The many tentacles of the post-pandemic hydra extend in so many directions. As the rains of June and July produced explosions of weeds in our garden beds, we came to the realization that we need to bring in some landscaping professionals to clean up our herb garden before our farm’s grand re-opening. I spent three weeks calling around to local landscapers only to have them all tell me that they were extremely short-staffed and there was no way they could get our seemingly small job done by our deadline.
So, I transitioned out of my creamery cloths and into my farm-work cloths, put on some gardening gloves and got to work pulling weeds. Once I found the plants I wanted to save, I enlisted the help of Wes and Lisa (our new event planner) to weed whack and hoe our way to bare ground. We purchased several rolls of weed barrier, ordered a load of pea gravel and hauled several loads of nicely aged wood chips from the north pasture. We shoveled and dumped, shoveled and dumped; alternating between pea gravel and mulch to keep the back muscles going. Little by little, with sweat dripping from our faces, the walkway took shape. The dark mulch highlighted the vibrant greenery of the herbs, milkweed and tomato plants. Some of the herbs are flowering, and the milkweed and dill have attracted monarchs and swallowtails to lay their eggs and renew the butterfly lifecycle.
Stepping back from our work, we could see the raison d’être of the herb garden restored. The grape arbor has almost completely filled in. The tomatoes planted along the fence rows have green fruits, easy for the picking. The flowering oregano is a haven for pollinators and beneficial insects. The newly planted thyme and rosemary now have room to grow. The toil redeemed itself. The set is now staged for sanctuary and discovery.
Farm Open Hours -Grand Re-Opening this Saturday-Recommitting ourselves to Agritourism
Just in time for Summer, we’re ON THE MAP—THE CHEESE LOVERS’ MAP!
We are featured in this month’s CULTURE MAGAZINE (a National Publication!) as one of the three farmstead cheese making operations in Illinois that welcomes guests to visit the farm. Check it out!! We are ready for all you cheese-loving visitors!
This weekend, we will host guests for the first event in over 15 months. I hope it’s just like riding a bike! Our grand reopening is sold out for Saturday, but we will be open from 1-4 pm for drop in guests. 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. Check out our new “merch:” Chippy the Goat embroidered ball-caps, t-shirts and sweatshirt too! They’re made from recycled fabric and feel GREAT!
Sunday, July 18th, we will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. We will be offering a limited brunch menu with AMAZING scones from Alchemy Coffee & Scones in Wilmette, IL. We’ll also be making yogurt parfaits featuring our wonderful goat milk yogurt.
Starting the weekend of July 23,rd we will expand our hours even more and debut our new small bites menu and our amazing “all organic/biodynamic” wine list. We have some wines that you can’t find anywhere else in Champaign-Urbana! Hours will be:
Fridays, 4-8 pm
Saturdays, 10-8 pm
Sundays, 10-5 pm
The menu will be posted on our website sometime next week. We’ll have a standard repertoire of small bites, and also feature peak season items on the menu. Per our usual MO, foods will highlight the best of our region’s farms and food artisans. Of course, there will be brunch foods, cheese boards, wine flights and seasonal cocktails. As the summer progresses, we will host a few “Dinners on the Farm” (probably starting in mid to late August), special cheese and beverage pairings, goat walks, farm tours and health and wellness classes.
Urbana’s Market at the Square: Featured Items Going to Market This Saturday-7 am to 12 noon
We are still flush this week with SO MUCH CHEESE! You really need to try several so bring a cooler! The weather should be PERFECT for farmers' market shopping. No excuses to make a Saturday morning foray to the Urbana Farmers’ Market. We will be offering our new cow milk cheeses in addition to our goat milk beauties.
NEWS FLASH: OUR RAW MILK “PELOTA ROJA” IS BACK IN THE CHEESE LINEUP! Come grab a wedge of this 2021 Good Food Award winning cheese, inspired by Spanish style raw goat milk cheeses. Early spring milk makes these early batches taste AMAZING!
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:
Gidget’s Grilling Cheese-made with rich, grassfed 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. Enjoy with crusty baguette or some grilled summer squash.
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!
Herbs de Provence
LIMITED offering: fresh chive and lemon zest—we just can’t help ourselves!
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-young but tasty
Black goat-ash-ripened bloomy-also young with “fudgy” texture that I love so much
Little Bloom on the Prairie-our goat milk camembert-aging nicely; try with spring honey
Pelota Roja-FIRST OF THE SEASON! 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)
Goat Milk Yogurt—it makes a great smoothie or enjoy with your favorite granola and fresh berries-now available in both pints and quarts!
Goat Milk Gelato by Pint (4-5 flavors at the market; many more 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.
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.