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The island got bigger and other farm news

Farm News

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:

  • Fresh chevre