Sultry November days. T-shirt temperatures and goats still grazing on pasture; October exits with no killing frost. The seasonal weather is confused, but the richness of fall milk is on cue. Over the years, we have developed a tradition of making an ale-washed rind cheese with this fatty fall milk to be ready for the holidays. Sometimes it’s made with all goat milk, sometimes all cow milk; this year, we decided to make a mixed milk version and wash the rind with local Saison (Belgian-Style Ale).
Historically, these styles of cheese were often made by monks, who also made the beer that they used to wash the cheeses. We make our version in a similar manner to our bloomy rind cheeses. The magic happens as the cheeses are bathed twice weekly with a ripening culture-infused beer mixture. The ripening cultures produce a tell-tale aroma; indeed, these cheeses are affectionately referred to as “stinky feet” cheese! In fact, one of the ripening culture species is related to the bacteria responsible for “stinky feet.” Yet, the pungency of aroma is deceiving. Underneath that crinkly rind is a rich & buttery paste with notes of roasted squash. When young, the flavor is actually quite mild. As the cheeses age, they get softer and gooier (just like our bloomies) and the pungency is more pronounced. We’ve named this year’s washed rind “Goldenrod,” an homage to the native fall-flowering beauty so ubiquitous in our prairie landscape.
Wine and Cheese on the Farm? Yes please!
With the colder weather finally settling this weekend, spending some leisurely time in our farm store can be downright cozy. We are one of the few places in Champaign-Urbana where you can get a curated wine and cheese flight. We carry some great organic and/or biodynamic wines. We try to change up the wines and the cheeses frequently so you can come often to try a variety. 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 of three wine pours and three cheeses with some surprise accompaniments every weekend. All of our wines come from small family-owned wineries and vineyards using sustainable agriculture practices. Just ask our staff for the details if you’re curious.
Introducing our newest creation: cheese & charcuterie cones!! Basically, it’s a cheese plate for one served inside a stylish paper cone-includes cheese, salami, pickles, bread and a few little treats. I am super excited about this concept, and we’ve received great feedback from our patrons. You can enjoy a cone ($15) while you visit with the goats!! Or sit under the pavilion by the chimenea with your cone and a glass of wine or beer!
Enjoy a sweet or savory fall cheese “boat: the “sweet:” plain chevre, local apple chips and house-made caramel sauce; the “savory:” pepper chevre, house-made sweet red pepper sauce and Publican baguette bread. $10 gets you either one! Wash it down with hot spiced apple cider (from Shady Crest Orchard in Arthur) with our without local bourbon.
Farm Open Hours: See for yourself what makes our cheeses so exceptional
We’re open 11-5 both Saturday and Sunday through the end of December. The weather will be chilly, but have no fear, there is plenty of seating in our farm store. Enjoy a cheese & wine flight, a cheese in a cone or a “build your own” cheese board. Shop our farm store and sample some of our award-winning cheeses.
We also have some great beers and hard ciders in the cooler. Want something sweet and creamy? Try our delicious goat milk gelato! Of course, there are lots of opportunities to engage with the goats—they LOVE visitors. You can get some lovin’ from the pregnant mommas along the east fence line behind the red barns. The interactive goat "play pen" is right next to our Sorghum-Sudan Grass Cover Crop Forest. We can NO LONGER feed the Sorghum-Sudan grass to the goats after a frost (even a light frost produces cyanide in the plant!!). This is the last weekend for the teenage goat play pen-they will be leaving the farm to become members of another milking herd in southern Indiana.
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 in person, 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, hot sauces, preserves and salamis. Don’t forget to check out the PFFC t-shirts, onesies and tea towels.
The farm is open on weekends RAIN OR SHINE!
NEW IN THE FARM STORE: SWEET FALL CARROTS FROM BLUE MOON FARM
Blue Moon Farm only grows fall carrots that have been "kissed" by the frost. This ensures the sweetest carrots. Along with Common Ground Food Coop, we are the ONLY location in Champaign-Urbana where you can buy these delicious carrots.
Order a Cheese Gift Box
With the cooler fall weather, now is a great time to send a cheesy gift box to a friend or family member OR just order one for yourself if you don’t live close by. We have some unique and delicious gift box options OR you can order a variety of different cheeses a la carte. Check out the selections and order away. We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week. Please make sure you select either Retail 1-2 ground (for shipments in the Midwest) OR Retail 2nd Day Air (for shipments to the coasts) when you’re ready to check out of the online store.
Order Your Holiday Cheese & Charcuterie Platters for Thanksgiving Entertaining!! Online pre-orders are open NOW. We make these platters to order, so don’t delay in placing your order. Your guests will be very happy! Orders must be received by midnight, November 19th!
We have moved inside the Lincoln Square Mall. The indoor CU Winter Market (run by The Land Connection) is held every Saturday from 8-12. PLEASE continue to support your farmers through the holiday season. We still have so much great cheese!
Here's the lineup of cheeses and dairy products you can expect to find in our farm store and at the farmers’ market this weekend:
Goldenrod: Our seasonal mixed milk washed-rind beauty-rich, luscious, buttery with a hint of yeastiness from the ale-washed rind
Moonglo!! Our raw goat’s milk "tomme-style” cheese!! Sharp, nutty, slice it! Melt it!
Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society 1st Place Medal!
Little Bloom on the Prairie (mixed milk): camembert style—ripening nicely this week
Angel Food (mixed milk): crottin (mini-brie) style-on the young side this weekend; pair with our farmstead honey-sold as a small round, wedge or whole wheel (these large format wheels are closer to the true size of a brie style cheese).
Feta in Whey Brine: mixed milk is back, and boy is it delicious-creamy, luscious with the perfect tang-- or warmed in the oven with roasted tomatoes and fresh thyme. Not sure what to do with feta now that salad weather is on the wane? Here are some suggestions:
--crumble over a hearty stew or chili
--bake in the oven with good extra-virgin olive oil, kalamata olives, fresh thyme sprigs and sundried tomatoes
--put on top of your house-made pizza
--crumble over tacos or refried beans (in place of Mexican grating cheese)
Goat Milk Yogurt (pints and quarts)-ALL GOAT MILK YOGURT is back for a limited engagement-nice thick body from high-solids fall milk; slight yogurt tang
House-made pumpkin butter, house-made pickles & chutney, roasted “Blue Moon Farm” shishito pepper jam—all great accompaniments for our cheeses
Raw goat milk (half gallons or quarts)-farm store only
Not local? No problem. We ship nationwide. You can order our cheeses and gift boxes from our online store.