After a two-year hiatus from in person audits from our friends at “A Greener World,” we had our audit today. The standards for “Animal Welfare Approved” certification are rigorous. Consumer Reports has rated AWA highly with regard to animal welfare and pasture-based production. The certification requires that all groups of goats have continuous access to pasture, that 60-70% of their diet comes from forage (either fresh pasture, browse or hay) and that their living quarters allow “goats to be goats.” This means climbing structures for all groups, enough feed bunk space so that these cliquish teenage-like goat girls allow all members of the herd to eat in peace and a diverse diet of grasses, legumes and woody browse.
We walked the farm with the auditor so he could experience the joy of wading out into the tall, lush pastures with a wall of eager goats trotting alongside, stopping once they found the perfect spot to enjoy a tasty morsel. We took him to our “south farm” to see the newly pastured weaned doelings enjoying their freedom in the outdoors. He observed the plump and shiny breeding bucks standing on their hind legs plucking tender leaves off the mulberry trees.
After seeing the goats firsthand, we sat down with him to review our husbandry practices and our health records to make sure that we follow all the standards for dairy goats. We shared birth records, death records, goat sales, cheese sales, how we use the AWA logo on our packaging.
We spent nearly three hours with our auditor, a farmer himself from the Eastern Shore of Maryland (a land I know well, having worked with poultry farmers there for over three years). He was thankful that we had all of the paperwork ready for him to review. He was sympathetic to some of the struggles we face in keeping our goats healthy and happy and complying with the standards. There is a reason so few fellow commercial goat dairies become certified through AWA; they are demanding and sometimes costly. Yet, we have maintained our certification for over ten years, and we’re proud to be among the elite group of dairy goat farmers who remain certified.
Fleur de la Prairie-the “centerfold” cheese in Culture Magazine
We are honored and proud to have our lovely AND delicious ‘fleur de la prairie’ selected for Culture Magazine’s cheese centerfold in the summer issue of the magazine. Culture is the national magazine about all things cheese! Of course, we’ll have plenty of fleur on hand at the farmers’ market and in the farm store this weekend for you to purchase. You can order it online (along with our ash-ripened ‘black goat’—a duet of bloomies) if you’re not local.
Happenings this Weekend at the Farm and Beyond
Spend part of your Memorial Day weekend with us at the farm! We will be open Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm each day. The goats crave attention and will wow you with their affectionate personalities. You can even feed them some of their favorite treats—maple and mulberry leaves!
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. Want something cool? Try our delicious goat milk gelato! Specials this weekend: (available BOTH Saturday and Sunday):
--goat milk yogurt parfaits with local fruit purees
--special gelato flavors: lemon AND honey chevre!!!
The secret ingredient to our amazing cheeses and gelato is our MILK! You too can experience our milk in its purest form! We are permitted to sell raw milk from the farm. Curious what it tastes like? We will have samples for you to try.
When you’re ready to leave, take home some raw goat milk or goat milk yogurt. We’ve also got some great local products, including artisan jams, preserves and salamis. Check out these gorgeous eggs from fellow AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) certified eggs from Joyful Wren Farm. They are equally beautiful on the inside (bright orange means they are definitely eating grass) as well as the outside.
The farm is open on weekends RAIN OR SHINE! You can still visit with the baby goats inside their barn if it’s raining! We have ample seating inside our farm store if you want to stay and enjoy a cheese & charcuterie board. Our store is AIR-CONDITIONED!
Urbana’s Market at the Square
We’re excited to be back at the outdoor market for our 17th season!! From 7-12 each Saturday, you can stock up on great produce, meats, eggs and of course PFFC cheeses. Shop the market this Saturday for all your holiday cook out ingredients—cheese should definitely be on your list. How about little bloom on the prairie on the grill? How about some of our yogurt for marinating chicken or beef kabobs to put on your grill??
PLEASE NOTE: OUR LOCATION AT THE MARKET HAS CHANGED. 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:
Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
Fresh Chevre with chive & lemon zest—IT’S BACK and boy is it delicious!!! Grab a few while they’re here because these are going FAST!!
Mixed milk feta in whey brine-salad season is upon us. Try crumbling feta over pan-roasted asparagus and drizzle with a balsamic reduction! Simple and Sublime!!
Little bloom on the prairie: Mixed milk camembert style- young this week
Fleur de la prairie: All goat bloomy rind with edible flowers and herbs-a few perfectly ripe; rest are super young 2021 Good Food Award Winner
Black Goat: All goat, Ash-ripened bloomy-super young 2021 Silver Medal at NY International Cheese Competition
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
Goat milk Yogurt (quart size)
We will send some of our goat milk yogurt parfaits with local fruit purees to market this week. Keep an eye out for those.
Not local? No problem. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.