We had our first snow this week; just a dusting, but enough to reinforce the finality of the season. The shortened days, the fleeting glimpses of sun, force us to slow down just a little bit. This year has been like no other; so many assumptions upended, too many painful events intertwined with modest moments of gratitude and joy. Despite the hardships and the challenges, this has been the year of silver lings. Our little goat farm on the prairie is still standing, and we are even allowing ourselves to be hopeful for the future. The goats keep us grounded; their steady presence and commitment to routine pulled us back to the things that matter time after time. Their unassuming offering of gorgeous milk, day in-day out, allowed us to focus on the farm’s core being-making farmstead cheeses.
In the height of the pandemic, with the help of Iroquois Valley Farms, we were even able to buy our neighbor’s farm, moving us closer to our dreams of growing a truly regenerative silvopastoral goat dairy. We planted trees, an audacious act of optimism for the future! We have started renovating the old farmhouse on the property. As we remove some pieces to make it new again, the layers of flooring are an archeological window onto the life of a 100+ year-old farm family. Peeling back the ornate carpeting was like removing layers of volcanic ash protecting the mosaic tile floors of Pompeii. Our “dig” revealed layers and layers of equally ornate linoleum overlying the hearty yellow pine floors. While we acknowledge the aesthetic choices of the past, we celebrate the resilience of the wood. The trees that the immigrant settlers found and felled along the borders of the vast prairie were used to build their modest houses. We’re now planting trees into prairie pastures, pulling the farmers’ footprints full-circle.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you, our most wonderful patrons. We thank you DEEPLY for your support, and we look forward to seeing you in the new year.
LAST chance to order gift boxes before Christmas
Our cheese gift boxes have been flying out the door! Thank you to all who have ordered so far. We are still taking orders for farm pick up this weekend. We will do a final shipment on Monday December 21st (both 1 or 2-day ground and 2nd day air). We must have orders in hand no later than 9 AM Monday, December 21st if you want your order shipped to arrive before Christmas. Both UPS and FedEx have informed us that they are not making any guarantees that orders shipped on 12-21 will arrive by Christmas, but we/they will do our/their best. Several items included in the gift boxes have sold out, so we are replacing with similar product substitutions (cracker types, types of jams and pickles and some of the hard cheeses from our fellow artisan cheesemakers).
The Land Connection’s WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET-Final Market of the Year is this Saturday!
We will be attending this farmers’ market from 8-11 am. We are located just inside the south entrance to Lincoln Square Mall (next to Stango Restaurant). This is a farmers and food only market (no crafts). PLEASE come out and support your farmers! We all have so much great food to share with you and to help you celebrate locally and deliciously.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Mixed milk (cow-goat) plain yogurt (Quart size only) $7—LIMITED QUANTITIES AVAILABLE
Add on: Girl & the Goat-ceries blueberry refrigerator jam ($4/ 4-oz. jar)
Fresh Chevre $8/each NOTE: We are bringing extra frozen chevre so you can pop them right into your freezers to keep you in "chevre" over the winter.
--herbs de Provence
NEW (experimental): Our very first artisan cottage cheese featuring Kilgus Farmstead cow milk and heavy cream. If you think you don't like cottage cheese (or if you are a cottage cheese lover!), you should come early to get the limited offering of this very special cheese! We hope to offer this cheese during the winter months when our goats are dry.
Try one or more of our mix-milk bloomies:
Snowy Woodland with OR without Truffle “Carpaccio”: our mixed milk “crottin” style bloomy (similar to angel food); it’s a tall cylinder with a delicate mushroomy rind; You can either get it unadorned or with a little slice of black truffle “carpaccio” (preserved in extra virgin olive oil) that takes the flavors up several notches $9-10/each
Snow Fog: our mixed milk camembert style bloomy; young but quite luscious $10/each
Midnight Eclipse: mixed milk bloomy with ash rind (similar to black goat with buttery notes from the cow milk) $10/round-LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Cow-Goat Eclipse: mixed milk bloomy with dried herbs and edible flowers (similar to our “Good Food Award” finalist “fleur de la prairie”) $10/round—also young but perfect for holiday eating
Mixed Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, our cow-goat feta is creamy with a lovely tangy finish; this feta is so good, you’ll want to dress it up with some good olive oil and fresh herbs and serve warmed with a crusty baguette or crackers $7/each
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge- Shave it on a wilted salad of fall greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over roasted beets or fingerling potatoes. Try using in a local corn-meal polenta! GOOD FOOD AWARDS CHEESE FINALIST!
We’ll be bringing some special house-made treats to the market too:
--pecan brittle made with pecans from Voss Orchard
-spiced and cinnamon sugar pecans from Voss Orchard
-Nut butter-chevre-dark chocolate bars
ORDERING FROM OUR ON-LINE STORE
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person at the farmers’ market or during our farm open hours, you can always order online for on-farm pick up or shipping. If you order for pick up by 10 AM Saturday, you can pick up from 1-4 pm either Saturday or Sunday.
Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY- flavors this weekend include: Pumpkin Spice, Local Grape-Champagne Sorbetto, Mexican Coffee, Masala Chai, Chocolate, Salted Caramel Swirl, Pure Pistachio, and Nectarine Sorbetto.
There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses. If you don’t find our cheeses in your favorite store, ask them to contact us, so we can get our cheeses to you!
Farm Open Hours and Offerings -final weekend of the season
The farm is open both December 19th and 20th from 1-4 pm each day.
In celebration of the holiday season, you’ll be able to visit with our holiday goats dressed in holiday attire.
You can also peruse the farm shop for cheese or last-minute gifts. Our staff can help put together a custom gift box too! We’ll be offering gelato by the scoop and cups of hot cider both days.
All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm.
NEWS FLASH: On Sunday, December 20th, we will offer our unique “Hay-Ride-Sleigh Ride.” This is a 20-30-minute tour of the farm via hayride. Due to social distancing requirements, we can accommodate approximately 12-14 guests per hayride. We’ll be offering rides from 1:30-4:00 on the half hour. Tickets can be purchased in the farm shop--$8/adult; $4/child (10 and younger). LIMITED AVAILABILITY. REMINDER: All visitors must wear masks and practice safe social distancing while visiting the farm and the goats.
After this weekend, the farm will be closed until spring 2021. We will send out newsletters from time to time if we are able to host any winter farm events. Stay safe and stay tuned.