Dairy farms and farmstead creameries use a lot of water. Water for washing down the milking parlor, water to quench thirsty goats, water for heating and cooling our cheese vats, water for cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Thankfully, we are blessed with a plentiful supply of ground water, courtesy of the Pleistocene glacier melts and the Mahomet aquifer. The wastewater from our dairy-creamery (also known as grey water, in contrast to "black water" which is the water associated with human waste--go figure), goes into a settling tank and has been "surface-irrigating" our pastures, compost piles and orchard for a long time. This system works some of the time, but, admittedly, it's a short-term fix to a long-term problem.
We have been dreaming of a better way to reuse this nutrient rich (if not a bit smelly) water. We have pined for a system called a "Living Machine," whereby a succession of plants gradually purifies the water, allowing it to be discharged into a stream if so desired. Alas, time and resources have precluded actualizing this dream. Instead, we are digging a long trench along the north-south orientation of the orchard, lining it with sand and laying perforated pipe to gradually allow the meandering "stream" of grey water to percolate into the soil and fertilize from below. Someday, there might be a greenhouse full of tropical plants purifying our grey water. For now, we are turning to the soil microbes to do their job, master decomposers that they are.
Farmers' Market and Farm Happenings
This Saturday, come see us at the outdoor farmers' market, Urbana's Market at the Square. Our location is the same as last year: on the south end of the market at the south end of aisle two. Hours are 7 am to 12 noon. It is going to be on the warm side with a chance of rain, so come early and stock up! The market is flush with summer produce like sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, berries and peaches! Melons are on the rise too! Everything tastes better with a little PFFC cheese by its side!!
Summer is in full swing, and we have cheeses to meet all of our culinary needs as well those for snacking on the back porch. All of our bloomy rind cheeses are back and plentiful this weekend.
Need some cheesy menu ideas for simple summer entertaining? How about a slice of angel food melted on a burger? How about a Greek-style summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with our feta? What about baked zucchini or eggplant stuffed with Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese mixed with a riot of fresh herbs? How about a slice of Moonglo, proscuitto and fresh melon??? Yogurt, peaches and home-made granola anyone??? Pelota Roja shaved over grilled sweetcorn anyone??? You get the idea!
Here's a simple and easy recipe from our rock-star volunteer, Laura
Moonglo Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower -leaves removed and stem trimmed
2-4 cloves garlic peeled and rough chopped
2 green onions peeled and rough chopped
1 dash red pepper flakes ( optional)
½t Black pepper
2T plain yogurt ( I use PFFC goat yogurt, it's the best!)
2-3 oz Moonglo cheese shredded (rind and
Maldon finishing salt
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover cauliflower. Add salt, black pepper, garlic, onion, and pepper flakes to the pot and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook only until it can be pierced with a fork. Remove from water and drain well in a colander. Just before serving place cauliflower on a small cookie sheet or cast iron pan. Smear yogurt over cauliflower, this gives shredded cheese something to stick to! Pat shredded cheese over the top and sides. Roast in a 450 oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown! Serve whole and let people slice and serve themselves!
If you want raw goat milk or gelato, you will need to come out to our farm store during open hours. You can also order from our online store for farm pickup. We'll be bringing the following cheeses to market:
Fresh chevre--plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal and 2023 Bronze Medal winner!
Fresh chevre with jalapeno crunch-freshly chopped jalapeno peppers mixed into the chevre-moderate heat, lovely peppery crunch--this would be good on a lamb burger!
Angel Food mini-brie-aging nicely
Little Bloom on the Prairie-mixed milk camembert-all goat batch! Young
Fleur de la Prairie-all-goat bloomy rind with dried herbs and edible flowers-beautiful and delicious! 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal winner! New batch
Prairie Fire: our fleur dusted with smoked paprika and topped with dried marigolds New Batch
Ukrainian Farmhouse Cheese-all cow milk, fresh cheese-great for sweet or savory applications-we are doing our former Ukrainian cheese maker, Tetyana, proud by continuing to make this popular fresh cheese. LIMITED
Moonglo: raw goat milk tomme style semi-hard cheese--slightly nutty and fruity--perfect for slicing or melting 2023 ACS Silver Medal
Pelota Roja: raw goat milk "Spanish-style" hard cheese with guajillo chile-olive oil rub--sharp, slightly spicy and just plain scrumptious-slice it, shave it! Serve it with your favorite summer red wine! 2021 Good Food Award Winner
Feta in whey brine: crumble on a summer salad! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza! 2023 ACS Bronze Medal
Goat milk yogurt (pints and quarts)-all natural, no thickening agents-use it as the base of a marinade, a salad dressing or just eat it with fresh fruit
Farm Open Hours
Come visit us summer. We are open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm. You can visit with the goats, taste our raw milk (and buy some to take home), shop our farm store for cheeses, accompaniments and unique gifts, enjoy a cheese board under our pavilion or grab a scoop of gelato. We are also offering wine/beer & cheese flights featuring three cheeses with three wines or micro-brews. Our wine & cheese flight features the three 2023 ACS winners-chevre frais, feta and moonglo! Our beer and cheese flight highlights some unusual regional microbrews alongside our cheeses and Great Lakes Potato Chips as the eating vessel--fun and delicious!
Please note: on Saturdays, we offer "build your own" cheese boards and flights starting at 12:30 pm until closing. On Sundays, they are available from 11-5.
Summer is all about fruit flavors and we are going crazy with local blueberries (from Indiana), red currants (from Champaign) and nectarines (from southern IL)!
Our farm is great place to unwind, enjoy some great cheese and gelato and take in the natural surroundings that are so scarce in central Illinois. Our farm store is AIR CONDITIONED, so don't let the hot weather deter you from making a visit to the farm.
In general, we plan to offer hikes every Saturday at 11 am. If it is too hot or if it's raining, we will postpone until Sunday at 11AM. Not sure if it's happening? Just check in with our staff when you arrive on Saturdays.
When hikes happen, join Wes or one of our rock star volunteers on a stroll along the eastern edge of our farm. It's a gorgeous part of the farm. The hike lasts for about 30-40 minutes and then we take you on a brief tour of the dairy. It ends with a scoop of gelato. $18/person includes the hike, a farm tour and a scoop of gelato at the end.
NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. HIKE STARTS PROMPTLY AT 11:00 am. SUITABLE FOR AGES 8 AND OLDER. WEAR STURDY SHOES FOR UNEVEN TERRAIN AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING/HATS FOR THE WEATHER. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO BRING A WATER BOTTLE AND SUNSCREEN TOO.
Want to order for farm pick up during the weekend? Need some raw goat milk? Eggs from Joyful Wren? Cheese? Just order from our Online Store for Farm Pick-Up. It's super easy!! Not local? You can still support us! You can order from our online retail store. We ship nationwide Mondays through Wednesdays every week. You can choose from one of our gift collections or just mix and match a la carte.