Despite the prolific growth of milkweed in our herb garden, the monarch butterflies have been scarce this year. By now, we would have seen lots of evidence of caterpillars feeding on milkweed leaves and chrysalises hanging from the fences or on the grape arbor.
The other beneficiaries of milkweed are thriving.
After the nearly three inches of rain we received last Sunday, the garden’s flowering chive is a buzz with pollinators and the end-of-summer milkweed bug orgies. They vacillate between feeding and procreating, feeding and egg laying. The orb spiders have woven their Persian rug-like webs in between the flower clusters, scarfing up baby milkweed bugs as they hatch.
I searched feverishly for monarch caterpillars, turning over milkweed leaves close to the ground. I found one plump caterpillar, clearly eating his/her way toward metamorphosis. Perhaps their season has been thrown off by drought, by climate change? Perhaps the butterflies sense that warm sunny days will linger this fall, and they can take their time to foster the next generation. I’ve seen a few butterflies feeding on the nectar of flowering sedum. Our little garden fuels them to make the journey south when they decide it's time.
Weekend Wine & Cheese Flights
Looking for something fun and out of the ordinary to do this weekend? We have some great wines in our store, and we’re excited to share them with you alongside our cheeses. How does it work? Each weekend, our staff pick a white, a rose and a red to pair with three of our cheeses. We serve the wine & cheese flight with a rustic baguette bread from Publican Quality Breads in Chicago or with Potters Crackers. $25/person (must be 21 or older) gets you this amazing flight with some surprises every weekend. All of our wines come from wineries and vineyards using sustainable agriculture practices; most are organic and/or biodynamic and/or regenerative. Just ask our staff for the details if you’re curious.
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. The weather is looking pretty nice on Saturday with a chance of rain on Sunday.
Enjoy a cheese and charcuterie board under our pavilion with a bottle of organic and/or biodynamic wine or local microbrew. We have some great new beers and hard ciders in the cooler. Want something cold and creamy? Try our delicious goat milk gelato! Come early and grab some yogurt, house-made granola and a little jar of farmstead honey for a healthy breakfast. Of course, there are lots of opportunity to engage with the goats—the mommas and the teenagers LOVE visitors. The interactive goat "play pen" is right next to our Sorghum-Sudan Grass Cover Crop forest, You can grab a hand-full of grass to feed to the goats.
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.
If you don’t have time to peruse our farm store, but you need some milk or cheese or accompaniments, you can always order from our online store for pick up at the farm during weekend open hours. Just let us know if you’re picking up on Saturday or Sunday in the “NOTES” section (before checking out).
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!! New in the store, a great new selection of PFFC T-shirts.
NEW PRODUCTS ALERT:
fresh cheddar cheese curds from our friends in Nebraska--Dutch Girl Creamery--plain and dill-garlic
locally made hot sauces from Weird Meat Boyz
Fresh Seckel pear cider from the Prairie Fruits Farm orchard
organic garlic from Blue Moon Farm (yes, that's right-they are growing some produce this year)
The farm is open on weekends RAIN OR SHINE! 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
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 seasonal fruits. Last week, I noticed that apples and pears are eclipsing the peaches, and fall raspberries have arrived! Melons are still on the scene, but not for too much longer. Better make a melon-feta salad this weekend!! How about a Waldorf style salad with apples, local pecans (Voss Pecan Orchard)
and fresh chevre? The Pear Cider was a HUGE hit last weekend, so we pressed more pears this week, and we'll be bringing cider to the market again. Better come early though, cause it will probably sell out!
Tomatoes are still abundant and tasting AMAZING with all the sunshine we've had lately. Winter squashes are just starting to show up, but zucchini are still plentiful. PFFC cheese should definitely be on your market shopping list, and you can prepare simple dishes with what’s in season alongside our cheeses, especially our chevre and feta. How about lightly grilling a little bloom on the prairie or an angel food mini-brie and serving with crusty bread and local honey? How about one of our bloomies on a burger?
PLEASE NOTE: OUR LOCATION AT THE MARKET HAS CHANGED FROM YEARS’ PAST. 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!! First batches of the season made with early spring milk. The flavor is sharp and nutty, the texture is firm, crumbly yet supple—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!! Now that it’s sweetcorn season, try grating and blending with crumbled feta, smoked paprika and salt and slather over grilled sweetcorn. You will never eat corn any other way! 2021 Good Food Award Winner
Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society 1st Place Medal!
Seasonal chevre flavor: Tomato chevre returns to the market and the farm store this weekend-made with dried Juliete romas from our garden and from Blue Moon Farm.
Mixed milk feta in whey brine-salad season is upon us. Try crumbling feta over grilled buttered sweetcorn with chili powder or smoked paprika (Mexican style)! How about a feta-melon salad---the combination of salt-savory with sweet is irresistible!
Little bloom on the prairie: All goat milk camembert style- super young this week!
Angel Food: mixed milk mini-brie—aging nicely, and perfect for enjoying with sliced tomatoes and fresh basil! VERY LIMITED this week, but back in full force next week
Black Goat: All goat ash-ripened bloomy rind; young but still so good--especially with pears- 2021 NY International Cheese Competition Silver Medal Winner!
Fleur de la Prairie: all goat milk bloomy rind adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers 2021 Good Food Award Winner and 2022 American Cheese Society 1st Place Medal
Goat milk Yogurt (both pints and quarts); we’ll also be selling some house-made granola and small jars of honey to go with the pint size yogurt if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option.
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
Pear cider-freshly pressed; available in pints and quarts-farmers' market and farm store
Organic garlic-Blue Moon Farm's renowned garlic--available at our farm store ONLY
Not local? No problem. We ship nationwide. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.