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Equipment as Essential Worker and Other Farm News

Farm News

With the yellowing corn stalks and nearly naked soybean stems standing tall in the fields around our farm, we know our neighbor farmers are busy getting their combines ready for the impending grain harvest. Many a grain farmer assumes the annual fall position of lying flat underneath a behemoth piece of machinery. For us, the most important piece of equipment on our farm is the skid steer. We use it to move hay bales in and out barns, to clean out manure, to haul heavy pallets of stuff and to spread gravel and wood chips. When this “essential worker” goes down, the dairy operation is somewhat paralyzed.


Enter, Dan, our farm “handy-man,” fixer, builder, equipment designer. A dairy farm kid himself, he was born to fix broken things and solve farmers’ problems. He arrived at the farm yesterday with a grin on face, regaling me with stories of a million little parts on the floor of his shop as he trouble shot his farm’s combine. While we pull our hair out when something breaks, he derives happiness from fixing other people’s broken equipment.


He got right to work diagnosing the skid steer’s problems, checking the vital signs like a doctor on his patient. With Erica in the cab, turning the ignition key, he quickly identified the source of the problem-a broken fuel pump. A quick call to our implement parts dealer and away I went to purchase a new fuel pump. Like a heart patient waiting for a transplant, the skid steer waited eagerly while I hurried back to the farm, shiny new fuel pump in hand. Dan, the skilled equipment surgeon, put the new pump in, and the skid steer was brought back to life. Without much fanfare, Erica hopped into the cab and sped away, eager to get hay to the screaming hungry goats.

 

Farm Open Hours—VISIT THE FARM, CHECK OUT OUR “FARM BAR”—ENJOY SOME OF THE BEST LOCAL FOOD AROUND!

Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox with an outing to the farm! Guests can enjoy artfully crafted cheese and charcuterie boards, small bites highlighting what’s local and in season and weekly specials. We feature artisan breads from Publican Quality Bread (Chicago, IL) and scones from Alchemy Coffee & Bakehouse (Wilmette IL). Sunday brunch “Bloody Mary’s are made from scratch, using organic tomatoes from Blue Moon Farm (Urbana IL). Need more enticing? Come try some amazing wines that you can’t find anywhere else in Champaign-Urbana! Some of this week’s featured menu items include:

  • Cheese boards

  • Charcuterie Boards featuring Piemonte Sausage Co. and Underground Meats salumi

  • Publican Quality Bread (PQB) crostini du jour (changes weekly)

  • PFFC “pimento cheese” dip with house-made pickles & PBQ bread

  • Dried BMF green zebra tomatoes with whipped garlicky chevre

Come try a wine flight this Friday night! We’ll feature three wines from our Organic & Biodynamic Portfolio for a set price. Wine not your thing? Enjoy a cold brew from our newest selection of local microbrews, kombucha beer and hard cider! We’re very excited about these new libations.

Hours are:

Fridays, 4-8 pm

Saturdays, 11-8 pm

Sundays, 11-5 pm


In the farm store, we now feature vegetables from new farmer “Open Hands Farm.” Selections change weekly but right now, you can expect tomatoes, carrots, okra, beets, garlic and potatoes for sure.

 

Farm Dinners and Farm Events are BACK! We have added a few more tickets to our wine tasting event on September 29th in partnership with Art Mart’s Todd Fusco. We’re excited about a very special Mezcal and Small Plates Pairing Event with Alex Jandernoa of Banhez Mezcal, Oaxaca, Mexico on October 9th. Make your reservations for our Neopolitan style pizza (Pizzeria Antica), cannoli and gelato with The Tony Cannoli of Lincoln Illinois-October 17th. Last but not least, check out our beer and brats event on October 21st with Middlebrow Brewery and D&M Meats.

 

Urbana’s Market at the Square: Featured Items Going to Market This Saturday-7 am to 12 noon

Cooler weather makes it so easy to shop at the Farmers’ Market this Saturday. Many fruit and vegetable farmers are offering both fall produce (apples, winter squash, fall greens for example) AND summer goodies (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant). It’s really my favorite time of year for local food eating. Our goat bloomy rind cheeses are young this weekend, but tasty. Consider making a pizza with our fresh mozzarella or just enjoying some cottage cheese over sliced apples and a drizzle of honey.

Can’t make it to the market? No worries! Order from our online store for farm pick up either Saturday or Sunday during farm open hours.

Here’s the line-up of offerings for this weekend:

  • Fresh Mozzarella! Yes, you read that right! We are now making fresh mozzarella with the amazing cow milk from Rocky Road Dairy. Like all of our cheeses, we make this cheese as close to traditional methods as possible. Comes as a perfectly formed ball (approximately 5-6 oz.) in a light brine-perfect for your very own caprese salads as well as homemade pizza!

  • Gidget’s Grilling Cheese-made with rich, grass-fed cow’s milk from Rocky Road Farm. Grill or pan fry to get some nice caramelization on the outside. Drizzle with local honey and a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh herbs. Enjoy with crusty baguette and roasted tomatoes. We're moving out of grilling season, so this cheese will exiting our repertoire soon.

  • Artisan Cottage Cheese-summer milk from grazing cows makes an AMAZING cottage cheese. It is both gorgeous (lovely yellow in color-a testament to the grass the cows are eating) and delicious. If you think cottage cheese is boring, you really need to give this a try! It’s a game changer!

  • Pimento cheese dip—so popular, we’re making another batch -featuring organic red peppers from Blue Moon Farm and parmesan like cheese called “Everton Reserve” from our cow-dairy friends at Jacobs & Brichford in Indiana). Can’t wait to share this with you all!

  • Fresh chevre

  • Plain

  • Herbs de Provence

  • Cracked peppercorn

  • Dried Tomato!! Grab some before it’s gone!

  • Angel Food: This little “crottin” style bloomy rind (aka mini-brie) is young but VERY tasty. Enjoy sliced on a bed of wilted fall greens (arugula or mustard greens) lightly dressed with a simple vinaigrette

  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert style cheese-try it warmed in the oven or even “en croute,” now that the weather is getting cooler

  • Black Goat-our ash-ripened bloomy-this batch is also young, so let it ripen in your fridge for a bit. 2021 SILVER MEDAL FROM NY INTERNATIONAL CHEESE COMPETITION!

  • Pelota Roja- raw goat milk Manchego style cheese with a guajillo-olive oil rub—so good for shaving over a tomato and basil salad or grilled eggplant! 2021 GOOD FOOD AWARD WINNER!

  • Goat Milk Feta aged in Whey Brine-try with grilled peaches and a drizzle of honey (sweet and salty and sublime). Watermelon season is HERE for your feta-watermelon salads!

  • Goat Milk Yogurt—it makes a great smoothie or enjoy with your favorite granola and fresh berries- available in both pints and quarts!

If you’re interested in buying fresh raw goat milk, you can either order from our online store for farm pick up on the weekends, or just visit our farm store during open hours—now offering both quarts and half gallons in our refrigerated display case. Goat milk sales will likely come to an end in the next couple of weeks, so grab some while you can.

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