-poultry eggs, our goat milk soap (made for us exclusively by The Wright Soapery), tea towels and t-shirts.

In general, we plan to offer hikes every Saturday at 11 am. If it is too hot or if it's raining, we will postpone until Sunday at 11AM. Not sure if it's happening? Just check in with our staff when you arrive on Saturdays.

When hikes happen, join Wes or one of our rock star volunteers 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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1 Comment

Jim Hoyt
Jim Hoyt
Aug 27, 2023

Have you tried building a small solar array?

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