Following the violent thunderstorms that blew through our area earlier this week, we emerged out of the dense thicket of heat and humidity to a landscape of clear blue skies and crisp cool air. The goats are feeling the change. Their frisky behavior and cat-fight pettiness suggest they’re coming into heat. Despite the lush pasture offerings in their newly opened pasture paddock, they seem to prefer lounging in the shade or picking a fight with a fellow caprine. I managed to coax them out to their paddock yesterday afternoon, and eventually they started grazing while I stood amongst them, subjected to serving as their head scratching post. Thinking I could slink out of the pasture while they were eating, I moved slowly back toward the barn. A few of them got wind of my motives, then the whole herd was on its way back to the barn.
The orchard of August is a mix of survivors and casualties. Most of the peach trees, save the one variety called “Belle of Georgia,” are in various states of death and decay. The Belles (a super sweet white peach variety) have numerous small peaches on their branches, not quite ripe, but promising. The Seckel pears are loaded with fruit; the branches are so thick with pears, they look like grape clusters. Even the Moonglow pear trees have a few respectable pears ready for the plucking. Some of the apples are faring well too, despite some debarking from goats who were allowed to graze in the orchard last year. A downy woodpecker flitted amongst the dead and dying peach trees, feasting on the smorgasbord of insects who have begun the decomposition process.
Happenings this Weekend at the Farm and Beyond
Summer Weekend Wine & Cheese Flights
We have some great old favorites and some new wines in our store, and we’re excited to share them with you alongside our cheeses. So, from now through August (and maybe longer), our staff will pick a white, a rose and a red to pair with three of our cheeses each weekend. We’ll serve the wine & cheese flight with a rustic baguette bread from Publican Quality Breads in Chicago. $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.
Book your reservations now for a very special cheese tasting event on Labor Day Weekend. We are super excited to welcome author and cheese lover Erika Kubick to the farm on Sunday, Sept. 4th from 5:30-7 pm. Join us for a transcendent “Cheese Church” service with author and cheese preacher Erika Kubick, in celebration of her book “Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed!” She’ll start off the class with a “sermon” on the basics of cheese worship before leading us through a tasting featuring five of our cheeses, each paired with an artisan accompaniment. After the class, you'll have the chance to shop at our farm store or pick up a copy of Erika’s book.
Tickets are $40, plus $5 for charcuterie. Beverages and gelato are available for purchase on site. Feel free to arrive early and play with the goats before class!
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 fantastic for an outing to the farm-clear, not too hot & humid—not too shabby for August.
Enjoy a cheese and charcuterie board under our pavilion with a bottle of organic and/or biodynamic wine or local microbrew. Want something cool? Try our delicious goat milk gelato! Of course, there is lots of opportunity to engage with the goats—the mommas and the babies LOVE visitors. We recently moved the pen of the teenage goat girls, so come check them out and feed them some tree leaves!!
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 HAVE A LIMITED OFFERING OF GELATO PINTS FOR ORDERING ONLINE-CHOCOLATE, MINT AND VANILLA. BETTER ORDER SOON AS THESE WILL GO FAST!
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!!
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 berries (blackberries, fresh figs) PEARS AND PEACHES!!! Melons are on the scene, which means it is the start of melon-feta salad season!!
Tomatoes, delicate cucumbers and sweetcorn are abundant, as well as summer squashes and eggplants—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. Break out your favorite recipe for watermelon-feta salad. I’m all about grilling lots of veggies and then adorning with either chevre or feta or BOTH!! I’m also about making giant salads that are adorned with chevre or feta. How about lightly grilling a little bloom on the prairie or an angel food mini-brie? 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: jalapeño crunch-finely diced local fresh jalapeño peppers blended into our award-winning fresh chevre-slightly crunchy, gentle heat—this one perfect for the hot days of august!
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!
Artisan Cottage Cheese: this is NOT your “grocery store” cottage cheese-rich, golden yellow and creamy-stuff some peppers and roast with melty cheese on top (like Pelota Roja!!) or make a pasta salad. Last chance for cottage cheese! We are discontinuing production.
Little bloom on the prairie: Mixed milk camembert style- young this week—put this baby on burger and you’re set! SELECT NUMBER OF OOEY GOOEY RIPE LITTLE BLOOM-BUY 2, GET 50% OFF THE 2ND ONE
Angel Food: mixed milk mini-brie—aging nicely, and perfect for enjoying with sliced tomatoes and fresh basil! Our answer to caprese salad! We’ve got some wedges of large-format Angel Food that we are selling with either honey or a blueberry compote
Black Goat: All goat ash-ripened bloomy rind; aging nicely 2021 NY International Cheese Competition Silver Medal Winner! SELECT NUMBER OF OOEY GOOEY RIPE BLACK GOAT-BUY 2, GET 50% OFF THE 2ND ONE
Fleur de la Prairie: All goat milk bloomy with dried herbs and edible flowers-aging beautifully! We have a few larger wheels that were dusted with smoked paprika and edible flower/herbs-come early for those beauties 2021 Good Food Award Winner AND 2022 American Cheese Society First Place Winner!
Goat milk Yogurt (both pints and quarts); we’ll also be selling some house-made granola and small jars of honey OR blueberry compote to go with the pint size yogurt if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option to enjoy at the market.
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
Not local? No problem. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.