The purple martins have been prolific this year. From our vantage points on the ground, it looks like they fledged at least three or four young each, exploding our resident population from 12 birds in the spring to well over 36. Their fecundity has made evening roosting decisions in the martin house akin to musical chairs. During the warm summer days in August, they disappear into the skies; no doubt gorging on mosquitoes, dragon flies and an occasional butterfly (have no fear, we have lots of butterflies this year too-black swallowtail, yellow swallowtail and monarch to name a few).
As the sun sinks slowly into the western sky each evening, they suddenly reappear over the pond, swooping and soaring in unison, picking off evening insects before bedtime. Their clicks and whistles remind me of dolphins; communal and familial, their need to check in is constant. One of these days, they won’t return to their house. While we don’t know where they go to ride out the winter, we will keep their house clean and ready for their return in the spring.
Victory Cheese-Choose it OR lose it!—GIRLS AND THE GOATS TO VICTORY
We’re SOO excited about our newest Victory Cheese Box collaboration with grass-fed, raw cows’ milk cheeses from Jacobs & Brichford, bloomy rind cheeses from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and accompaniments by Chef Stephanie Izard and her “Girl & the Goat-ceries” team. This DELUXE box features two cheeses from each farmstead creamery, house-made crackers, several kinds of pickles, jam and mixed nuts. Sales are now live on our online store. You can either pick up your box at the farm on Saturdays OR Sundays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped. We are limiting sales to 50 boxes this week, but more will be on offer in the coming weeks.
Psst: We still have a few more of the Rick Bayless Victory Cheese Boxes available if you want to order one of those as well, both with and without the signed cookbook. You can start a collection of Victory Cheese Boxes from PFFC!
Urbana’s Market at the Square-Come early, shop often
The Urbana farmers’ market is at near peak abundance right now. We are especially excited with the arrival of melons—cantaloupe, musk, honey dew types, and Wes’ favorite, watermelon. Our cheeses pair beautifully with melons. Try a wedge of one of our bloomy rind cheeses with cubes of sweet honey-dew type melon with shredded mint leaves. How about a watermelon-feta salad with fresh basil!
The Urbana Market has COVID-19 related restrictions. They require social distancing, and both patrons and farmers must wear masks at all times. We have a Square card reader set up for you to swipe your card for payment. If you bring cash, we will give you change (and sanitize our hands between transactions). Gelato pints are ONLY available through online farm store sales/farm pick up.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
Seasonal chevre flavor of the week: Jalapeño Crunch. We love to feature ingredients from other farmers, and this week’s chevre has fresh, chopped jalapeño peppers from Blue Moon Farm $9/each
Angel Food: our “crottin” style bloomy-petite but loaded with delicious goat tang! Very young but firm enough to cut into wedges$9/each
Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert-style bloomy; aging nicely $11/each
Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy; aging nicely with a slight gooey layer $10/each
Fleur du la Prairie-bloomy rind cheese adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers; beautiful AND delicious; try with a wedge of honey dew melon $11/each
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture-PERFECT for salad season, especially a feta-watermelon salad! $7/each
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge-consider shaving this cheese over grilled zucchini or eggplant! Shave it on a salad of greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over sliced tomatoes and broil them in the oven.
Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person, you can order online for shipping. We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week. There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.
Farm Open Hours and Offerings this Summer
If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. You can order online by 10 AM Saturday for Farm Pick-Up between 1-4 pm. Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY-new flavors this week include Vanilla, Fresh Mint, Anise Hyssop, and Nectarine Sorbetto (made with Mileur Orchard Nectarines). We’re making more gelato this weekend, so stay tuned for new flavors for the online store and in-person store too!
New items in the online farm store (and in the farm shop “The Real Stand”):
**Raw Milk! Yes, finally, we have a permit from the Illinois Department of Public Health to sell our raw milk. You can either order online (for Saturday Pickup, 1-4 pm) OR come out to the farm on Sundays, from 1-4. We’re selling milk in half gallon jugs for $9 (competitively priced compared to conventional goat milk found in the grocery store).
**”Wash Your Hands! In Style”—new gift item (or just buy it for yourself!) featuring goat milk soaps made exclusively for us by the Wright Soapery. We’re offering a large bar of goat milk soap (tea tree oil, lemongrass, fresh mint or chamomile-oatmeal) with a “Three Chippys” tea towel for $15.
We will be open this Sunday afternoon, August 16th to visitors, with some restrictions. From 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato or a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages under our pavilion, visit with the goats (no petting, just viewing) and just enjoy the rural outdoors. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm. We’ll be featuring ALL OF OUR CHEESES, as well as lots of great PFFC “merch” for sale during open hours.
We’re offering a gelato sundae bar with various flavors of gelato and several house-made toppings.
If you want something more substantial, ask our friendly staff for cheese board and wine/beer pairings recommendations.
Picture yourself (with family or friends) enjoying one of these cheese boards!
Regarding farm dinners and farm tours, they are on hold until we feel that we can host them safely and in the spirit of our normal farm conviviality. We hope things will be better in the fall, and if so, we plan to schedule a couple of special cheese tastings and farm dinner events then. Regarding our orchard, sadly, there is not be enough fruit for u-pick this year.