Our herb garden is neglected these days. Every day this spring, I scurry past the garden on my way from the house to the creamery. My days are consumed by all things cheese, leaving no time for much else beyond maintaining basic necessities (cooking, laundry, cleaning, pet care). Lately, I have avoided casting my glance toward the mass of greenery that sits inside the fence of the herb garden. Putting eyes on it acknowledges its neglect, accentuates my guilt.
Laissez fare has a way of showcasing the renegades. The grape arbor at the gateway to the garden is resplendent, with numerous flower clusters that should turn into grapes. Just inside the arbor, the creeping Charlie blankets most of the beds, its growth akin to unwanted facial hair. Then, there are the aggressive grasses overtaking the chives. The native milkweed plants tower like green skyscrapers, signaling their availability to egg-laying monarchs. Turbo herbs like Kentucky mint, oregano and lemon balm are holding their own, spilling over into what was a pea-gravel pathway. Pocketing the creeping Charlie beds, in random fashion, are the shiso (Japanese purple basil), cilantro and dill, volunteer seedlings from plants left to flower and seed in years past. The lovely dark maroon frilly leaves of the shiso dot the gravel pathway, highlighting their resilience. I search in vain for the few herbs and tomatoes that Wes managed to plant a few weeks ago. The thyme, tarragon and parsley seem to have been overwhelmed by the creeping Charlie. The tomato plants are holding on, but their growth is paltry.
The herb garden has been my outdoor domain historically. In most years, it has allowed me to keep my fingers in the dirt, to witness the benefits our homemade compost. It has allowed me to actualize my gardening aesthetic, to plant the utilitarian alongside the beautiful. The edible flowers and annual herb seeds I bought from Johnny’s sit a top our kitchen counter, inside the box in which they were shipped. I must find peace and acceptance for those who thrive in my absence.
Fleur de la Prairie-the “centerfold” cheese in Culture Magazine
We are honored and proud to have our lovely AND delicious ‘fleur de la prairie’ selected for Culture Magazine’s cheese centerfold in the summer issue of the magazine. Culture is the national magazine about all things cheese! Of course, we’ll have plenty of fleur on hand at the farmers’ market and in the farm store this weekend for you to purchase. You can order it online (along with our ash-ripened ‘black goat’—"a duet of bloomies”) if you’re not local.
Happenings this Weekend at the Farm and Beyond
It’s June and, once again, the weather will be gorgeous this weekend. Come out and enjoy the outdoors before the heat wave hits next week. We are open Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm each day. The goats crave attention and will wow you with their affectionate personalities. You can even feed them some of their favorite treats—maple and mulberry leaves! Check out the pregnant goat moms due to kid at the end of this month—some of them have quite the girth.
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! Specials this weekend: (available BOTH Saturday and Sunday):
--goat milk yogurt parfaits with local fruit purees and jams
--special gelato flavors: NEW this week: local strawberry, fresh mint, tart cherry-amaretto (pistachio is back too!!)
The secret ingredient to our amazing cheeses and gelato is our MILK! You too can experience our milk in its purest form! We are permitted to sell raw milk from the farm. Curious what it tastes like? We will have samples for you to try-just ask.
When you’re ready to leave, take home some raw goat milk or goat milk yogurt. We’ve also got some great local products, including artisan jams, preserves and salamis. Check out these 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!
Urbana’s Market at the Square
We’re excited to be back at the outdoor market for our 17th season!! 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 strawberries, asparagus or leafy greens—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.
Recipe suggestions from last week are still relevant:
How about little bloom on the prairie on the grill with a drizzle of local honey and fresh herbs?
How about some of our yogurt for marinating chicken or beef kabobs to put on your grill??
Or make a yogurt-chevre dipping sauce to pair with some pan-roasted asparagus.
Whip some feta with a little heavy cream and serve over charred spring onions—a great side dish.
OR marinate some feta cubes in extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs; serve with warm crusty bread or grilled zucchini spears
Add some honey to our chevre and serve with macerated strawberries—see how easy all of this IS!!??
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:
Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
Artisan Cottage Cheese!! Yes, it’s back and boy is it gorgeous and delicious—the golden yellow color belies the pastured cow’s milk from Rocky Road Dairy
Mixed milk feta in whey brine-salad season is upon us. Try crumbling feta over pan-roasted asparagus and drizzle with a balsamic reduction! Simple and Sublime!!
Little bloom on the prairie: Mixed milk camembert style- young this week
MARKET SPECIAL: “Nutty little bloom” Our perfectly ripe and buttery little bloom cheese adorned with toasted chopped pecans from Voss Pecan Orchard. Think savory butter-pecan ice cream (sort of)
Angel Food-mixed milk mini-brie-super young this week, but you can slice it over a warm spinach salad with bacon bits!!
Fleur de la prairie: All goat bloomy rind with edible flowers and herbs-a few perfectly ripe; rest are super young 2021 Good Food Award Winner AND Culture Magazine’s Summer Issue Cheese Centerfold
Black Goat: All goat, Ash-ripened bloomy-super young 2021 Silver Medal at NY International Cheese Competition
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
Goat milk Yogurt (quart size)
We will send some of our goat milk yogurt parfaits with local fruit purees to market this week. Keep an eye out for those.
Not local? No problem. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.