Farming while "sheltering in place"
Sheltering in place on a goat dairy farm in March is a contradiction in terms. For us, March is kidding season, the busiest and most stressful time of year. Unlike the socially-distant lives of the non-farming populace, we are enmeshed in the proximity of laboring mothers, the smears and stains of birth fluid and baby poop on coveralls, the nudging fingers enticing newborn kids to take their first sips of life-sustaining colostrum. Our hands are constantly touching; milking newly freshened does, washing, washing again and ladling soft fresh cheese curd. Intimacy is essential: dairy farmer and goats, cheese maker and milk and cheese. The inevitability of the season is upon us. New life pushing its way into the world does not know that the world is in crisis.
In a “normal” spring, our human interactions are typically limited to staff and volunteers. We venture off the farm to buy supplies and take our products to market. What constitutes “market” has been turned on its head; farmers’ markets-gone, on-farm sales and eager farm visitors-on pause, restaurant sales-non-existent. Yet, farmers are finding a way. Farmers are rallying to the desires to eat close to home by setting up stores, pick-up sites, home delivery services and joining forces to offer a cornucopia of locally raised foods. The remarkable silver lining that is emerging from this pandemic is the resilience of local food. Our inherently short supply chains are nimble. We are finding ways to pivot to get our delicious foods to those who want to eat them. This is hopeful.
NEW Online Retail Store
At long last, we have created a way for our customers to order cheese and all the fixings from our website. Relief is here; it's time to indulge your palates in the safety and comfort of your own homes. We have a chevre lover’s package of “Chevre Trio” and a “Stay at Home Gourmet Survival Kit” to name a few options. We’re featuring our fresh spring chevre, which is sublime right now--light & fluffy with hints of lemon. We are also featuring local artisan products including Marcoot Jersey Creamery cheeses, D&M Farms salami, Underground Meats cured salamis, Potter’s Crackers, Voss Pecan Orchard, house-made jams and Central Illinois Bakehouse baguettes.
We are excited to offer both ground (1 to 2-day transit) shipping as well as farm pick up options for our customers. Cheese drive through anyone? Our shipments will go out next Wednesday (April 1st) and farm pick- ups will occur on Saturday afternoons, 1-4 pm (starting Saturday April 4th).
Want to support some local independent grocery stores? We've got that option too! You can now find our fresh chevre in the following establishments:
--Common Ground Food Coop (Urbana)
--Strawberry Fields-World Harvest (Urbana)
--Harvest Market (Champaign)
--Green Top Grocery (Bloomington)
--Local Foods (Chicago)
--Olivia's Market (Chicago)
--Potash Markets (Chicago)
--Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks (Home Delivery service for the Chicagoland area-located in Niles, IL)
There are still too many unknowns to announce our plans for farm events this spring and summer. We are still hopeful we can host a couple of “Babies & Brunch” in late April. We are still planning to offer a limited “Dinners on the Farm” series, starting in June. Once the farm is allowed to re-open to the general public, we will have regular Farm Store Hours, guided tours & tastings and special events featuring cheese & wine, cheese & beer AND cheese & other spirits. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and continue to support the farmers who want to supply you with healthy local foods.