2019 Dinners on the Farm Series

The 2019 Dinner season features both new and returning guest chefs. We're so excited to host you all again to enjoy some of the finest hyper-local food in the Midwest. 

Book your tickets HERE!

May 25th Symphony of Spring-Chef Ann Swanson, Hendrick House, Urbana, IL

It has become a Prairie Fruits Farm tradition to kick off the dinner season with a spring lamb from Caveny Farm in Monticello. Paired with the early season offerings of vegetables and fruits, this meal orchestrates the freshest ingredients into a symphony of gustatory delights. 

Guest Chef Ann Swanson will showcase her culinary talents for this multi-course feast. Chef Swanson, a central Illinois native, began her culinary career while in high school in Monticello. She cut her culinary chops in South Carolina at “Garibaldi’s,” an upscale Italian restaurant and McCrady’s, Sean Brock’s (of PBS Series “Mind of a Chef” fame) southern style farm-to-table restaurant in Charleston SC. Ann returned to central IL in 2010, and helped Bacaro implement their “Market Mondays” farmers’ market inspired dinners. She currently manages the Hendrick House Farm and keeps her culinary skills honed with guest chef appearances.  $100/person, wine, beer & cocktails not included in price. SOLD OUT!

Menu

 Upon Arrival

- Hendrick House Radish with house-made Kilgus butter and olive dust
- One bite Caveny ground lamb meatballs with PFF yogurt and charred Cow Creek Farm ramps
- CIB baguette with PFFC chèvre and local strawberry jam with honey
 
First Course

Braised Caveny lamb flatbread with pistachio pesto, Cow Creek Farm pickled ramps, PFFC chèvre topped with Hendrick House arugula

 Second Course

Herbed marinated and grilled Caveny Lamb with Jimmy Red Corn Crooked Row Farm grit cake, CIB panzanella salad with local greens, asparagus and shaved PFFC moonglo

Third Course
 Composed PFF cheese course

Dessert

PFF Rhubarb & Cary's Garden of Eatin' Strawberry tarts with lemon cream gelato

June 22nd   Early Summer Bounty with Beer-Chefs Jordan and Aurora Coffey, American Harvest Eatery, Springfield, IL

Chefs Jordan and Aurora have been building a quiet revolution around local food in our state’s capitol. Their restaurant, American Harvest Eatery’s motto is “true to the season; true to the region.”  Their food embodies the finest of local- food driven cuisine-simple and elegant preparations that let the freshness of the ingredients shine.  This dinner will include beer pairings from Rolling Meadows Brewery just outside of  Springfield.  $100/person, includes beer pairings.

Menu with beer pairings

 upon arrival

lamb neck rillettes + minted favas + pickled chili + moonglo

feta brined chicken thigh + lemon + charred cucumber + yogurt

ricotta & radish tartine + strawberry +  thai basil + pink peppercorn

abes ale / springfield wheat  

course one

shaved beets & kohlrabi + lettuces + chevre custard  + voss pecans + white balsamic honey

blackberry sour  

course two

steak tartare + salsa verde + green onion & moonglo  pancake + cured egg  

ill ipa  

course three

porchetta +  zaatar spiced broccoli+ charred & pickled spring onion +  herbed green goddess + fried garlic

lincoln logger  

course four

lemon cornmeal cake + bruleed brie +  grilled strawberries + salted chamomile honey + gelato

honest brown

July 6th Summer Surprise Dinner with Chef Stephanie Izard, Girl and the Goat, Chicago, IL

It’s been a few years since Chef Stephanie has visited our farm.  Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and Girl and the Goat have a special bond, cemented with our mutual love of all things goat. Stephanie’s food empire just keeps growing, with flagship “Girl and the Goat,” Little Goat Diner, Duck Duck Goat, Little Goat and her latest venture “Tiny Goat” pop up dinners. Join us for a magical sultry summer evening and let her dazzle you with surprises of the season.  $125/person includes a special cocktail upon arrival. SOLD OUT

July 20th-Grill It! New England Style with Chefs Mark Hartstein and Leslie Bettridge, C-U Chefs Extraordinaire

Mid-summer produce will be boiling out from local farms and gardens this time of year. It will be hot! So, why not do the cooking outside? Chefs Mark Hartstein & Leslie Bettridge will draw on their love of New England fare and craft a New England style BBQ feast--a farm take on "surf and turf."  How about lobster roll and local bison sausages? How about a heritage corn Indian pudding with a scoop of gelato for dessert?  $100/person (exclusive of alcoholic beverages). 

Planned Menu

Upon Arrival  

Blueberry shrub cocktail  

Relish board: Deviled eggs, chicken liver mousse, giardiniera  

First  

Brown bread, pff chèvre, roasted corn, Delight Flower Farm herbs 

Pickled watermelon, pff feta, bachelor buttons  

Main

Lobster rolls, Japanese-style mayo new potato salad with masago

Harden Ranch bison sausage, peppers, onions, soffrito  

Dessert

Funks grove heritage corn Indian pudding, pff gelato, funks grove maple sirup

August 3rd We Love España with Chefs of Sunday Dinner Club-Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Chicago, IL

The fun-loving chef team of Sunday Dinner Club (SDC)-Honey Butter Fried Chicken—Josh, Christine and Alex—return to the farm for a hot and savory summer feast inspired by the cuisine of Spain.  Our typically hot and dry days of August will set the stage for a multitude of fiery and savory dishes. Think summer veggie-spiked dishes, including the SDC cult favorite rossejat fideos, plus a few tapas, and lots of garlic, olive oil, and pimenton. $100/person, does not include wine or beer.

August 18th A Lamb’s tale: Sunday afternoon dinner with Jake Chappell-Chef of Vincent, Chicago, IL

Chef Chappell, Chef de Cuisine at Vincent (and former Sous Chef at Found, Evanston under the tutelage of Chef Nicole Pederson) will craft a multi-course meal featuring a whole lamb from Catalpa Grove Farm in Dwight, IL. Trent and Jackie Sparrow raise goats, sheep and hogs on their small diversified farm in central Illinois. Chef Chappell will pay homage to one of their beautiful pasture-raised lambs, and the farmers will join our guests to spin some lamb tales.  This will be a Sunday afternoon dinner (1-4 pm) $80/person (exclusive of alcoholic beverages).

August 31st  Follow the Milk with Chef Raquel Ritz, Feast Catering, Champaign, IL

Milk is the lifeblood of our farm. This special meal will be a take on our traditional “100 Yard Dinner,” in which we craft a multi-course menu with over 95% of the ingredients grown or raised on the farm.  Chef Ritz will design a multi-course, small-plates dinner, with each course featuring our goat milk.  This is sure to be a fun and creative culinary event. Don’t miss it! $100/person (alcoholic beverages extra).

September 14th Fall for your veggies with Chef Dan Compton, Vie Restaurant, Western Springs, IL

Early fall embodies the collision of summer vegetables with those of fall. Chef Dan Compton returns to the farm to prepare a multi-course all vegetarian meal, inspired by the diversity of the season. Chef Dan has been the Chef de Cuisine of Paul Virant’s fine dining, hyper-local food establishment for several years, and his cuisine reflects the team’s commitment to embracing seasonality and supporting many local farms.  $80/person, includes a special cocktail upon arrival. 

September 21st The French-Midwest Connection with Chef Eric Damidot, Executive Chef of NoMI, Park Hyatt, Chicago, IL

NoMI Restaurant, atop the Park Hyatt Hotel off the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, is situated in the heart of the urban jungle. Nonetheless, their chefs have found a way to feature farm-fresh ingredients from many of the farms who frequent the city’s farmers’ markets. Chef Damidot grounds his seasonal and farm-based menu in his French culinary heritage. He will craft a multi-course meal weaving in our cheeses and the best of our local farmer friends’ fall harvests. $100/person (does not include alcoholic beverages).

September 28th Baja in the Midwest Wine Dinner with Chef Andres Padilla, Frontera Grill-Topolobampo-Leña Brava, Chicago IL

Andres Padilla holds the title of Chef de Cuisine at Topolobampo, recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s 2017 “Outstanding Restaurant” Award. Under the tutelage and mentorship of Master Chef Rick Bayless, Chef Andres follows in the tradition of melding local ingredients with ancient Mexican food traditions.  He returns to the farm to feature the foods of the Baja Peninsula region of Mexico.  Each course will be paired with a wine from the breath-taking Valle de Guadalupe vineyards and wineries.  $130/person includes food & wine pairings and a special cocktail upon arrival. SOLD OUT!

October 12th All Things Fermented with Chef Dan Compton, Vie Restaurant, Western Springs IL.

Founder and Executive Chef of Vie, Paul Virant, is known locally and affectionately as the pickle man of Chicago.  If it can be pickled or fermented, he will do it. Chef Dan, Vie’s Chef de Cuisine, has learned well from his mentor Paul, and takes on the lion’s share of preserving the seasons’ bounty through fermentation.  This multi-course meal will open your awareness to the many ways that peak season ingredients can be preserved through fermentation.  Each course will be paired with a local micro-brew or cider (they’re fermented too!). $100/person includes food and beer/cider pairings.

October 26th We love pumpkins and squash! Chef Raquel Ritz with The Great Pumpkin Patch

We’re bringing back this popular dinner theme, featuring the myriad varieties of edible pumpkins and squashes grown at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL.  This is a multi-course dinner showcases different pumpkin or squash varieties in each course.  Farm Owner, Mac Condill, will dine with us and regale our guests with the back stories behind these marvelous vegetables. $100/person (exclusive of alcoholic beverages).

November 10th Sunday Dinner with Vicia, Tara and Michael Gallina, Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis, Mo.

We welcome Vicia to the farm in late fall, for their debut farm dinner at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. The restaurant’s name is derived from the plant genus Vicia, or vetch, an important cover crop used to restore soil health on many organic vegetable farms. Vicia, a 2018 James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant,” celebrates vegetable-forward cuisine, shining a light on beloved and often underutilized vegetables. Chef Owner Michael Gallina spent four years as chef de cuisine at Dan Barber’s farm and restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County, New York, an experience that instilled a reverence for vegetables.  This will be a Sunday afternoon dinner (1-4 pm). $80/person (exclusive of alcoholic beverages).

December 7th Whole Hog Meets Microbrews: A Holiday Affair

Urbana Chefs Mark Hartstein (aka Shades) and Leslie Bettridge will prepare a holiday feast featuring a heritage pig from Bane Family Meats. Each course will be paired with a seasonal micro-brew from Triptych Brewery, Savoy, IL. Let’s ring out the end of the season in style with local food and local brews. I can’t think of a better to celebrate the holiday season. $100/person includes beer pairings.