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Goat retirement-the party and other farm news

Farm news

Like all long-time valued employees, they deserve a proper send off when they retire. Tomorrow a group of our older does will be leaving to become weed eaters and backyard pets and live out their days with well-earned peace. Our dairy crew, always thinking about the best ways to celebrate certain milestones, decided to throw them a “retirement party.” When planning a retirement party for goats, the selection of party food is of primary importance (I guess the same goes for humans). Having spent close to a decade with this group of seniors, we know all their secrets, all their favorite treats, how they like to eat, who they like to hang out with. Elli, one of our dairy crew, took on the catering gig. When checking out at the grocery store with several large watermelons and bunches of bananas, the cashier asked what she was going to do with all of those fruits. She replied nonchalantly that they were for a goat retirement party. “A what??” the cashier asked. “A goat retirement party, Elli replied. “You made my day,” the cashier responded.

Like all great caterers, presentation is as important as mouth appeal. Watermelons cut in decorative patterns, perfectly formed into balls inside the watermelon “bowl;” banana rings bedecking watermelon rinds with a sprinkling of grain and animal crackers to finish. Fruit interspersed with flowers and maple leaves, and you have a goat buffet fit for, well, a group of sassy senior goats. After milking this evening, we pulled out the party girls from the rest of the herd and crowned them with their special party hats. Reluctant and somewhat confused (they really don’t like to deviate from their routine, especially when it’s getting dark, and they’re still outside), we opened the gate and enticed them toward the party table with a bucket of grain. This group has always been highly motivated by grain, so it was easy to lure them to the buffet table. Once they laid eyes upon their feast, they dug in with gusto. Mallow went right for the watermelon, while Elli Mae nibbled on the flowers. Marcia and Rhoda were distracted by a vagrant milkweed plant. Within several minutes the beautiful display was one the ground and mostly devoured. With the sun setting behind us, and the party girls tuckered out, we escorted them back to the barn for one last night with their herd mates. Dairy crew celebration followed with pizza and beer.


The heat returns this weekend, but you can still enjoy an outing to the farm with both outdoor and indoor (air-conditioned) dining options available. Guests can enjoy artfully crafted cheese and charcuterie boards, small bites highlighting what’s local and in season and weekly specials. We feature artisan breads from Publican Quality Bread (Chicago, IL) and scones from Alchemy Coffee & Bakehouse (Wilmette IL). Sunday brunch “Bloody Mary’s are made from scratch, using organic tomatoes from Blue Moon Farm (Urbana IL). Need more enticing? Come try some amazing wines that you can’t find anywhere else in Champaign-Urbana! This week’s featured menu items include:

  • Cheese boards

  • Charcuterie Boards featuring Piemonte Sausage Co. and Underground Meats salumi

  • Publican Quality Bread (PQB) crostini du jour (changes weekly)

  • Watermelon and Feta Salad with fresh mint

  • PFFC “pimento cheese” with PBQ bread

  • Canary Melon Mimosas—all weekend long!!

We’ve started a tradition of wine flights! We’ll feature three wines from our Organic & Biodynamic Portfolio for a set price. Wine not your thing? Enjoy a cold brew from our newest selection of local microbrews, kombucha beer and hard cider! We’re very excited about these new libations.

Hours are:

Fridays, 4-8 pm

Saturdays, 11-8 pm

Sundays, 11-5 pm

In the farm store, we now feature vegetables from new farmer “Open Hands Farm.” Selections change weekly but right now, you can expect tomatoes, okra, parsley, beets, garlic and potatoes for sure. Fall carrots might make an appearance too!

Farm Dinners and Farm Events are BACK! Our Paul Virant “Gaijin Dinner on the Farm” is now in the past, and what a glorious meal it was last night. The Sunday Dinner Club “Cucina Italiana” is now sold out, but we will be posting ticket sales for a few events in late September and October early next week. Look for a special wine tasting event on September 29th in partnership with Art Mart’s Todd Fusco. We’re excited about a very special Mezcal and Small Plates Pairing Event with Alex Jandernoa of Banhez Mezcal, Oaxaca, Mexico on October 9th. Save the date for a Sunday afternoon of Neopolitan style pizza (Pizzeria Antica), cannoli and gelato with The Tony Cannoli of Lincoln Illinois-October 17th. We’re also planning a beer and brats event in late October with Middlebrow Brewery and D&M Meats as well as our “Goaty Halloween” festivities on Sunday October 31st.

Urbana’s Market at the Square: Featured Items Going to Market This Saturday-7 am to 12 noon

The weekend weather will be PERFECT for a shopping spree at the farmer’s market this Saturday. Many fruit and vegetable farmers are starting to offer some fall produce (apples, winter squash, fall greens for example), but still have loads of the summer goodies (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant). It’s really my favorite time of year for local food eating. We’re lean on goat bloomy rind cheeses this weekend, but we have lots of other great cheeses for you to enjoy this weekend, whether you’re entertaining with guests or just wanting to enjoy some simply prepared foods this holiday weekend.

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:

  • Fresh Mozzarella! Yes, you read that right! We are now making fresh mozzarella with the amazing cow milk from Rocky Road Dairy. Like all of our cheeses, we make this cheese as close to traditional methods as possible. Comes as a perfectly formed ball (approximately 5-6 oz)-perfect for your very own caprese salads as well as homemade pizza!

  • Gidget’s Grilling Cheese-made with rich, grass-fed cow’s mi