Summer at Kilgus Farmstead

There has been an abundance of new life on the farm this spring and early summer, including many animal babies, the sprouting of all our crop seedlings, and even two new additions to the Kilgus Family! We are happy to announce that two beautiful baby boys were born into the Kilgus clan: Nolan Matthew, son of Trent and Kayla, and Talin Duane, son of Justin and Kaylee. Read Meet the Kilgus Family below for an introduction to brothers Justin and Trent, the youngest generation of Kilgus partners, and their families. 

Summer Farm Tours

Our farm tours are in full swing and you can check our website for remaining dates available. You’ll notice that our public tour schedule is a bit more limited this year, as our kids are getting older and have more activities that require our involvement. They need us for transportation and support, and we enjoy cheering them on in their endeavors! While we love sharing the farm, we’re doing it just a bit less (for now) while we prioritize our kids in the fleeting time we have with them. So, while we won’t be adding any more public tours, if you have a group or an organization that would like a tour, contact us and we’ll find a date that works. We'll do our best to meet all needs!

Celebrating June Dairy Month

Despite the heat, we had a record number of guests at our Breakfast on the Farm event earlier this month; we served 813 breakfasts and provided more tours than ever before. Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy a day on the farm in support of our Livingston County food pantries!  

Free Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone at our Country Store!

To continue celebrating June Dairy Month, Compeer Financial is sponsoring an event at Kilgus Farmstead Country Store this Friday, June 29th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. To demonstrate their appreciation for dairy farmers, they will be providing a free soft serve ice cream cone to anyone who attends.  Come on in for a free ice cream cone and peruse our selection of local goods!

Customer Spotlight

Red Bicycle Ice Cream

We’ve had many customer requests for Kilgus Farmstead ice cream but other than the soft serve machine in our country store, have not been able to fulfill that request – until now.
Red Bicycle Ice Cream, located in Urbana, Illinois, has partnered with Kilgus Farmstead to use milk from our cows to make their own farm-fresh, high-quality, hand-crafted premium ice cream. The freshness of this ice cream shouldn't be understated -- we milk our cows on Wednesday, pasteurize our milk and mix it with cream and stabilizers in our creamery, and deliver it directly to Red Bicycle on Friday. There, it is received by Ed Mehnert, the owner, ice cream maker, and visionary behind Red Bicycle Ice Cream. Ed prepares all of his more complicated ingredients on Friday, pureeing fruits and making tea extracts, and then makes ice cream by hand in small batches on Saturday and Monday, with ice cream ready for customers to enjoy only days later. This ice cream is truly as fresh as it gets!

Red Bicycle opened its ice cream shop in southeast Urbana last summer and customers have been raving about the quality and the flavors since. In addition to local dairy products from Kilgus Farmstead, Red Bicycle also sources other local, farm-fresh ingredients whenever possible, including local fruit, honey, goat cheese, and even pecans (from Oklahoma). Ed has a team of taste testers that includes both kids and adults; they try new flavors and ingredients and help him pick which taste the best. Ed says that it's the quality ingredients he sources that sets his premium ice cream apart and makes it worth a drive across town.

There are currently over 15 flavors available on their menu, including traditional favorites like Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Cream and Cookies, along with more innovative creations like Dark, Dark Chocolate (includes espresso), Agatha Christie (a mystery in every scoop), Ginger Snap, Peach, Lemon Crunch, Earl Gray, Blue Goat (local goat cheese and blueberry), and Peanut Butter and Jelly. The goal is to have something for everyone to enjoy, from the youngest kiddos to adults who are craving something a little more complex. New flavors are always in the works (Lavender Honey will be coming soon, with award-winning local honey from Curtis Orchard) and the menu rotates, so visit the Red Bicycle Facebook page to see what they’re serving today.

Red Bicycle's ice cream shop is open seasonally, beginning with weekends in April. Then, during May through September, it's open 12 pm - 9 pm, six days per week (closed Mondays so that Ed has one day without distraction to focus on making ice cream in their small kitchen space). 

In addition to ice cream, you can also get other goodies at Red Bicycle's shop in Urbana including freshly made waffle cones, vegan gelato, sorbet, sundaes, milkshakes, cold-brew coffee, smoothies and baked goods. On weekends, you can get a Brownie A La Mode, which includes a chewy brownie from Central Illinois Bakehouse and a scoop of any ice cream flavor of your choice. 

If you want to bring Red Bicycle Ice Cream home, you can purchase a quart to-go from the ice cream shop, or you can also find quarts of Red Bicycle Ice Cream at Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana or at CompleteCare Pharmacy in Champaign; more local retail stores and restaurants will carry Red Bicycle Ice Cream in the future.

And, if you're interested in supporting local business and family farms at your wedding or special event, ice cream is available in bulk, too. Just contact Ed, and he'll be happy to help.

We're grateful to have Red Bicycle Ice Cream as a partner. The pairing of our rich, high-quality milk with Ed's skill and creativity as an ice cream maker has produced a premium ice cream product that is bringing happiness to many people -- and it feels good to be a part of spreading that joy.  Next time you're looking to savor a sweet treat, we hope you'll give Red Bicycle Ice Cream a try!

Update on DESTIHL Spotlight

We’re excited to announce that Kilgus Farmstead Berkshire pork is now included on DESTIHL’s regular menu at both the Normal and Champaign locations!  Now when you order a Cuban-style pork sandwich (one of Chef Jacob’s favorites), skillet nachos, Hawaiian breakfast, or nearly anything else that includes pork, you’ll also be supporting Kilgus Farmstead. Thanks to DESTIHL for supporting our family farm by purchasing our milk, cream, and now, pork!

Grilling Season - Flavored Brats

Grilling season is here and we have a new product to share: a variety of flavored brats! Flavor combinations include jalapeno cheddar, portabella mushroom, bacon and cheddar, apple, Cajun, and Jamaican jerk.

We initially sampled our new brats at the Good Food Festival in Chicago and got great feedback there. We've also sampled this product for some of our restaurant and retail customers and we've received a lot of interest. 

For the time being, these brats are only available at our country store in Fairbury, but we hope to expand their availability in the future. Come on in to the country store and give them a try for your next cookout!
Paul and Carmen Kilgus and Family

Meet the Kilgus Family

Justin and Trent Kilgus are the sons of Paul and Carmen, and the youngest generation to join the family business.

While each has worked on the family dairy farm their whole lives, they have also helped expand and diversify the farm with the addition of farmstead meats to our product line. In their youth, Justin and Trent began raising goats for 4-H in response to learning about the growing demand for goat meat in Chicago restaurants. They applied for and received a grant from the Frontera Farmer Foundation, used it to build a large permanent hoop structure for their goats, and began supplying goat meat to Chicago restaurants. At that time, none of us could have anticipated how successful this hobby venture would become, but demand for Kilgus goat meat grew rapidly.
With the initial success of the goat meat business, along with all of the relationships developed with chefs, Justin had an interest in raising hogs and steers to develop a complete line of farmstead meats to supplement our dairy products. Both he and Trent were realizing that they had an interest in the family business for the long-term, so we began many long family discussions about how we could expand to include the next generation and continue to grow sustainably. In 2015, after much careful thought and planning, Justin and Trent committed to ownership in the farm, we added the line of farmstead meats, and we became Kilgus Farmstead.  
Justin now manages the wholesale meat division of Kilgus Farmstead, which includes sales of our Jersey beef, Berkshire pork, and Boer goat meat to a variety of well-known restaurants in Chicago and central Illinois. Justin also assists at the creamery with milk bottling.
While Trent enjoyed establishing the goat meat business with Justin, he has always remained more interested in the dairy side of the business. Trent is passionate about the health and well-being of our cows and manages the feed and care of our dairy herd. He also works closely with his dad, Paul, to maintain the genetics of our herd. Trent also leads our involvement with local and national dairy shows, which is an important way for us to validate the quality of our dairy cows. 
Since joining the business, both Justin and Trent have married and become fathers. Justin and Kaylee now have four children: Andrew (5); Kate (4), Aiden (3) and, most recently, Talin (2 months). Kaylee and the kids enjoy helping to care for the newborn goat kids, which are raised on their farm. 
Justin & Kaylee Kilgus and Family
Talin Duane Kilgus
Trent and Kayla have two sons: Ryker (2 1/2) and now, also, their newborn, Nolan (3 months). Trent enjoys teaching Ryker about how to care for the cows and it won't be long before Nolan will be included, too. Kayla is a busy mom, working full-time off the farm, but she also milks cows and travels to dairy shows with Trent when she is able.
Trent & Kayla Kilgus and Family
We value the contributions of Justin and Trent and their families tremendously and we are hopeful that, together, we are building a business that will provide opportunities on the family farm for the next generation of little ones, as well.

A Local Taste

On Saturday, August 4th, the town of Fairbury is hosting an event called A Local Taste to celebrate area agricultural businesses. The event will be held in downtown Fairbury, Illinois at the Sunken Park from 11 am - 3 pm and will include a farmer's market, food vendors, children's activities and entertainment. Look for us there!
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Photography by Jankun Studio, Forrest, IL
Copyright © 2018 Kilgus Farmstead, All rights reserved.

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