2021 has been another roller coaster ride of turbulence and calm; a year of struggles and joy; a year of extremes and unpredictability. We began the season in early March with the ebullient-yet-stressful birth of nearly 250 baby goats. With guarded optimism, we re-opened our doors to farm visitors for babies & brunch and then a shortened season of agritourism and farm to table meals. We replanted trees in our silvopasture and put in new fencing for pasturing more goats on our new farm. Our wholesale customers slowly returned as their own businesses started to rebound from COVID. Several of our cheeses won some national awards. Summer swelled with lush green pastures, full udders and the hopefulness of returning to “normalcy.”
Summer transitioned to early fall, and our herd was beset with several severe health problems. We lost our beloved “Lapiz” the goat to acute illness. A new strain of COVID appeared, causing anxiety among our patrons and wholesale customers. Despite these obstacles, we persisted. We managed to find ways to sell our cheese and to provide opportunities for folks to visit the farm and enjoy the companionship of goats and the beauty of our prairie vistas. We have an amazing team of people dedicated to caring for our animals and making & selling beautiful cheese. We are grateful for the support of our community; those of you who patronize the farmers’ market, our farm and our online store. We are grateful to the chefs and grocery stores who put our cheeses on their menus and their cheese cases. We are thankful to those who value the great lengths to which we go to ensure extreme animal welfare and to make the planet a bit more resilient to the harsh winds of climate change.
The PFFC blog post and newsletter will take a winter break for the next couple of months. I will send out announcements of special offerings or events from time to time. The goats are dry, the barns are being cleaned for winter slumber and soon our staff will get some much-needed rest. We wish everyone the happiest of winter holidays.
Final Open Hours of the Season: Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm December 18-19th
Last chance to visit the farm for the year! Visit with the goats and snap some selfies with our roaming Santa Goats. We're making some special holiday snacks for the farm bar menu! Our farm store “The Real Stand” is decked out for the holidays, and we have some amazing items that make the perfect gift-whether it’s just for you to enjoy at home or for that special someone in your life who appreciates good food. End of season special: 15% off everything in the store (including cheese, bottles of wine, beer, merch, gift items and MORE!)
We have jams, pickles, salamis, honey, flavored vinegars, maple syrup, coffee, flour, crackers and bread from an array of amazing artisan producers from the Midwest. We have t -shirts and sweatshirts and onesies for the PFFC fan in your life. We have goat milk soaps (from the Wright Soapery) incredible goat-centric jewelry, local pottery and beautiful wooden ornaments as well as local-wood cheese boards by the Root to Roof organization at the University of IL. But wait; there’s more: we have some of the best organic & biodynamic wines you can find in Central Illinois and a first-class selection of local microbrews and ciders.
Farm Store Beer & Cheese Special
We love pairing our cheeses with beer so much that we want to encourage you to give it a try! This weekend, we have two specials: Buy two beers and one cheese for $20 OR buy 4 beers and two cheeses for $40! Mix & Match any of the microbrews we have available. Our staff is ready to help you select the best pairings!
If you can’t make it out to the farm, we have you covered. Our online store is now featuring some cheesy and not-so-cheesy gift baskets. There’s something for almost everyone at a variety of budgets. You can order for farm pick up during open hours OR have your order shipped. We even include hand-written notes with your holiday messages if you like. Just let us know! LAST DAY TO SHIP BEFORE CHRISTMAS IS TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21ST. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR ORERS BY TUESDAY (12/21) AT 9 AM IF YOU WANT THEM SHIPPED.
This weekend’s menu items include:
Cheese boards featuring cheeses from PFFC, Jacobs & Brichford and Ludwig Creamery
Charcuterie Boards featuring Piemonte Sausage Co. and Underground Meats salumi
Crostini du Jour (let us surprise you!)
French Onion Soup with PFFC melty cheese toast topping
Gelato with Apple Crumble
Alchemy Scone (available all day on Saturdays & Sundays) served with honey-chevre
Hot spiced Cider and Hot Mulled Wine
Holiday Cheese Platters
If your gathering locally with family and friends for the holidays, let us help you feed them. We have gorgeous and unique cheese platters available for pick up at the farm on Friday, Dec. 24th-two sizes to accommodate the size and appetites of your crowd. Reserve yours now! Psst! We'll be open Friday Dec. 24th from 11-1 for all of you last minute procrastinator shoppers. We can also help you select some wines and/local microbrews to serve with your holiday fixins.
These boards feature all PFFC cheeses, including a spiced cranberry-pecan chevre ball, our mini-brie "Angel Food" and our local beer washed rind stunner "Merry Cow."
COVID protections on the farm
Just a friendly reminder to all of our patrons that we follow the state guidelines for wearing masks indoors. While visiting our farm store, we require that you wear a mask, unless you are actively eating and/or drinking. Our staff wear masks during service, and everyone is vaccinated. We encourage all of our guests to be vaccinated too! Please check our website for up-to-date open hours. Thank you for your cooperation and for helping to keep everyone healthy and safe.
Champaign Urbana Winter Market December 18th
This Saturday, come to the Champaign-Urbana Winter Market, run by The Land Connection. This is the last farmers' market of the year. Our stand is located just inside the south entrance to Lincoln Square Mall. Hours are 8 AM to 12 noon. Please support your local farmers!
Here’s the line-up of offerings for this weekend:
Artisan Cottage Cheese-grass-fed milk from grazing cows makes an AMAZING cottage cheese. It is both gorgeous (lovely yellow in color-a testament to the grass the cows are eating) and delicious. If you think cottage cheese is boring, you really need to give this a try! It’s a game changer! I've got a fantastic recipe for a warm caramelized onion cheesy dip that uses our cottage cheese-super easy and a real crowd pleaser!
Pimento cheese dip—so popular, so delicious! -featuring our cottage cheese, organic red peppers from Blue Moon Farm and parmesan like cheese called “Everton Reserve” from our cow-dairy friends at Jacobs & Brichford in Indiana). This is an instant appetizer for your hungry holiday guests—serve warm with crackers.
Merry Cow-introducing our latest cow-milk creation---a washed rind cheese made with 100% organic, grass-fed milk. The rind is bathed weekly a saline wash including local beer and ripening cultures. Texture of the past is firm and supple; flavor is slightly yeasty but mild. Great on a cheese board with roasted veggies, tart jam or whole-grain mustard and salami.
Herbs de Provence
Fleur de la Prairie-a delicate bloomy rind decorated with locally sourced dried edible flowers and herbs. Now available as mixed milk (cow-goat) 2021 GOOD FOOD AWARD WINNER!-very limited and nice 'n ripe! LAST of the SEASON!
Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy-when young, it has a lovely light yeasty flavor with a dense fudgy paste. As it ages, it gets nice ‘n gooey. Now available as mixed milk (cow-goat) 2021 NY International Cheese Competition Silver Medal Winner-On SALE: buy 2, get 2nd one at 50% off! Nice 'n ripe (i.e. ooey gooey) LAST of the SEASON!
Angel Food: Our lovely as white snow “crottin-style” bloomy; now available as mixed-milk -this batch is young and firm with buttered mushroom flavor. Try with toasted nuts and a drizzle of local honey
Little Bloom on the Prairie: mixed milk camembert style bloomy rind-NOTE: we may not have this available at the market, but we might have some super young rounds available in the farm store over the weekend.
Pelota Roja- raw goat milk Manchego style cheese with a guajillo-olive oil rub—so good for shaving over roasted potatoes or your favorite casserole! 2021 GOOD FOOD AWARD WINNER!
Mixed Milk Feta—our first batch of cow-goat feta is ready for your enjoyment; aged in Whey Brine-perfect to crumble over a hearty fall stew or roasted beets, warm out of the oven. Or turn it into a dip and serve with roasted carrot sticks!
Can’t make it to the market? No worries! Order from our online store for farm pick up either Saturday or Sunday during farm open hours.
HOLIDAY GIFT OPTIONS ARE HERE FOR SHIPPING OR FARM PICK UP!-Check out the newest offerings on our website! We have something for everyone. Remember: Online ordering for holiday shipping is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21ST!