We were in Illinois this past weekend so we could have Chesney's 1st birthday party with family and for my graduate level written comprehensive exam at Eastern Illinois University. Matt and I drove seperately so we only needed to find someone to do chores for Sunday. (One of the hardest parts of having the farm so far from family and friends is finding someone willing to come twice a day to milk so we can take trips all together.) On the way up, I stopped at Pheasant Hollow winery. We love their wine, especially the mix of blackberry and blueberry wine they call Black and Blue. Since the winery is only about a mile off of I-57 in downstate Illinois, it is a quick, easy stop. They didn't have anything new to try this time, so I just purchased the wine I had stopped for. I also asked about shipping, but they are not allowed to ship to Tennessee. (I was also told their wine is not carried in stores, then found it in Dave's Supermarket, Fairbury, IL, for a dollar cheaper per bottle...)
I had also planned to stop at some farm stores while in Illinois. We love visiting other people's farms and sharing ideas. However, Monday I found myself on a wild goose chase to find raw goat milk. Chesney had drank all we had brought, she doesn't drink enough breastmilk to meet all her fluid needs anymore, and the one time she had cows' milk she was colicky and didn't sleep for two days. The local supermarket sometimes carries fresh goat milk, but it is pasteurized and I didn't know how well our daughter would tolerate it. I was told a local dairy in Fairbury, Kilgus Farmstead, has goats and a new farm store, so I headed to their farm. Their country store was well stocked with various meats and cheeses, eggs, their (pasteurized) unhomonegized cows' milk (which we used to buy before we moved south...rich and tasty), and candy. The cutest candy had to have been fudge in the shape of a cow pie...looked just like one, too! I also found it interesting no one actually works in the store; prices are listed and an honor system is used, with phone numbers provided to call for questions. Luckily someone was there when I was there and I found out that, while they can order pasteurized goat milk from another dairy, their goats are meat goats. Since I was leaving the state the next day, I was on to the next farm.
I picked up my mom and headed to South Pork Ranch, Chatsworth, IL, owned by Keith Parrish and Donna O'Shaunessy. They recently opened their farm store, The Red Wattle, that I had planned to take my mom to. I knew they had raw cows' milk and was told they used to have a few dairy goats. Again, a no-go with the goats' milk. However, I got to smell the wonderful soaps I keep seeing on Donna's blog and get a little business advice about running a farm store from Keith. My mom was happy to pick up some organic beef liver and pork tongue. Keith was also able to suggest a couple more places to check for the milk. The suggestions will come in handy in the future, but it was time to head to a dress fitting for a friend's upcoming wedding, so we had to make due for about 24 hours with juice, water, and breastmilk.
Next time we are in Illinois we will take a fresh quart, a frozen quart, and call ahead to the farms Keith suggested. If the grandparents want to see us any longer than that, I guess someone will have to invest in a goat!