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Fall Flurry

Farm News

Picture-book azure skies, crisp clean air, steam rising off the warm-water pond in the early chilly morning. This past week epitomizes fall, including the neighbor’s desiccating corn and soybean crops and the siren calls of blue jays outing red tailed hawks in our oak tree.


We are on the eve of breeding season. Next week, the bucks will take their annual walk from the south farm to the north to meet their betrothed. They are ready. Their coats are shiny, their beards are stained with pheromone-laden urine, their bodies are buff.


To set up the breeding pens (each male has a group of 15-20 does), we first had to clean out the milking doe barn. The stiff smells of multiple layers of anaerobic decomposition wafted over the entire building, even making their way into the creamery hallway (have no fear, none of that cleanout activity made it’s way anywhere near the cheese plant). Erica and Sophie worked in tandem on their respective pieces of farm equipment: Erica, master of the skid steer; Sophie, chugging along in the John Deer 4020, manure spreader in tow. With the manure fork firmly attached to the skid steer blade, Erica peeled back the compacted layers of straw bedding mixed with several months’ worth of manure. Sophie waited patiently while the manure spreader was filled with soiled bedding. There’s an art to filling a manure spreader; piled too high, the cargo won’t dispense, filled to low, the work becomes tedious and inefficient.

After nearly five hours of scraping, filling, spreading, the barn floor was back down to ground level. The all-women dairy crew worked at breakneck speed to spread barn lime and fresh straw bedding, just in time to let the does back in for milking. Par for the course, the skid steer broke down just as Erica was finished cleaning, putting the kibosh on cleaning out the second doe barn the next day. Not so secretly, the dairy girls were happy to get a break from barn cleaning. No rest for the weary, though, as the final hay crop of the year awaits baling and bale pick up.

 

Weekend Wine & Cheese Flights

The weather is looking pretty gorgeous for an outing to the farm. Why not try one of our wine & cheese flights 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 surprise accompaniments 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.

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 beers and hard ciders in the cooler. Want something cold and creamy? Try our delicious goat milk gelato! 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. If you're lucky, farmer Wes will let the teenage goat girls out for a stroll and you can get even more intimate with them. They are such attention hounds!

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. 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 pickles with locally grown produce (red peppers, cucamelons, etc.)

  • 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 or linger over a cup of gelato or a glass of wine.

 

From 7-12 each Saturday, you can stock up on great produce, meats, eggs and of course PFFC cheeses. The first market in October means even more fall crops, but summer's still hanging on. The market is open OUTDOORS through the end of October. Then, it moves inside Lincoln Square Mall, starting the first Saturday in November. We will make the move inside as we always do, so PLEASE continue to support your farmers through the holiday season.

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: NOTE: the yogurt smoothie maker (aka ME) is taking a week off from smoothie making. I'll be back at it next week with seasonal flavors.

  • 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! LAST CHANCE ON THIS SEASONAL FLAVOR--BETTER STOCK UP NOW!

  • 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.

  • Angel Food (mixed milk): crottin (mini-brie) style-super young and tangy this week; pair with our farmstead honey-sold as a wedge this weekend

  • Feta in Whey Brine: All goat version available for the next few weeks-tangy, crumbly, creamy--perfect for a fall stew or warmed in the oven with roasted tomatoes and fresh thyme.

  • 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

  • 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.

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