Four weeks ago today I was eating cheese and petting goats on a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon in central Illinois.
I’ve written here before about Marcel’s Culinary Experience, the culinary retail store and cooking school my childhood friend Jill Foucré opened in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The success of Marcel’s inspired her to open Marché, an amazing little cheese shop (gourmet foods and wine, too) right down the street from Marcel’s, and last month Marché offered a bus trip to Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery in Urbana, Illinois.
Jill was going , we could catch up with each other during the bus rides, the all-day trip included breakfast on the bus, locally-sourced lunch when we got there, and a guided tour of the farm. Bonus: if we bought any goat cheese while we were there, we could snack on it on the bus ride home. Paired with wine, of course – that was courtesy of Marché.
How could I say no?
Mike was out of town that weekend, so Seeing Eye dog Whitney came along to guide me on and off the bus. I took Whitney’s harness off during the bus ride, and once she was “off the clock” she immediately befriended the girl in the seat behind us. Sydney was there with her mom, and this sweet spunky kid provided Whitney with belly rubs for the entire two-and-a-half hour ride.
Our dear friend Nancy Bolero lives in Urbana, and we arranged ahead of time to have her meet us at the nearby farm to take Whit home to play with her dog, Doug. I wasn’t sure what Whitney the urban Seeing Eye dog would make of the goats during the tour, and vice-versa! When young Sydney saw Nancy taking Whitney away for a doggie-date, she offered to be my sighted guide. Here’s Sydney with a guest post about our day.
by Sydney Schrader
The day I went to the goat farm, I made a friend… or two. The thing that drew me to Beth Finke was her dog, Whitney.
I first saw them on the bus ride there. Whitney curled up next to me, I petted her and scratched her.
When we arrived at the farm, Whitney left so that left me to lead Beth. She would grab my arm and I would walk, her footsteps following mine.
We petted goats and saw caterpillars. We even saw (heard) how goats are milked to make dairy. The food was incredible and we even got to take some home. That day on the farm was a great day.
Agreed! Sydney was an excellent guide, even thinking to place the caterpillar ever so gently in my palm so I would understand how big he was. We have stayed in touch since our farm visit, and she is now in the throes of a magazine drive for her school. The drive ends this week, and when she asked if I’d place an order I had to remind her I can’t read print. “Oh, yeah!” she said. “But I only need seven more orders to win!” The prize? “I get to skip school and go to Top Golf with a bunch of people from my school”
Isn’t that truancy? Oh, well. Sydney and I made a deal. If she could come up with a guest post about our day on the farm that I could publish on the Safe & Sound blog I’d mention her magazine drive. Sydney came through, and included a pitch. So at risk of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, here goes with what Sydney told me to tell you all:
Say Sydney needs help with a magazine drive at her school for new school supplies. Make sure to buy a magazine or two from her at www.apmags.com. The code is PVG387CX.
To read more about Beth and her writings at www.bethfinke.com.