What's Happening on the Farm

Fall Harvest Update

The chill of fall is in the air, and we are wrapping up our harvest once again. As we detailed in our newsletter last fall, harvest time is a big push for the whole family each September and October, involving long hours and lots of big equipment and machinery. It is always very satisfying to complete! This year, weather extremes have provided some challenges including lower yields (due to seven full weeks without rain this summer) and then wet, muddy conditions interrupting harvest in September. Still, we're glad to be done and are optimistic that we will have enough for all our animals' winter feed needs. 

The drought-like conditions in July and August meant that we had a shortage of green pasture and we had to supplement our dairy cows' summer diets with fresh corn silage and hay from our land. After finally receiving some much-needed rain in September, our pastures greened up again late in the season. Our cows were happy to return to eating fresh grasses in the pasture, and they still have a little longer to enjoy green grass this fall before we move them into the warmth of our compost-bedded barn for the winter.

Regardless of the unpredictability of the weather, we are always working to maintain a high-quality diet for all of our animals to keep them happy and ensure consistency in the high-quality products our customers expect. We won't let them (or you) down!

Tour Season Draws to a Close

Our tour season has also just wrapped up for the year. We had a great time meeting people from all over the state and hosting over 1000 individuals on the farm this season! 

In July, we had a group visit Kilgus Farmstead as part of the 21st International Conference of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau. The U.S. is the home of the largest and fastest-growing population of Jersey cattle in the world, and this conference brought together individuals from over 20 countries to learn from one another. We were honored to be featured as a stop on this tour of international visitors, always happy to share our knowledge with others who are producing and marketing Jersey milk or considering entering into the Jersey business.

Thanks to all those who visited from near and far, and if you haven't had the chance to tour Kilgus Farmstead yet, there will be more opportunities next spring. We release our spring tour schedule in March, so check back then for more details.

State and National Dairy Shows - 2018

As many of you know, showing dairy cattle is a longstanding Kilgus family tradition.  Each year there are opportunities on the local, state and national level to show our Jerseys, and we continue to participate in these events to validate the quality of our dairy cows. And, as you can see from the State Fair photo above, this is a multi-generational activity that is enjoyed by all!

In August, Trent and Carla Kilgus showed about a dozen of our Jersey dairy cows at the Illinois State Fair. They earned numerous awards including six 1st place ribbons and seven 2nd place ribbons in various classes and categories. Kilgus Dairy also earned the designation of Premier Breeder & Exhibitor of the Illinois State Fair Jersey Show, which is quite an honor!

In November, Trent will again bring our Jerseys all the way to Louisville, Kentucky for the national North American Livestock Expo. If you're curious to see how we rate at this upcoming show, you can watch the live stream of the competition here, starting at 7:30 am on Monday, November 5th. Kilgus Dairy has consistently ranked in the top half of the class at the national expo, and that continues to be our goal this year!

Customer Spotlight - Pottstown Meat and Deli

Pottstown Meat and Deli, located in Peoria, Illinois, is a long-time, loyal Kilgus supporter. Like our family farm, Pottstown Meat and Deli has been exclusively family-owned for four generations. Through this longstanding commitment to serving the local area, the Barth family has gained a strong sense of their customers' preferences and are continuously adapting their business model to meet these needs.  

The current owners, Katie and Bob Barth, and their son, Jason, are devoted to supporting local Midwest farms and providing Central Illinois customers with local products and quality hand-cut meats. They began carrying Kilgus milk shortly after we began bottling it, nearly ten years ago. Bob Barth notes that they've always valued doing things the old-fashioned way -- so when fresh, local, farmstead milk became available through Kilgus Farmstead, it was a natural fit for their store, and they were eager to jump on the opportunity to provide it to their customers.  

Shortly after, when we began selling Kilgus Farmstead meat, they jumped on that opportunity, too. Bob notes that their customers want to know where their food comes from and that they appreciate getting milk and meat produced this close to home. When it comes to meat, Pottstown Meat and Deli provides the link between the farm and your table, cutting all of their product down behind the counter (rather than behind closed doors), engaging customers in the process, providing education, and getting input about each custom cut. 

Bob Barth says that they are extremely proud to carry Kilgus products and that they couldn't do better in terms of providing their customers with local options for milk and meat unless they were able to do it themselves. But given all of the other products and services they already provide on-site, they'll likely be leaving the farming to us! And other local producers, too, of course.

In addition to providing fresh meats, Pottstown Meat and Deli also offers a whole lot more, including:  exceptionally high-quality, small-batch, house-smoked meats; a full-service deli (featuring house-made roast beef, Italian and corned beef, and salamis); ready-to-eat freezer meals; catering services; their own line of gourmet sauces, marinades, dressings, and seasonings; and an assortment of other specialty products including wine and craft beers.
If you need a quick weekday evening meal, Pottstown Meat and Deli has started offering a variety of freezer meals: they include barbeque chicken, turkey, or pork (the latter often featuring Kilgus pork); chopped brisket; Italian beef; Sloppy-Joes; and swiss steak (often featuring Kilgus beef). All of these options are cooked on-site, frozen, and then available ready to heat and eat for a quick and easy meal. Each comes in family-size packaging, but you can pre-order larger quantities if that's what you need. The addition of freezer meals to their product line is one example of Pottstown's responsiveness to their customers and how they've adapted to meet the changing needs of their clientele.

With the holidays quickly approaching, Pottstown Meat and Deli has a variety of fresh meats and prepared foods ready for your holiday meals. 

If you're interested in a fresh, free-range, locally-raised turkey to bake for your Thanksgiving feast, Pottstown has them available, sourced from an Amish farm in Arcola, Illinois. These turkeys range in size from 12 to 26 pounds, and Pottstown's staff can help you decide what size you need depending on the size of your group and how many leftovers you want. These birds are very popular, so you may want to call in advance to place your order.

If you're more interested in purchasing food that's ready to heat and eat for your holiday guests, Pottstown has a variety of options available. They include house-made stuffing; bone-in hams (halves or wholes); spiral cut hams; or sliced, panned and glazed hams that come in a foil pan ready to heat, complete with heating instructions.

Or, maybe you'd rather purchase a Kilgus Farmstead brisket or beef roast and use one of the recipes provided later in this newsletter!

Whether you decide to try Pottstown Meat and Deli for your holiday meal needs, hire their team to cater an event, or stop in for lunch at the deli or to pick up ingredients for making dinner at home, you can expect excellent customer service and quality food. Pottstown Meat and Deli gets rave reviews from their customers, many of whom have frequented the store since their childhoods. They cite customer service, quality meats, delicious food, and a friendly atmosphere as things they love about Pottstown.

And remember, you can always pick up Kilgus Farmstead meat and milk products at Pottstown Meat and Deli! If you have any questions about our cuts of meat or are looking for additional recipe ideas, they're great folks to ask.

When you support their family business, you support ours as well. If you're in the Peoria area, we hope you'll stop by to check out Pottstown Meat and Deli!

New Products: Available Only in Our Country Store

We're excited to announce more new Kilgus Farmstead products in our country store! Now when you visit our store in Fairbury, in addition to our dairy products and frozen meat, you can also get beef sticks, summer sausage, and beef jerky. 

If you love the quality of our delicious Jersey beef and want it in a convenient snackable form that you can eat on the go, then these new products are just the thing for you. Your options include traditional beef jerky; original or jalapeno cheddar flavored summer sausage; and beef sticks in a variety of flavors including original, barbeque, tropical, jalapeno, cheddar, and Cajun.

Beef Roasts Available, Too!

While you're in the store, we also have a good supply of beef roasts for you to choose from right now. Whether you prefer brisket, arm, chuck, round, sirloin, tip, or rump roasts, we've got it for you. These roasts are perfect for a hearty, warming meal as the weather cools and can be cooked in the crockpot or oven -- whatever suits your needs. See recipes below!

Get Your Beef House Rolls for the Holidays!

If you're a regular newsletter reader, then you'll know how much we love these yummy rolls from Beef House Restaurant in Covington, Indiana and that we stock them in our country store each holiday season.

They are sold by the dozen ($8.00 each) and we'll have them in stock by early November and will do our best to have them available through Christmas. We do take special orders, so if you know you want them for Thanksgiving now, your best bet would be to call or email and reserve a dozen or more so that we're sure to have them for you. Last year we sold over 120 dozen and still ran out!

Keep in mind that these rolls do take a day to rise before baking, so plan accordingly for your holiday meals. They're worth the wait! 

Brisket & Beef Roast Recipe Ideas

We have a plentiful supply of beef roasts in our country store, just in time for slow cooking on a cold fall day. Brisket is one of the cuts we have available that may be less familiar to you, so we thought we'd provide you with a little more information, some recipe ideas and a little encouragement to give it a try.

Brisket is a tougher cut of meat, similar to a rump roast, but slow cooking it brings out its flavor and tenderness and our family loves it! 

Whether you prefer using a crockpot or the oven, we've got a couple of options for you to choose from for slow cooking brisket.

Slow Cooker Brisket and Onions: This recipe includes minimal prep time before it's ready to leave in the slow cooker. First, sear the roast and caramelize 1 1/2 pounds of onions (sliced only in half) on your stove top. Then, season the roast with salt & pepper and mix a simple sauce of broth, tamari/soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Put everything in the crockpot and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. For the most tender end result, aim for the longer cooking time and shred your beef. 

Barbeque Beef Brisket (or Roast Beef) 
Note: This is one of our family favorites. You can either follow the instructions for oven roasting below or simplify the recipe by rubbing the roast, combining all other ingredients in your crockpot, and cooking on low for 8 hours. In this version, you'll want to shred the roast instead of slicing it. It's delicious either way!

6 lb beef brisket or beef roast. We recommend Kilgus Farmstead brisket, sirloin tip roast, or chuck roast.
1/2 cup bbq spice rub. We recommend Pottstown BBQ Rub found at Kilgus Farmstead Country Store.
4 cups water
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Rub the brisket or roast generously with spice blend, cover and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the beef, fat cap up, in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup water to the pan and roast the beef uncovered for 1 hour.
In a medium bowl, combine the coffee, brown sugar, pepper to taste, 3 cups hot water and the cider vinegar.
Remove the beef from the oven, pour the coffee mixture over the beef, cover with foil and braise until beef reaches an internal temperature of 185 and is fork tender, about 3 hours (2 to 2 1/2 hours if using Jersey beef). Remove to a carving board to let rest.
Cook the braising liquid in the roasting pan on the stove top, skimming fat and allowing to reduce just slightly or to desired consistency. Thinly slice the beef across the grain. Enjoy!  

However you choose to prepare it, we hope you'll enjoy a beef roast from Kilgus Farmstead this fall. You can buy it in our country store or through a select few retail partners in central Illinois or the Chicago area. 
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