Sometimes, I get asked about the back story on our cheeses. Some folks want to know where the inspiration of the name comes from; others puzzle over the idea of intentionally adding mold to milk to create a rind. Angel Food evokes a lot of curiosity; many confuse with the cake.
I want to talk about the origins of fleur de la prairie because it came about to solve a problem. We have been making our ash-ripened ladled-curd bloomy rind cheese “black goat” for several years now. The soft curd is hand-ladled into small cheese molds, and the molds fill quickly due to the high moisture of the curd. We were restricted in the volume of milk we could use to make this cheese partly because of the number of molds we had and because the high moisture curd leads to a fast-ripening gooey cheese (that must be sold fairly quickly).
As the number of milking goats has increased in our herd in recent years, I wanted to use all the milk from a day’s milking to make a bloomy rind cheese. So, I decided to ladle off the number of black goat rounds I wanted to make and then turn the remaining curd into another cheese! The idea that I could make two cheeses from the same curd in the vat was revelatory! I decided to give the curd a light cut prior to ladling, to release some of the whey, and give the finished cheese a different textural profile as it aged. Instead of dusting the surface with ash, I decided to decorate it with dried herbs and edible flowers from our herb garden. This solved another problem—taking advantage of a standing asset on the farm-overabundance and underuse of herbs in our garden.
Each time we dry herbs or flowers, the look and flavor profile of the fleur de la prairie changes. The seasonality of the decorations is in line with the seasonality of our milk too. While our techniques for decorating the cheeses have evolved over time, they still have the look of a “Jackson Pollock” abstract expressionist painting. Amazingly, there’s a marriage of terroir between the goats’ changing diet, the flavors in the milk and the nuance of the herbs and edible flowers. Problems solved and a delicious cheese is born.
Urbana’s Market at the Square: Featured Items Going to Market This Saturday-7 am to 12 noon
June is National Dairy Month (I know there’s month for everything, right??) so we’re celebrating all things goat dairy with weekly recipes featuring our cheeses. You can shop the farmers’ market or come out to the farm to purchase.
This week’s feature recipe celebrates our fleur de la prairie. Since this cheese is best enjoyed with minimal intervention, here’s a suggested “perfect bite” pairing idea:
Cut the fleur de la prairie round into 6 wedges.
Toast a slice of your favorite dark bread (whole multi-grain sourdough or a wholewheat baguette would be ideal). If the slice is large, cut into bite-sized toast points.
Cut a thin slice of a nice crisp tart apple (granny smith, Braeburn or Pink Lady if you can find them in the grocery store)
Place apple slice atop the toast, then place the fleur de la prairie wedge on the apple slice. If you must, place a small piece of prosciutto on top of the apple slice before placing the cheese wedge.
Drizzle with local honey and enjoy with a glass of dry white wine or rose.
Come early to the farmers’ market this Saturday, as will be warm again. Can’t make it to the market? No worries! Order from our online store for farm pick up either Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Here’s the line-up of offerings for this weekend:
Herbs de Provence
Angel Food-goat “crottin” style bloomy (nice ‘n ripe, brie-like)
Fleur de la Prairie—2021 Good Food Award winner!-bloomy with dried herbs and edible flowers
Black goat-ash-ripened bloomy; perfectly ripe with a light earthiness
Little Bloom on the Prairie-our goat milk camembert; tastes like buttered mushrooms
Goat Milk Feta aged in Whey Brine
Goat Milk Yogurt—it makes a great smoothy or enjoy with your favorite granola and fresh berries-now available in both pints and quarts!
Goat Milk Gelato by Pint (vanilla, chocolate and hazelnut for sure; more flavor options out at the farm)
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.
Last chance to order a Cheesy Father’s Day Gift Box for Farm Pick Up this weekend
We have fully-loaded cheese & accompaniments gift basket for the special dads in your life. Order yours NOW to pick up at the farm this weekend. You can even enjoy it at the farm for Father’s Day this Sunday.
Goats for Sale
Looking for a family milking goat or a 4-H project for your kids? Looking to build a small herd to make some goat milk soaps and skin care products? Looking to expand your commercial dairy goat herd? Want some goats to keep your invasive plants at bay? How about a few goats to take on hikes? We have what you’re looking for! Our goats are certified “Animal Welfare Approved,” registered through the American Dairy Goat Association AND super happy and healthy. Send us an email (email@example.com) and we’ll let you know what we have available.
Farm Open Hours
Enjoy some peace and tranquility at the farm this weekend. The farm is open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. You can visit with the goats, shop in the farm store “The Real Stand” or enjoy a cheese board with a glass of wine or beer or cup of gelato under the pavilion. We continue to welcome folks to shop, taste, order a cheese board, glass of wine or cup of gelato as we renovate our space.
As the summer progresses, we are planning to add regularly scheduled farm tours, tastings and other events featuring our fun-loving goats. We will be expanding our open hours and weekend offerings too—we’re building a bar! Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
Lots of folks are asking about our Farm Dinners! We are working on an abbreviated season, depending on availability of guest chefs. We hope to announce a few dates/chefs/restaurants and themes in the next couple of weeks. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as you’re able. This will make our communal dinners even safer! Thank you.