From a distance, the June blanket of green that coats our landscape evokes lushness, unbridled growth and teaming life. Zoom in to any corn or soybean field and you’ll see that underneath that monoculture canopy is sterility. The soil is bare from herbicides; its structure has been pulverized from excessive tillage and loss of organic matter. The rapidly growing crops, designer-made, are devoid of insects or other symbiotic life forms.
Until last year, our farm was a tiny island in a sea of monocropping. For some creatures seeking refuge from the hostile surroundings, we were hard to discover, and the terrain could be treacherous to get here, even if you have wings. With the purchase of our neighbor farm and the leasing of land in between our farm and the neighbors, we now have over contiguous 80 acres in conversion to perennial regenerative agriculture.
For the first time in our nearly 20 years living here, we have a Baltimore Oriole pair nesting. We have seen them migrating through in recent years, but they never found our accommodations suitable enough to stay and raise a family. This spring, we kept seeing them in and around the farm, their dazzling orange and black plumage shimmering against the green leaves. This week, we discovered their nest- a beautiful pendulous structure hiding in plain site in the oak tree between our house and the barn. They chose a branch below a loud and messy English Sparrow nest, maybe to divert attention from their brood. I hung our hummingbird feeder under the porch roof (to attract the resident hummingbirds), and within minutes, the female Oriole alighted awkwardly onto the feeder to drink the nectar. We grew our oasis and suddenly it was big enough to welcome another species.
Urbana’s Market at the Square: Featured Items Going to Market This Saturday-7 am to 12 noon
June is National Dairy Month (I know there’s month for everything, right??) so we’re celebrating all things goat dairy with weekly recipes featuring our cheeses. You can shop the farmers’ market or come out to the farm to purchase.
This week’s feature celebrates both local strawberries and our cracked pepper chevre.
Local Strawberries with Whipped Pepper Chevre & Balsamic Drizzle
1 pint of local strawberries, tops removed and cut into quarters
3 T granulated sugar
¼ t pure vanilla extract
6 oz. container of PFFC cracked pepper chevre
½ C heavy cream, preferably Kilgus Farmstead
1 C balsamic vinegar
Extra freshly cracked pepper, flake salt (e.g., Maldon Salt) and fresh mint leaves for garnish
1. Sprinkle sugar over cut strawberries, mix gently with vanilla extract and let sit to macerate
2. In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally; reduce to ¼ cup volume (consistency will thicken to the point where the vinegar glaze coats the back of a spoon)
3. Combine pepper chevre with heavy cream and whisk until whipped consistency is achieved
4. Arrange macerated strawberries on a plate; quenelle or pipe the whipped pepper chevre on top of the strawberries and drizzle with the balsamic glaze
5. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, additional freshly cracked pepper and a couple of pinches of nice flak salt
Come early to the farmers’ market this Saturday, as it’s going to be another hot one. Can’t make it to the market? No worries! Order from our online store for farm pick up either Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Here’s the line-up of offerings for this weekend:
Herbs de Provence
Angel Food-goat “crottin” style bloomy (nice ‘n ripe, brie-like)
Fleur de la Prairie—2021 Good Food Award winner!-bloomy with dried herbs and edible flowers-CHECK OUT OUR NEW TECHNIQUE FOR DECORATING THESE BEAUTIES
Black goat-ash-ripened bloomy
Little Bloom on the Prairie-our goat milk camembert
Goat Milk Feta aged in Whey Brine
Goat Milk Yogurt—it makes a great smoothy or enjoy with your favorite granola and fresh berries-now available in both pints and quarts!
Goat Milk Gelato by Pint (vanilla, chocolate and hazelnut for sure; more flavor options out at the farm)
If you’re interested in buying fresh raw goat milk, you can either order from our online store for farm pick up on the weekends, or just visit our farm store during open hours—now offering both quarts and half gallons in our refrigerated display case.
Goats for Sale
Looking for a family milking goat or a 4-H project for your kids? Looking to build a small herd to make some goat milk soaps and skin care products? Looking to expand your commercial dairy goat herd? Want some goats to keep your invasive plants at bay? How about a few goats to take on hikes? We have what you’re looking for! Our goats are certified “Animal Welfare Approved,” registered through the American Dairy Goat Association AND super happy and healthy. Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll let you know what we have available.
Farm Open Hours
Enjoy some peace and tranquility at the farm this weekend. The farm is open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. You can visit with the goats, shop in the farm store “The Real Stand” or enjoy a cheese board with a glass of wine or beer or cup of gelato under the pavilion. We continue to welcome folks to shop, taste, order a cheese board, glass of wine or cup of gelato as we renovate our space.
As the summer progresses, we are planning to add regularly scheduled farm tours, tastings and other events featuring our fun-loving goats. We will be expanding our open hours as well.
Lots of folks are asking about our Farm Dinners! We are working on an abbreviated season, depending on availability of guest chefs. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as you’re able. This will make our communal dinners even safer! Thank you.