Summer on the Farm at Kilgus Farmstead
Summer is officially here! Our spring flowers are long gone and our summer roses and lilies are in full bloom outside the country store. Our corn is all planted and will be at least knee-high by the Fourth of July, meaning that as long as all goes well for the rest of the season, we'll have happy, well-fed animals all through the winter, too.   

All of the Kilgus kids are at home, helping out around the farm and working with their show animals to prepare for all the summer fairs: 4-H, Fairbury, and State. We're all staying busy mowing, keeping up with yard work, leading tours, and trying to cover for each other so that we can all take much-needed family vacations. With a lot of work comes a little bit of play, too!
Summertime Milk from Pasture-Grazed Cows
Our Jersey cows have been enjoying grazing on lush, green pasture grasses for several months now. If you are a regular Kilgus Farmstead milk drinker, you may notice that at this time of year our milk and cream take on a slight yellow hue. This is a direct result of our cows' summertime diet, which includes green clover, rye, and orchard grasses straight from our pastures. The high level of beta-carotene and other key nutrients that the cows get from this nutritious grass-based diet shows up in our milk and, ultimately, these nutrients get passed on to you, the consumer. So, in addition to the deliciously rich flavor of our milk, you're also getting bonus nutritional benefits. If you're interested in learning more about how this works, this is one article that describes the benefits of drinking milk from grass-fed cows. At Kilgus Farmstead, this nutritional bonus is at its peak during summer and early fall months.

Customer Spotlight

Executive Chef, Stephanie Izard

If you want to try our goat meat prepared by an award winning chef, check out one of Chef Stephanie Izard’s three goat-centric restaurants in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood: Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat.

“But...why would I want to try goat?”, you might be asking yourself. Goat is a bit late to arrive on the food scene in the US, but it is the most popular meat worldwide. It’s a lean meat that requires slow-cooking or creative preparation to really bring out its delicious, unique flavor. If goat meat isn’t prepared well, or if it’s the wrong goat breed, or if its diet isn’t carefully controlled, it can be “gamey”. This is why some cultures cover up this flavor with curries or other spice-heavy sauces.  

But Chef Izard wanted to find local goat meat that was really good on its own and use it in many of the ways she would pork. She was inspired by her last name (“Izard” is another name for chamois -- a type of goat antelope found in the mountains of Europe) and ready to take on a new challenge after closing her first restaurant and winning Bravo’s Top Chef competition. So she and her business partners started trying goat from local farms and found that Kilgus Farmstead goat meat stood out above the rest. Chef Izard says that Kilgus Farmstead goat meat tastes “very clean and pure” and “does not have any of the gaminess that some goat has”. These attributes have made it possible to use Kilgus goat meat in a variety of creative ways, now in three different Chicago restaurants.

Girl & The Goat was the first of the trio to open and serves a “family style menu of tasty, bold flavored foods with global influence”. Goat dishes on the menu range from goat liver mousse to goat ribs to goat empanadas. Chef Izard says that if you’re feeling hesitant, then the empanadas are a little more “beginner friendly”.  She also says that "for folks who really want to taste the goat", she recommends whole necks and shanks or even mid-rare roasted loins. You can even call ahead and have whole goat legs prepared in advance for you -- these are cured, smoked, braised and then finished in the woodfire oven (a multi-day process!). Chef Izard says that these are “just awesome to see go out into the dining room!”. 

Little Goat, Izard's second goat-themed restaurant, is a diner and bakery across the street that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here you can order a Kilgus Goat Burger with your choice of toppings, ranging from the traditional (American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and onion) to the more unusual (Bahn mi style, including pickled veggie slaw, orange mayo, mint, and cilantro). You can also order Sloppy Goat (described as sloppy joe gone goat) with rosemary slaw, Goat Chili, or Goat Chili Cheese Fries. Little Goat also features their own freshly baked bread and pastries, a full coffee bar, and a creative, local twist on many breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites.  

Duck Duck Goat is Izard’s newest restaurant in town, serving what she calls “reasonably authentic” Chinese food. It’s only a few blocks away from the other restaurants with decor that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into Chinatown. There are many Chinese dishes with an Izard twist on this menu, but if it’s goat you seek then you’ll want to try the Goat and Duck Skin Springroll, Goat Belly Lo Mein, or Sichuan Eggplant & Goat Sausage.  

No matter which restaurant or dish you choose, we don’t think you can really go wrong. Given all the time, research, energy, skill, and labor that Chef Izard and her team have invested into adding goat to their local menus, not to mention all the accolades they’ve received, they clearly know how to prepare some of the tastiest goat meat around.

And as Chef Izard attests, Kilgus Farmstead goat meat is an important part of what makes these dishes taste so delicious. Our Boer goats are a heritage breed, selected for great meat quality for over a century, and they are fed a rich, controlled diet of our own homegrown non-GMO corn and grains.  

The pairing of our goats with Chef Stephanie Izard’s talent has led to great things. We hope you’ll give it a try the next time you’re in the West Loop neighborhood!

Summer Tours

Our tour season is in full swing. We've been busy showing the farm to lots of folks interested in learning about the way we do things here at Kilgus Farmstead. They've gotten to meet our animals, visit the barn and the milking parlor, and learn about our creamery and milk-bottling while viewing the whole operation through the window in our country store.

Visit our new and improved website to see a list of tour opportunities available for the rest of the summer. Tours last roughly an hour (or a little longer), cost $4 per person, and require a reservation.  A free ice cream cone is included in this cost, and you won't want to miss our seasonal soft-serve ice cream flavors from our NEW ice cream machine! You can learn more about our tours here.  Contact us or use our booking form to reserve your spot now!  
Meet the Kilgus Family
Young Paul Kilgus
Last winter we introduced you to our farm's founders: Duane and Arlene Kilgus. Today, we introduce you to the first in line in the next generation: Duane and Arlene's son Paul, and his wife, Carmen.

When a farming accident caused Duane to have to give up farming in 1989, Paul took over the dairy farm with his brother Jeff. Seeking a way to earn more income to preserve the family farm, the brothers grew the herd and transitioned from Holsteins to Jerseys. In 2009, after Paul's nephew, Matt Kilgus, became a partner in the business, the creamery was built and we began bottling milk. Kilgus Farmstead was born. 

Today Paul manages the dairy side of the family business, tending to the cows’ needs on a daily basis, making sure each animal is fed the right diet for optimal health, and taking great care to ensure the overall well-being of our cows. Paul is a steward of the land, going to great lengths throughout the year to produce high-quality non-GMO feed for our animals. He also spends a lot of time selecting high-quality genetics for our cows. Through all of his efforts, Paul continually shapes the core health of our herd, resulting in cows that give milk with higher amounts of butterfat and protein. This, in turn, plays an important role in the rich flavors found in our dairy products.

When she isn't caring for her growing extended family, Carmen spends time in the Kilgus Farmstead Country Store, greeting customers, providing product education, and handling meat orders and inventory management. She also leads the effort to keep the lawn and flower gardens outside our store looking beautiful and welcoming.  She is the Secretary for Kilgus Dairy and contributes part-time in the creamery.

Paul and Carmen’s adult sons, Justin and Trent, have also become partners and manage the farmstead meat side of the business (and between the two of them have added four grandchildren to the family in recent years!). Paul & Carmen's younger daughter, Carla, loves to help her brothers and Dad with chores whenever possible.

Paul & Carmen enjoy working on the farm with their children -- and now their grandchildren, also. When asked about the best part of life on the farm, Carmen says, “It is a real blessing to be able to work on the farm with our children. It really touches a mother’s heart when you can look out the window and you see your son with his little boy walking beside him holding his hand and I look forward to those days in the future to be able to see my other grandchildren do that with their father. I just really appreciate that and am thankful for the opportunity that we can see that in our family circle.”

Paul & Carmen Kilgus and Family

Grilling Season

Grilling season is here!  Did you know Kilgus Farmstead Country Store carries a wide variety of beef, pork, and goat meat ideal for grilling? We offer hamburgers, bacon burgers, brats, brat patties, pork burgers, pork chops and numerous cuts of steaks.

We even carry goat chops and goat burgers, so if you can't make it to Chef Stephanie Izard's restaurants, you might want to swing by our country store to get some goat meat for yourself. Here's one grilled goat chop recipe to get your creative culinary juices going for a little experimentation with goat meat at home!

Special Grilling Offer

This summer we are also offering special grilling packages at our store. For only $50 you can get a bundle that includes six of each of the following: hamburger patties, bacon burger patties, pork brats, and pork burgers. These grilling packages will be available for as long as supplies last, so come on in and get your grilling package before your Father's Day and Fourth of July festivities!

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Photography by Jankun Studio, Forrest, IL
Copyright © 2017 Kilgus Farmstead, All rights reserved.

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