The heat and the drought finally gave way to some much needed rain this past week. While our fiery red sunsets bear witness to the raging hot winds, wildfires and smoky skies out west, the scents of fall predominate. The breeding bucks are idling away in their summer pasture on the new farm, but their hormones are telling them (and us when we visit them) that their time to shine is not too far off.
The rains have spurred new growth in our pastures, and we have begun to get the farm ready for breeding season. This year, we will attempt to breed even more does than last year with hopes of adding more milkers to the roster next spring. We are putting up new fencing to create large pasture areas for each breeding group to enjoy. We’ve been mowing, hauling out old tractor implements and poultry houses from abandoned pastures, clearing the way for long strands of hotwire fencing.
After months of soul-searching, we have decided to sacrifice the orchard to the goats as pasture-browse during breeding season. We dipped our toes in those waters last year by fencing off a small (and unproductive) portion of the peaches next the doe barn. It is clear that goats love fruit trees and it is also clear that our orchard has been neglected and assaulted, supplanted by the growing herd and the demands that loud goats bring.
The peach trees are over 15 years old; their productive years are behind them, even under the best circumstances. The climate changes have not been kind to our fruit trees either. The anxiety from polar vortices, coupled with the anguish of late April freezes, combined with an increasing onslaught of pests and diseases, have left of trail of disappointments from recent lackluster fruit harvests. So, the decision to let the goats “have” the orchard was painful but realistic. Soon, the place they have coveted for so many years will now be fair game.
Support your artisan and farmstead cheese makers #chooseitorloseit
GIRLS AND THE GOATS TO VICTORY CHEESE BOX
Our latest Victory Cheese Box collaboration with grass-fed, raw cows’ milk cheeses from Jacobs & Brichford, bloomy rind cheeses from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and accompaniments by Chef Stephanie Izard and her “Girl & the Goat-ceries” team. This DELUXE box features two cheeses from each farmstead creamery, house-made crackers, several kinds of pickles, jam and mixed nuts. It is the ONLY box that features accompaniments made by a Celebrity Chef.
You can get your box through our online store. You can either pick up your box at the farm on Saturdays OR Sundays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped.
Psst: We still have a few more of the Rick Bayless Victory Cheese Boxes available if you want to order one of those as well, both with and without the signed cookbook. You can start a collection of Victory Cheese Boxes from PFFC!
Urbana’s Market at the Square-Come early, shop often
September is the BEST month to shop the farmers’ market. The transition from summer to fall means that you get the best of BOTH seasons-summer fruits and veggies abound and fall crops (apples, pears, broccoli, carrots) begin to make their appearances. So many of these veggies and fruits, either sliced raw or simply roasted pair well with ALL of our cheeses. Just ask us for a few simple recommendations when selecting your cheeses this week. We can have you putting together a show-stopping cheese board in no time!
The Urbana Market has COVID-19 related restrictions. They require social distancing, and both patrons and farmers must wear masks at all times. We have a Square card reader set up for you to swipe your card for payment. If you bring cash, we will give you change (and sanitize our hands between transactions). Gelato pints are ONLY available through online farm store sales/farm pick up.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
TWO Seasonal chevre flavors of the week:
Honey-Lemon Thyme. We love to feature ingredients from other farmers, and this week’s chevre has spring honey from Goldsberry Farm in Watseka and dried lemon thyme from our herb garden $9/each
Dried tomato chevre. It’s that time of year again—dried Juliette and Roma tomatoes from our garden (and sometimes from Blue Moon Farm), chopped up and blended into our chevre. This is my FAVORITE flavor. Limited offering this weekend.
NEW CHEESE: Nutty Goat: A lovely, large-format bloomy rind adorned with toasted pecans from Voss Pecan Orchard. This round has been aging for almost six weeks. The paste is firm and mild. Perfect paired with slices of fresh apples or pears (both starting to make their appearance at the farmers’ markets) $15/each
Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert style round; young, but has a lovely tang with slight buttered-mushroom flavor $11/each
Angel Food: our “crottin” style bloomy-petite but loaded with delicious goat tang! Aging beautifully and firm enough to cut into wedges$9/each—SUPER YOUNG (like a very firm log of chevre)
Black Goat-ash-rind bloomy that has a firm tangy paste when young and gets progressively earthy and funky (and gooey) as it ages. $10 each-SUPER YOUNG this week
Blushing Goat-washed rind goat milk cheese, washed with bourbon-peach kombucha beer; our second batch is firmer than the first batch, but it’s aging beautifully and it’s loaded with great umami flavor $8/triangle, $13 for rounds; $15 for whole squares
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture-PERFECT for salad season, or crumble over a pizza or stew! $7/each
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge-consider shaving this cheese over grilled zucchini or eggplant! Shave it on a salad of greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over sliced tomatoes and broil them in the oven.
Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person, you can order online for on-farm pick up or shipping. If you order for pick up, you can pick up from 1-4 pm either Saturday or Sunday.
Check out the newest items in the online farm store (and in the farm shop “The Real Stand”):
**Raw Milk! Yes, finally, we have a permit from the Illinois Department of Public Health to sell our raw milk. You can either order online (for Saturday Pickup, 1-4 pm) OR come out to the farm on Sundays, from 1-4. We’re selling milk in half gallon jugs for $9 (competitively priced compared to conventional goat milk found in the grocery store).
**”Wash Your Hands! In Style”—new gift item (or just buy it for yourself!) featuring goat milk soaps made exclusively for us by the Wright Soapery. We’re offering a large bar of goat milk soap (tea tree oil, lemongrass, fresh mint or chamomile-oatmeal) with a “Three Chippys” tea towel for $15.
**Our NEW Chippy the Chef apron is HERE! This gorgeous all-cotton apron features Chippy the Goat (our logo and mascot) with her chef hat and mixing bowl. Fully adjustable straps, big deep pockets and super stylish! $20 each.
Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY- flavors this weekend include: Vanilla, Chocolate, Salted Caramel Swirl, Peaches & Cream, Lemon Verbena, Fresh Mint, Anise Hyssop, and Nectarine Sorbetto (made with Mileur Orchard Nectarines).
We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week, 1-2-day ground ($20 shipping/handling) for most of the Midwest and 2nd-Day Air for other areas of the country ($35/shipping & handling). There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.
Farm Open Hours and Offerings
If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. The farm is open BOTH Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm each day.
During our weekend open hours from 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato, gelato sundae (with house-made toppings) or a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages under our pavilion, visit with the goats (no petting, just viewing) and just enjoy the rural outdoors. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm. We’ll be featuring ALL OF OUR CHEESES, as well as lots of great PFFC “merch” for sale during open hours.