There’s an upside to our inevitable late-summer declines in milk production: I can slow my pace and take time to observe. I can actually spend some time with the doelings and be amazed how big (and demanding) they have become (‘they grow up so fast, don’ they?’). I can finally wander into the garden and harvest a few tomatoes, eggplants and herbs for dinner. I can pull some weeds in the herb garden and take notice of the insect orgies in full shameless display on the flowering Mojito mint.
I can acknowledge the subtle changes of the curd in the chevre vat that come with the onset of late lactation. The curd surface is smooth; the whey layer on the surface is thin. Upon digging in for the first ladlesful of curd, it is obvious that the curd is heavier than it was just a week ago. The flavor of the chevre one day later is still bright and lemony, but it’s slightly richer in mouthfeel. The milk is at a crossroads; it’s leaving behind the fingerprints of fresh juicy forage in the pasture and headed towards the signature of more mature stems and leaves of the late blooming prairie. It is a familiar path, but I relish the feel of it every year.
Martha Stewart Magazine Recognizes the Plight of Cheese Makers and Victory Cheese
The creativity and resilience of my fellow cheese makers across the country is impressive. Our community has come together to support each other through the Victory Cheese Movement. Martha Stewart Magazine has written a fantastic article highlighting the movement and how cheese lovers can support our cause. #Chooseitorloseit people!
GIRLS AND THE GOATS TO VICTORY CHEESE BOX
Our latest Victory Cheese Box collaboration with grass-fed, raw cows’ milk cheeses from Jacobs & Brichford, bloomy rind cheeses from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and accompaniments by Chef Stephanie Izard and her “Girl & the Goat-ceries” team. This DELUXE box features two cheeses from each farmstead creamery, house-made crackers, several kinds of pickles, jam and mixed nuts. It is the ONLY box that features accompaniments made by a Celebrity Chef. You can get your box through our online store. You can either pick up your box at the farm on Saturdays OR Sundays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped.
Psst: We still have a few more of the Rick Bayless Victory Cheese Boxes available if you want to order one of those as well, both with and without the signed cookbook. You can start a collection of Victory Cheese Boxes from PFFC!
Urbana’s Market at the Square-Come early, shop often
The Urbana farmers’ market has a plethora of fruits and veggies right now—tomatoes of all shapes & sizes, peppers of all colors and heat levels, melons, apples, pears, raspberries. So many of these veggies and fruits, either sliced raw or simply roasted pair well with ALL of our cheeses. Just ask us for a few simple recommendations when selecting your cheeses this week.
The Urbana Market has COVID-19 related restrictions. They require social distancing, and both patrons and farmers must wear masks at all times. We have a Square card reader set up for you to swipe your card for payment. If you bring cash, we will give you change (and sanitize our hands between transactions). Gelato pints are ONLY available through online farm store sales/farm pick up.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
Seasonal chevre flavor of the week: Honey-Lemon Thyme. We love to feature ingredients from other farmers, and this week’s chevre has spring honey from Goldsberry Farm in Watseka and dried lemon thyme from our herb garden $9/each
Angel Food: our “crottin” style bloomy-petite but loaded with delicious goat tang! Aging beautifully and firm enough to cut into wedges$9/each
Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy; We have a few super-ripe and ooey-gooey rounds that we’re running a special on; buy 1 get 2nd at half price! All others: $10/each
Fleur du la Prairie-bloomy rind cheese adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers; beautiful AND delicious $11/each
Blushing Goat-washed rind goat milk cheese, washed with bourbon-peach kombucha beer; our second batch is firmer than the first batch, but it’s loaded with great umami flavor $8/triangle, $13 for rounds; $15 for whole squares
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture-PERFECT for salad season, especially a feta-watermelon salad! $7/each
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge-consider shaving this cheese over grilled zucchini or eggplant! Shave it on a salad of greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over sliced tomatoes and broil them in the oven.
Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person, you can order online for shipping. We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week. There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.
Farm Open Hours and Offerings this Summer
If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. You can order online by 10 AM Saturday for Farm Pick-Up either Saturday OR Sunday between 1-4 pm. Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY- flavors this week include Vanilla, Chocolate, Salted Caramel Swirl, Peaches & Cream, Lemon Verbena, Fresh Mint, Anise Hyssop, and Nectarine Sorbetto (made with Mileur Orchard Nectarines). P.S. There are a few pints of pistachio and honey lavender for sale in the farm store if you get here early on Sunday.
Check out the newest items in the online farm store (and in the farm shop “The Real Stand”):
**Raw Milk! Yes, finally, we have a permit from the Illinois Department of Public Health to sell our raw milk. You can either order online (for Saturday Pickup, 1-4 pm) OR come out to the farm on Sundays, from 1-4. We’re selling milk in half gallon jugs for $9 (competitively priced compared to conventional goat milk found in the grocery store).
**”Wash Your Hands! In Style”—new gift item (or just buy it for yourself!) featuring goat milk soaps made exclusively for us by the Wright Soapery. We’re offering a large bar of goat milk soap (tea tree oil, lemongrass, fresh mint or chamomile-oatmeal) with a “Three Chippys” tea towel for $15.
We will be open this Sunday afternoon, August 30th to visitors, with some restrictions. From 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato, gelato sundae (with house-made toppings) or a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages under our pavilion, visit with the goats (no petting, just viewing) and just enjoy the rural outdoors. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm. We’ll be featuring ALL OF OUR CHEESES, as well as lots of great PFFC “merch” for sale during open hours.
Starting September 5th and through the month of September (and maybe into October and November too), we will offer “Open House” hours on BOTH SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. We’re also working with the Girl & the Goat-Ceries team to offer a Labor-Day Weekend Meal Kit for Farm Pick Up Friday, September 4th. In celebration of Labor Day, we’ll be offering our Victory Cheese Boxes for sale to be enjoyed at the farm or to take home, either Saturday or Sunday. Special weekend discounts will be in effect too. Stay tuned for upcoming details.