When we got the grim ultrasound news in December that nearly 20 of our milking does had not been bred successfully, we decided to attempt to breed them in January. At the time, this seemed like a reasonable idea. For us, the loss of milk from 20 does would be significant over an entire lactation. We analyzed the added complications of having newborns in summer versus more milk during a time when spring-freshened does start to lose milk production. January came and went. With our fingers crossed, the vets came out in early March to ultrasound the group to confirm pregnancies. Only eight of the 20 had been bred successfully!
The die was cast, so we accepted their fates and set our sights on getting through spring kidding season. Fast forward to late June and the onset of extreme heat. The very pregnant does started going into labor over a period of about one week last week. Much to our surprise, they delivered their kids with no fanfare. We would go out to their barn to check on them in the evenings (most of them kidded in the early evening, in contrast to spring kiddings which seem to happen during the late morning or midafternoon), and lo and behold, there were kids on the ground. The kids have been extremely healthy—perfect birth weights, good eaters, no drama. Amazingly, neither pregnant mothers nor babies seemed to have suffered from heat stress. While they aren’t getting all the attention of the spring kids, they still manage to delight us with their baby goat antics. Having kids in hot summer has not been as stressful as we imagined.
Happenings this Weekend at the Farm and Beyond
FARM STORE SPECIAL THIS WEEKEND: SUMMER BUBBLES & BITES FLIGHT
Our farm store manager, Lisa Little, took a trip to Utica IL this week to give a special cheese tasting to the staff of August Hill-Illinois Sparkling Co. Winery. They will be featuring our cheeses in wine pairing flights and offering their guests a special gourmet cheese board to accompany their wines by the glass.
We are very excited about this partnership. If you’re visiting Starved Rock State Park or in the beautiful area of northwest IL, check out their tasting room in downtown Utica.
We’re offering our own cheese & wine flight this weekend in the farm store featuring sparkling wines from Illinois Sparkling Co. (ISC). These amazing sparkling wines are made using the Champagne Method-both are dry and complex.
Our “Summer Bubbles & Bites” pairs cracked pepper chevre with ISC Brut, little bloom on the prairie with ISC Brut Hombre Rose and pelota roja with FVR100 (Terres Dorées)-a fruity and full-flavored Beaujolais sparkling wine. $25 for the cheese & bubbly flight. No need to reserve; just ask for the flight when you come to the farm store.
Farm Open Hours
This weekend (and all weekends through the end of the year) we’re open 11-5 both Saturday and Sunday. 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! Of course, there is lots of opportunity to engage with the goats—the mommas and the babies LOVE visitors.
Specials this weekend: (available BOTH Saturday and Sunday):
--goat milk yogurt parfaits with local fruit purees and jams
--special gelato flavors: local strawberry, fresh mint, pistachio
The secret ingredient to our amazing cheeses and gelato is our MILK! You too can experience our milk in its purest form! Our milk super fresh (usually less than one day old) and clean. We are permitted to sell raw milk from the farm (Illinois Dept. of Public Health). Curious what it tastes like? We will have samples for you to try-just ask.
We’ve also got some great local products, including artisan jams, local honey, preserves and salamis. Check out the 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. I eat them every day!!
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! You can even order online for in store pick up during open hours!
From 7-12 each Saturday, you can stock up on great produce, meats, eggs and of course PFFC cheeses. Shop the market this Saturday and snag some berries (blueberries, raspberries), PEACHES!!! leafy greens or sugar snap peas—cheese should definitely be on your list, and you can prepare simple dishes with what’s in season alongside our cheeses, especially our chevre and feta.
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:
Pelota Roja!!! Our raw goat’s milk “Spanish Style” cheese is back!! 2021 Good Food Award Winner! First batch of the season made with early spring milk. The flavor is sharp and nutty, the texture is firm, crumbly—perfect for shaving or grating. You can also just slice it and eat it with a big hunk of local salami and smear of local mustard. YUM YUM YUM!!
Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
Chevre with Rhubarb Compote!! This seasonal flavor has a generous dollop of house-made rhubarb compote, using rhubarb harvested from our garden (before the heatwave last week fried the plants!!)
Mixed milk feta in whey brine-salad season is upon us. Try crumbling feta over roasted beets and drizzle with a balsamic reduction!
Little bloom on the prairie: Mixed milk camembert style- young this week
Angel Food: Our mini-brie style bloomy rind (mixed milk)-super young this week
Fleur de la prairie: All goat bloomy rind with edible flowers and herbs-perfectly ripe & gooey this week. 2021 Good Food Award Winner AND Culture Magazine’s Summer Issue Cheese Centerfold
Goat milk Yogurt (quart size)
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
We will send some of our goat milk yogurt parfaits with local fruit purees to market this week too. Keep an eye out for those-they sell out fast!
Not local? No problem. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.