News

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Posted 8/15/2019 10:15pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The moonglow pear, one of the remaining two varieties in our orchard, has been good to us this year. She has blessed us with bows laden with fruit, some so high, it required a fruit ladder to harvest them.  She has provided for us a bounty of pears, the likes of which we haven’t seen in the 15 years of the orchard’s life. It is hard to produce a pear in this country.

For the fruit-o-philes of central Illinois, nature is frequently cruel.  If the winter doesn’t kill the flower buds, a late spring freeze usually does. If the flower buds survive, they might burst open their reproductive parts at a time that the pollinators are flying.  The bees might be strategic enough to transfer pollen from the seckel pear's stamen to the stigma of the moonglow pear flower, setting in motion the formation of a fruit. 

The nascent fruit must withstand the assaults of violent thunderstorms, fungal rots and insect piercings to grow to a size fit for harvest.  In spite of our seemingly endless winter and excessively wet spring, the pears persevered.  The saturated soils must have provided ample moisture for the trees to imbibe, coaxing the fruits to swell. The hot and dry summer must have concentrated the fruit’s sugars, finishing them for ripening, blemishes and all.

The pear is an understated fruit.  Next to the unctuous yellow-orange flesh of the peach or the crisp sweet-tart red & white of the apple, the green-brown mottled skin and the juicy yet sandpapery insides of the  wide-bottomed pear require special appreciation. The pear can be harvested when not quite ripe, and within a few days, it will lighten in color and soften to the touch.  Patience is rewarded when a delicate bite pierces the skin, releasing the sweet essence of pear-ness.  I like to savor my pears unadorned, or with a simple slice of sharp cheese. If I’m ambitious, I might preserve them as pear butter or they might be destined for pear sorbetto.  Hail to this most unglamorous fruit. 

A season for drying

This is the time of year that the food dryer runs incessantly.  I love the low and slow nature of food drying. It has a way of locking in the flavors that make the plants worth growing in the first place. The herb garden is flush with basils and oreganos and thymes and tarragons. The edible flowers, like nasturtiums and geum marigolds, proliferate with repeated harvests.  There are only so many ways to use them fresh (and I am putting them in stir-fries, salads and atop roasted vegetables to beat the band). The food dryer has a way of locking in their flavor and preserving their colors; albeit not as vibrant as when fresh.

The mini-roma tomatoes are reddening on their vines; ready for slicing and facing upward on the food dryer shelves. Drying tomatoes concentrates their flavor, especially the Juliettes.  Knowing just when to pull them from the dryer is the key to a preserving the true essence of tomato-ness.   

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

The weather is looking perfect for you farmers’ market shoppers and for those looking for a weekend outing to the farm. We have a fantastic lineup of cheeses this week, including special chevre flavors and our ‘little bloom burgers’:  

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Special summer herb chevre-we’ve got so many wonderful herbs in our herb garden this year that we’ve been drying a bunch and making blends to add to our chevre.  

Tomato chevre-It’s BAACK!! Yes, those lovely dried juliettes are making their way into the chevre this week. My favorite flavor.

Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” LIMITED QUANTITY THIS WEEK, but more on the way next week.

Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. This batch is tasting really good right now; fudgy texture to the paste, slight softening along the edges with a slight hint of mushroom to the rind.

Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is aging nicely, with notes of buttered mushrooms. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami.

Little Bloom “Burgers”—we took several thin little bloom rounds early in their aging process and spread either basil pesto or gooseberry jam on one round and then sandwiched the two rounds together. They have been aging slowly and are just ready for primetime.

Black Goat—our latest batch of ashed rind bloomy is young, but loaded with flavor. 

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): We have some new and exciting flavors for you this week, especially our NEW LINE OF WHEY BASED SORBETTOS:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Peaches & Cream (Mileur Orchard Peaches-Murphysboro, IL)
  • Blackberry Cream (with our very own blackberries)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (Mileur Orchard)

Check out our NEW line of Whey-Based Sorbettos we’re calling “So-Whey-Betto” The whey from our chevre makes is added to the mix, creating a creamery texture and enhancing the flavor of the fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Lime-Mint

-Peach-Bourbon

-Michigan Blueberry

And maybe Black Currant and Pear Frangelico (with our very own pears, of course)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? Check out our farm store’s “Back to School” Hours: Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Come out on a Friday after work. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the sun go down while you enjoy a glass of wine/beer and cheese board under our pavilion, you don’t know what you’re missing. Bring the kids too.

We offer a “build your own cheese board.”  You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations. 

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek. Come back inside the farm store to shop for other local farmers’ products (meats, eggs, flour, jams, salamis, syrups, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Farm Happenings   

Goat Walk Happy Hour-August 22nd, 6-8 pm. Time is running out to reserve your spot for the final goat walk happy hour of the season. We’ve changed up the format for the happy hour as well as the price ($35/person includes a glass of wine/beer, cheese and charcuterie platters, the escorted goat walk and a scoop of gelato to round out the evening), so check out the details and book your reservations NOW. We limit the number of guests to 35 so that you can really get a lot of “quality” time with the goats in the prairie. 

Dinners on the Farm Late summer and early fall are the perfect times to experience one of our farm dinners. Check out this year’s take on our “100 Yard Dinner-Follow the Milk” on August 31st. The menu is now posted on our website. While you’re on the website, peruse the other themes and dates coming up this fall.  Make your reservations now, as these are filing up fast.

Fall is gorgeous here on the farm Fall is just around the corner, and we’re planning some great events in October.  We will be doing a special “Fall Fest Pop Up with Pizza M” on October 20th and our “Cider Dayz” on October 27th. Details forthcoming, but for now, save the dates. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 8/8/2019 9:57pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

When the regular goat herders are not able to take the goats on their daily walk to the prairie, I take up the challenge.  With boots on and water gun slung over my shoulder, I strode confidently through the doe barn and called to the girls to join me. They seemed anxious to leave their now-parched fruit-tree shade park, and quickly formed a single file lane behind me. 

As I opened the gate to the prairie, they fanned out into the fallowed and overgrown south paddock of our pasture. Knowing that the hotwire fence was not active in this area, I decided to take a chance on letting them browse there.  There was so much lush vegetation that I figured they would be too occupied to test the boundaries.  We’ve been reading a book called “Nourishment” that posits the theory that animals seek out the foods that give them the nutrition they need at the time.  So, I decided to let the goats dictate their foraging pattern for the morning. Instead of leading them where I thought they should go, I let them seek out the plants they fancied. 

Some groups fixated on red clover flowers, while others gobbled down aster leaves.  I noticed the youngest does (the first fresheners) flitted from plant to plant, as if sampling along a buffet line.  I also noticed that the first fresheners migrated to the limits of the paddock, rebellious teenagers testing the boundaries, leaning over the flimsy fence to grab a mouthful of leaves on the other side (grass is always greener is their motto).  With a few squirts of the water gun, I was able to keep them in line and divert their attentions to tasty morsels within the paddock. 

Fly catchers and barn swallows swooped and dived overhead as the goats flushed insects from the standing vegetation.  Startled by a spray helicopter making passes of pesticides over a neighboring grain field, the goats ran toward the perimeter once more. I headed them off just in time, water gun to the rescue.  The helicopter retreated, and they relaxed into their browsing. Some sought the shade of an old shelter to chew their cud; a couple of the larger bodied does lay down and dined on the grasses within neck’s reach. I counted the number of species they foraged, eight in total, some supposedly noxious weeds like nightshade and smartweed.

Eirene chewing cud

Although they were content to keep foraging, after an hour and a half, I decided I would take the lead and called for them to follow me back into their fenced pasture. Most followed without protest; a few stragglers (mostly the first fresheners) held back hoping I wouldn’t notice.  Once back inside their main pasture, I notice the plethora of smartweed and nightshade that they hadn’t even touched. They seemed to prefer these same species in an uncharted territory. I’m convinced they have cravings, just like I pine for a bowl of ice cream from time to time. Their discriminating palates put to shame the most snobbish of restaurant critics.

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

We got a brief and much needed thundershower this afternoon, but the weekend’s forecast is looking gloriously like summer. We’ve got a respectable lineup of cheeses and new flavors of gelato to offer you:  

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Special summer herb chevre-we’ve got so many wonderful herbs in our herb garden this year that we’ve been drying a bunch and making blends to add to our chevre.  THIS WAS SUPER POPULAR last weekend, so we’re making another batch of it.
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” LIMITED QUANTITY THIS WEEK. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. This batch is just starting to age nicely, fudgy texture to the paste, slight softening along the edges with a slight hint of mushroom to the rind. We grilled some rounds whole for our farm dinner last Saturday, and it was divine, especially served with a tart jam or some caramelized onions.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is YOUNG, but surprisingly flavorful. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami.
  • Pelota Roja: our raw-milk “goat Manchego” style hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind. We make this for Rick Bayless’s restaurants, but we reserve a few wheels to sell to our market customers. WE HAVE A LIMITED NUMBER OF WEDGES FROM THE BATCH WE JUST SENT TO FRONTERA GRILL, SO COME EARLY IF YOU WANT SOME). 

Cool off with a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): We have some new and exciting flavors for you this week, especially our black currant-whey sorbetto:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Peaches & Cream (Mileur Orchard Peaches-Murphysboro, IL)
  • Blackberry Cream (with our very own blackberries)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (Mileur Orchard)
  • Black Currant-Whey Sorbetto—black currant puree from Agroforestry Solutions, whey from our creamery—so not strictly dairy free.  Give it a try! It’s delicious and good for you!

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Our Thursday evening hours ended tonight, but we’ll still be open Fridays, 4-8 for a few more weeks. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the sun go down while you enjoy a glass of wine/beer and cheese board, under our pavilion, now’s your chance.

We offer a “build your own cheese board.”  You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations. 

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

- maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

- pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

- Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-NEWLY stocked meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-Eggs from Moore Family Farm, Watseka, IL

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Our “Three Chippys” and “Damn Kids” tea towels

- Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

- PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Goat Walk Happy Hour-August 22nd, 6-8 pm. We’ve changed up the format for the happy hour as well as the price ($35/person includes a glass of wine/beer, cheese and charcuterie platters, the escorted goat walk and a scoop of gelato to round out the evening), so check out the details and book your reservations NOW. We limit the number of guests to 35 so that you can really get a lot of “quality” time with the goats in the prairie. 

Dinners on the Farm Summer and early fall are the perfect times to experience one of our farm dinners. Check out this year’s take on our “100 Yard Dinner-Follow the Milk” at the end of August. While you’re on the website, peruse the other themes and dates coming up this fall.  Make your reservations now, as these fill up fast.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his next "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend August 10th & 11th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  Patti Brewster, our Assistant Herd Manager will give the Saturday tours, and Michael will return on Sunday. The good news is that we will be extending these popular tours through the end of August and on a limited basis in mid-September.

For the tours, guests gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start. Michael gives a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He then guides guests around the farm and creamery where they learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato.

The tour ends with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store or under the Pavilion (if weather permits).  Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Fall is gorgeous here on the farm Fall is just around the corner, and we’re planning some great events in October.  We will be doing a special “Fall Fest Pop Up with Pizza M” on October 20th and our “Cider Dayz” on October 27th. Details forthcoming, but for now, save the dates. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 8/2/2019 11:51am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Our original farm logo was a folk art-inspired image of goats eating peaches off a tree. The combination of fruit trees and goats, like so many of our idealistic early farm ideas, was, in hindsight, crazy.  Goats love fruit trees. They love the leaves, they love the bark; everything but the fruit it turns out.  Over the years, we have gone to great lengths to keep the goats from the orchard.  We have installed woven wire fence along the pasture perimeter with an interior set of hot wires for good measure, yet their drive to have what they covet has spurred them to heroic feats—collectively pulling down the woven wire to climb over the compost pile into the orchard (a la barbarian invasion of Rome); finding a weak link in the hot wire and leaping over it, jimmying the lock on the gate and letting themselves out into the orchard to name several break-out styles. 

Our peach trees turned 15 this spring and their tired peeling limbs have begun to show their age.   Winter’s polar vortex added insult to injury, leaving us with no peach flowers, and hence no fruit (although Wes and I each managed to find one lone peach last weekend—we split them and savored every bite; the reminder of how delicious our peaches are was bittersweet). There has always been a section of our orchard we called the “Bermuda triangle,” because, despite the lush green growth of the leaves, the trees almost never bore much fruit (they flowered but the blossoms seemed to disappear into greenery).  We wondered if the proximity to our doe barn cast too much shade to produce fruit, or if they goats were casting spells, inducing them to put out leaves rather than fruits.

lone peachWe have been threatening these trees for several years now that if they didn’t put out, we’d cut them down.  With the heat waves of late, we decided to sacrifice the trees to create a bit of shade for the goats.  Alas, life imitates art, as our original logo becomes the scene of a goat feeding frenzy.  Once several piles of goat manure compost were removed and the new fencing was complete, we let them in to formerly forbidden territory. 

Persephone's cocklebur beardAt first, they seemed stunned by their good fortune; like giving a child a giant bag of candy, they sensed the moral conundrum. This hesitancy lasted only a few seconds as they tore into the tall burdock weeds (cockleburs be damned!) and stood on their hind legs to reach the tender peach leaves. One day later, it is clear that their shade won’t last long, the once densely green weedy jungle strewn with bare stems and debarked trunks. They are content to live for the moment, to relish was has been forbidden for so long. 

orchard mayhem

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

We are expecting some glorious weather over the next several days. Early August is the perfect time to visit the farm and to patronize the Urbana Farmers’ Market. There are so much peak season fruits and veggies. Our cheeses go so well with so many of the season’s bounty. If you’re not sure how best to use the cheeses, just ask us for recommendations.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Special summer herb chevre-we’ve got so many wonderful herbs in our herb garden this year that we’ve been drying a bunch and making blends to add to our chevre.
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” This batch is tasting mighty fine. It’s perfect crumbled over sweetcorn bathed in a spicy mayo. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. This batch is young-slightly tangy, firm with a slight hint of mushroom. Try grilling it whole and serve with grilled peaches and balsamic glaze. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. VERY LIMITED offering this week, but a young batch should be available next weekend.
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is perfectly ripe. This cheese holds up well to stronger flavors, such as hard salamis or a really tart summer berry jam.  Add a glass of summer red wine or try our newest sparkling wine offering in the farm store—Illinois’ Sparkling Company’s “Pet Nat” (an unfiltered champagne-style sparkling wine—like a marriage between kombucha and wine)
  • Pelota Roja: our raw-milk “goat manchego” style hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind. We make this for Rick Bayless’s restaurants, but we reserve a few wheels to sell to our market customers. VERY LIMITED (so come early if you want some). 

Cool off with a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peach-Ginger (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Mint Stracciatella (fancy ganache chocolate ribbons in mint gelato)-LIMITED

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Our weeknight hours will end on Friday, August 9th. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the sun go down while you enjoy a glass of wine/beer and cheese board, now’s your chance.

We offer a “build your own cheese board.”  You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations.  

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store: 

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-NEW-Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-NEWLY stocked meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Goat Walk Happy Hour-August 22nd, 6-8 pm. We’ve changed up the format for the happy hour as well as the price ($35/person includes a glass of wine/beer, cheese and charcuterie platters, the escorted goat walk and a scoop of gelato to round out the evening), so check out the details and book your reservations NOW. We limit the number of guests to 35 so that you can really get a lot of “quality” time with the goats in the prairie. 

Dinners on the Farm Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. Check out out the “Sunday afternoon dinner with Vincent” lamb dinner on August 18th, and this year’s take on our “100 Yard Dinner-Follow the Milk at the end of August. While you’re on the website, peruse the other themes and dates coming up this fall.  Make your reservations now, as these fill up fast.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his next "Behind the Scenes" tours on: August 10th & 11th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  The good news is that we will be extending these popular tours through the end of August and maybe on a limited basis in September.

For the tours, guests gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start. Michael gives a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He then guides guests around the farm and creamery where they learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour ends with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store or under the Pavilion (if weather permits). 

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Fall is gorgeous here on the farm Fall is just around the corner, and we’re planning some great events in October.  We will be doing a special “Fall Fest Pop Up with Pizza M” on October 20th and our “Cider Dayz” on October 27th. Details forthcoming, but for now, save the dates. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 7/25/2019 10:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm news

Nature’s toggle switch tends to flip this time of summer as July fades to August.  The open-ended uncertainties of what she will produce end abruptly, leaving in place the certainty of what she has left you on hand.  The farm dyes are cast, from fruit set to flowers bloomed to milk volume peaks.  Suddenly, you realize that growth has plateaued, and that it is now a race to slow down entropy. It takes a while to shift your mindset from the frenzy of maximizing production to the deliberate pace of preserving the bounty. 

It’s a difficult transition; managing way too much segues into managing what remains.  After last week’s heat wave, the arc of milk production began its seasonal decline.  It always seems premature; their June udders so swelled as they waddled into the milking parlor.  Decisions from a month ago of what do to with all of our surplus milk are eclipsed by how best to compromise on cheeses to be made. 

Although the summer squash and cucumbers keep roiling out of the garden as if from a bottomless well, I know that the number of blossoms is finite. As the transformation to pickles ensues, there will soon come a time when the sealed canning jars will outnumber the new fruits hanging from the vines.  The tomato vines have grown into a dense thicket, but I see the green fruits hidden by the leaves. Slowly, they begin to change color and they will become my next victims for the canning pot. 

The purple martin house is stuffed with teenage martins. They peer out of the “windows” with their awkward down, waiting to be fed. Soon their down will be replaced by adult plumage and they will fledge.   It is bittersweet because I want them to stay and I want them to remember their place of birth.  I want them to return next year. 
Purple Martin Fledglings

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings 

This gloriously pleasant summer weather is expected to last through the weekend-perfect for shopping at the farmers' market and in our farm store. Here's what we're bringing to market this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” This batch is tasting mighty fine. It’s perfect crumbled over sweetcorn bathed in a spicy mayo. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. This batch is young-slightly tangy, firm with a slight hint of mushroom. Try grilling it whole and serve with grilled peaches and balsamic glaze. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is aging beautifully (firm center, starting to get gooey on edges), and has a wonderful buttered mushroom flavor. Adorn with some fresh herbs and drizzle some honey-serve with crusty bread and a cold glass of white wine.
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging really well and has lovely earthy notes. This cheese holds up well to stronger flavors, such as hard salamis or a really tart summer berry jam.  Add a glass of summer red wine or try our newest sparkling wine offering in the farm store—Illinois’ Sparkling Company’s “Pet Nat” (an unfiltered champagne-style sparkling wine—like a marriage between kombucha and wine)

While you're at the market, grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peach-Ginger (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Mint Stracciatella (fancy ganache chocolate ribbons in mint gelato)
  • Nectarine sorbetto (from Mileur Orchard)-LIMITED

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

NEWS FLASH: We now have a window-unit air-conditioner installed in the farm store, so it’s actually quite pleasant inside. Come on out to the farm and enjoy a scoop of gelato or a cheese board. We offer a “build your own cheese board.”  You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations.  

Experience late afternoon and dusk on the farm. Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-NEW-house-made gooseberry jam--the perfect accompaniment to our bloomy rind cheeses.

Gooseberry Jam and Bloomies

-NEW-Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck), meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: July 27th/28th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour.

Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.  Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. 

This weekend's featured cheeses are chevre, angel food and black goat.

No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.    

“Dinners on the Farm” Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. Check out the Sunday afternoon lamb dinner in mid-August. We now a few of the planned menu items posted on our website.  Chef Chappell is a young and super talented chef from Chicago.  Be adventurous and give this dinner a shot. Soon, we'll be posting some teaser menu items for  this year’s take on our “100 Yard Dinner-Follow the Milk at the end of August. Check out all the themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

Our next Goat Walk Happy Hour is August 22nd, 6-8 pm. We’ve changed up the format for the happy hour (and the price), so check out the details and book your reservations NOW. We limit the number of guests to 35 so that you can really get a lot of “quality” time with the goats in the prairie. 

 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 7/18/2019 10:49pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 Farm News

Our new cheese vat arrived this week, custom built and shipped to us from the Netherlands.  This vat holds up to 105 gallons of milk, while our older original vat can process barely half that amount. The new vat is a game changer for us. Through a farmer grant with sweetgreen, a national fast-casual salad restaurant to whom we supply 400-500 pounds of chevre weekly (four locations in Chicago), we purchased this vat so we can grow as sweetgreen-Chicago grows. 

The logistics of moving such a stainless steel beast into our small creamery were nerve-racking.  Wes spent hours devising a system to lift the vat (weighing over 300 pounds) from its shipping crate onto a cart that could then be wheeled to the entrance of our creamery.  Lifting it off the cart into the creamery hallway required the strength of three men.  Once inside, we fretted over moving it down our narrow hallway and then pivoting it into the door of the make room.  With the door removed, it proved remarkably easy.  Once inside the make room, it took the strength of two women and one man to move it into place. 

First Chevre Ladle from New Vat (slideshow4153)

Taking a giant leap of faith, we made our maiden first batch of chevre with 92 gallons worth of milk. True to form, the robust recipe and process scaled beautifully. Of course, we’ll need to work out a few adjustments on ladling and processing so much more cheese in one fell swoop.  Of course, the arrival of the vat coincided with a heat wave, which has caused our goat milk production to nose dive.  No matter.  We will figure it out as we take our baby steps towards “the big leagues” of cheese making. We’re still pretty small, and the fundamental process of how we make our chevre has not changed.  Now we need more goats!

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings We’re having a heat wave, at least through Saturday, so come prepared to the market with a cooler and some ice packs. Come early if you can too. Here’s the line-up:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” This batch is tasting mighty fine. It’s perfect crumbled over sweetcorn bathed in a spicy mayo. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. This batch is young-slightly tangy, firm with a slight hint of mushroom. Try grilling it whole and serve with grilled peaches and balsamic glaze. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is aging beautifully (firm center, starting to get gooey on edges), and has a wonderful buttered mushroom flavor. Adorn with some fresh herbs and drizzle some honey-serve with crusty bread and a cold glass of white wine.
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging really well and has lovely earthy notes. This cheese holds up well to stronger flavors, such as hard salamis or a really tart summer berry jam.  Add a glass of summer red wine or try our newest sparkling wine offering in the farm store—Illinois’ Sparkling Company’s “Pet Nat” (an unfiltered champagne-style sparkling wine—like a marriage between kombucha and wine)

Cool off with a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peach-Ginger (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Mint Stracciatella (fancy ganache chocolate ribbons in mint gelato)
  • Nectarine sorbetto (from Mileur Orchard)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

NEWS FLASH: We now have a window-unit air-conditioner installed in the farm store, so it’s actually quite pleasant inside. If you can’t take the heat, come on out to the farm and enjoy a scoop of gelato or a cheese board. We offer a “build your own cheese board.”  You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations.  

Experience late afternoon and dusk on the farm. It’s magical. Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-NEW-Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck), meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Goat Walk Happy Hour-July 25th, 6-8 pm. We’ve changed up the format for the happy hour, so check out the details and book your reservations NOW. We limit the number of guests to 35 so that you can really get a lot of “quality” time with the goats in the prairie. 

Dinners on the Farm Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. We have a few seats still left for the Grill It New England Style Farm Dinner (this Saturday, July 20th). Also, check out the Sunday afternoon lamb dinner in mid-August, and this year’s take on our “100 Yard Dinner-Follow the Milk at the end of August. Check out all the themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours on: July 27th/28th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour.

Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.  Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. 

No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.    


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 7/12/2019 12:29pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header Farm News

This week I took the farm on a little trip to the big apple—that’s right NYC. The Illinois Office of Tourism invited me, as one of “Illinois’ Makers” to attend a media event at the headquarters of Meredith Publications. This publications giant owns Time Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Rachel Ray Today, Parenting, Real Simple, Midwest Living, Food & Wine to name a few prominent magazines.  The IL Office of Tourism organizes such events to promote the state’s attractions. 

I packed my bags full of cheese and lots of PFFC “Merch” (you know: tea towels, t-shirts, aprons and the like), put on my city digs and hopped on a plane to NY.  It had been well over a decade (maybe even close to 15 years) since my last trip to NYC, and for the first time, I felt more like a country bumpkin than the urban sophisticate of my youth.  I faked my way through what had once been second nature of giving the taxi driver explicit directions about how best to drive to my destination.  Secretly, I wasn’t even sure if the Meredith Building was on the east or west side of Manhattan; I had a vague notion of it being in lower Manhattan in the financial district. 

As we headed south on the FDR Drive, I searched for the familiar landmarks, all the while disoriented by the explosion of new sky scrapers.  The tram to Roosevelt Island was still there, but my memories of a barren urban island with a few decrepit buildings had been replaced by stacks of condos and serene green spaces.  I did not recognize the Williamsburg Bridge, but how could I forget the majestic Brooklyn Bridge? The trappings of over-built Brooklyn on the other side of the east river were completely unfamiliar to me.

My destination, located in Battery Park, was modern, gentrified and sculpted into well-populated city park.  Families, tourists, and suited office workers strolled along the pathway along the southern tip of Manhattan. Lady Liberty, torched arm outstretched over the water, stood firm in the hazy distance.  Tug boats, ferries, jet skiers and fishing boats navigated the choppy waters, seemingly choreographed to avoid collisions.  As I walked north, away from the water, to meet an old friend, I was attracted to the sound of rushing water, akin to waterfalls. I followed the sounds and the myriad of tourists heading in the same direction to witness a massive hole in the ground with cascading water flowing into a giant crater in the center. Until I describe what I had seen to my friend, did I realize I had witnessed the 9-11 Memorial. 

The next morning’s media event with editors from several of Meredith Publication’s magazines was akin to two hours of speed dating. I had several minutes with each editor to engage them in the art of the pitch—who we are, where we are (no one from the east coast knows where Champaign-Urbana IL is located, let alone where the state of Illinois is), what we do, what we make (“would you like to try some cheese??”), what we offer to folks who visit our farm….. I tried different angles depending on the magazine that they represented.  It was whirl wind of talking, sampling, handing folks some media content in the hopes that something I said or offered would click with them.  Before I knew it, it was over and the room was left to the tourism folks representing other parts of Illinois.  We sampled each other’s left overs and packed up our “merch.” I haled another cab, this time confident in suggesting how best to get to the airport, got back on a plane and relaxed into the solace of returning to my flat, green and slow-paced homeland. 

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

The temperatures are expected to climb back into the ‘90’s tomorrow, so definitely come early to the market and bring a cooler with ice packs to keep your cheese and gelato in tip top shape. Here’s the line-up for this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” It is really delicious.  Check out this simple “Roasted Feta with Honey” recipe from NY Times Cooking. It’s simple and it will definitely impress your friends.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is mature, with lots of mushroomy notes. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or try grilling it to warm it up just a bit. VERY LIMITED availability
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is aging beautifully (firm center, starting to get gooey on edges), and has a wonderful flavor. Try with roasted fennel and a drizzle of honey
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. We have the young-ish batch to offer this weekend-firm, slightly yeasty and densely fudgy in texture. Enjoy with local salami and a glass of summer red wine or try our newest sparkling wine offering in the farm store—Illinois’ Sparkling Company’s “Pet Nat” (an unfiltered champagne-style sparkling wine—like a marriage between kombucha and wine) 
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning).  VERY LIMITED availability this week

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peach-Ginger (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Mint Stracciatella (fancy ganache chocolate ribbons in mint gelato)
  • Nectarine sorbetto (from Mileur Orchard)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

This Friday (that's today!), consider building your own cheese board, or ask us to make some recommendations. You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer: Experience late afternoon and dusk on the farm. It’s magical.

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden (growing like crazy and starting to bear fruit too).  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek. You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato.

Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato.” 

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-NEW-Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck), meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. The menu is now posted for our New England Style BBQ dinner on July 20th. There are only a few seats left, so grab ‘em while you can.

Check out all the themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours THIS weekend: July 13th/14th at 2 and 3 pm each day

For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store. 

This week’s featured cheeses are chevre, little bloom and feta. Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Our next Goat Walk-Happy Hour is scheduled for July 25th. We’ll be posting details and ticket sales for the event next week, but for now, SAVE THE DATE


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 7/4/2019 10:06pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The heat rolled in with the latest round of summer storms and the onset of july.  As dairy farmers, it’s a race to minimize heat stress and its effects on milk production. We go to heroic measures to keep the milk volume from plummeting; every ounce is needed to keep the cogs in the cheese production cycle in motion.

We herd the goats out to the prairie as soon as the morning milking is complete. We want them to stuff their faces (and rumens) with fresh browse before the heat kills their appetites.  We keep fresh cool water in front of them; they even let us spray them down with the hose when they’re really hot in the mid-afternoon. Their normal aversion to getting wet is subdued by their desire to get cool.

Color matters when you’re a dairy goat, so those with darker coats get the special “day at the spa” treatment.  Not only do they get to come into the air-conditioned milking parlor during “off” hours, they enjoy grain treats while we shave them down. After their “hair” is done, we treat them to a goat mani-pedi (aka hoof trim)-no they don’t get to pick out their favorite polish color. The dairy crew gets some reprieve from the heat as well-AC in the parlor, sweeping up the piles of goat hair. 

The fourth of July is a normal day in the life of a dairy farmer-farmstead cheese maker. The goats don’t take holidays off for milking and their milk must be transformed into cheese daily.  Despite the normalcy of the routine, there’s peacefulness about the day. We don’t have to rush off to holiday barbeque or fight the crowds to get the best viewing of fireworks. At the end of the day, we can sit on our porch and watch the sequence of several towns’ fireworks light up the skies from south to east to west. 

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

We’re getting a little break in the heat, but there’s a chance of showers this weekend.  Come early to the market and bring a cooler to keep your cheese and gelato in tip top condition. If you’re still entertaining holiday guests, or if you just want to throw yourself a little cheese party, we’ve got you covered:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” It is still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. Check out this simple “Roasted Feta with Honey” recipe from NY Times Cooking. It’s simple and it will definitely impress your friends.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is mature, with lots of mushroomy notes. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or try grilling it to warm it up just a bit.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is young (firm, tangy, perfect for slicing), but has a wonderful flavor. Try with roasted fennel and a drizzle of honey
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. We have two batches to offer you this weekend—the beautifully gooey and ripe version and the young, yeasty and fudgy version. Enjoy both version with some local salami and a glass of summer red wine or local ale.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning). You can also cook with it-salad dressings, cool summer sauces for grilled veggies; let your imagination run wild!

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Fresh Mint (only a couple of pints left)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We have a few jars left—at the market and in the farm store. Grab one while they last.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. NOTE: We will be open on Friday, July 5th.

This Friday, consider building your own cheese board, or ask us to make some recommendations. You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer: Experience late afternoon and dusk on the farm. It’s magical.

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden (growing like crazy and starting to bear fruit too).  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato.” 

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck both), meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings    Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. We have tickets for our upcoming New England Style BBQ dinner on July 20th. Check out all the themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours next weekend: July 13th/14th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour.

Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store. 

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Our next Goat Walk-Happy Hour is scheduled for July 25th. We’ll be posting details and ticket sales for the event next week, but for now, SAVE THE DATE! 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 6/27/2019 10:55pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Farewell to Moonglo, a noble cheese This week, we cut and wrapped the last wheels of Moonglo, from a batch made late last summer.  For a number of reasons, we have decided not to make more Moonglo for a while.  This lovely orange orb, inspired by its alpine cousins, the tomme or toma, has been a fixture in our cheese repertoire for over 12 years.  Not too long after I started making cheese, I wanted to make a raw milk cheese; one that would capture the essence of our farm. I wanted to make a raw milk cheese that would reflect the seasonality of our milk and the native milk microbes that our goats’ rumens had cultivated.  I wanted to tie in our orchard with the dairy, so I decided to make a rind wash with a tea made from the leaves of the Moonglow pear in our orchard. 

Moonglo has had many iterations over the years, partly due to my complete ignorance about how best to make a semi-hard, raw-milk cheese from goat’s milk with a supple paste and a complex flavor. As I honed my craft and sought advice from others to guide the cheese make’s progression, I came to appreciate the role of the aging environment and the importance of micro-climate on rind development and cheese flavor evolution. I came to lament our geography and our inability to build a proper cheese cave (i.e. underground) because of our farm’s flat topography and shallow depth to groundwater (it is wet prairie, after all). 

Despite the cheese’s ups and downs over the seasons and years, we learned that the best milk for Moonglo is fall (richness of fats and protein), that rind washing is an art and that small variations in aging room temperature, humidity and air movement have dramatic effects on the rind.   Moonglo has been like a mythic goddess of cheese for me, elusive in her perfection, temperamental and fickle. Yet when she decides to reveal her best self to you, the reward is sublime. 

Fire fly light show The excesses of rain and the rampant growth of vegetation have made this a year for fire flies.  Seemingly out of nowhere, there has been a population explosion of these luminescent wonders, each species staking out his/her vertical position on the nightly silhouettes of grasses and tree limbs.  The light show begins at dusk with the species that seem to hang low to the ground. As the skies darken, the species that flash a top tall grasses begin to fly and flash on descent.  If I’m lucky to awaken in the middle of the night, I can see them outside my bedroom window, a frenzy of several species flashing and flickering in manic quest to find a mate.  They are my nightly summer fireworks.  I feel no need for the razzle-dazzle of human pyrotechnics. 

Goat Walk Happy Hour Recap Tonight, we hosted our first public goat walk-happy hour. Over 30 guests escorted the milking does from the doe barn after the evening milking out into the prairie. We had set up our portable bar where the pasture meets the prairie and put out straw bales for our guests to sit on.  As the goats fanned out into the prairie, with the guests behind them, they were surprised to find bales of straw. We bed their barn with straw, and they love to rub themselves along the unopened bales like a back scratcher.  Several climbed on the bales and broke them open (and then proceeded to lie in the straw bedding like they do inside the barn). 

The guests were impressed with their openness and friendly demeanor combined with their brash “I own this place” attitude.  The “girls” moved into the prairie to dine on grasses and forbs, while several scaled the cottonwood trees to nibble on the tender leaves.  After getting their drinks, several of the guests led them toward the riparian zone; others (the fortunate guests who were allowed to sit on the straw bales), sipped on their wine or beer while the goats stood still for petting and brushing.

The highlights of the evening were the persistent goats who insisted on partaking of the offerings at the bar. Several kept trying to grab bags of popcorn and nuts; while Sabrina (our milkers’ favorite doe) took a sip of someone’s glass of wine. As the evening progressed and the sun started to fade in the western sky, the goats knew it was getting time to head back to the barn. Their insistence on grabbing snacks intensified, and we decided to open the gate back up to the pasture. With no encouragement, they formed a line and strode back in, following the guests back to the barn. 

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

It will be hot over the next few days, but don’t let that slow you down from your weekly local food forays or farm visits.  Come early to the market and bring a cooler to keep your cheese and gelato in tip top condition. Once again, we have a great repertoire of cheeses this week:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” It is still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. Check out this simple “Roasted Feta with Honey” recipe from NY Times Cooking.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is mature, with lots of mushroomy notes. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. We have a few ripe rounds, but most of the offerings will be quite young (firm, tangy, perfect for slicing)
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is perfectly ripe, bordering on gooey. Enjoy with a local salami.
  • Moonglo-LAST CHANCE--Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted broccoli.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla 
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Honey-Lavender (lavender from Illinois Willows)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

NOTE: We will NOT be open Thursday, July 4th, but will resume normal hours on Friday, July 5th.

This Friday, June 28th, we’ve got a few special treats for you to enjoy with a glass of wine or beer:

  • PFFC popcorn (seasoned with nutritional yeast and truffle salt)
  • Voss Pecan Orchard pecans
  • Mini-baguette sandwiches-choose from veggie & chevre, salami or filletto
  • OR just build your own cheese board

You can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden (growing like crazy and starting to bear fruit too).  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer. 

Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato.  Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

-NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. There are several this summer that still have plenty of tickets available.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: June 29th/30th at 2 and 3 pm each day

For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato.

The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.  This weekend’s tasting will feature our chevre, first-of-the-season feta and perfectly ripe black goat.

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.    


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 6/20/2019 10:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

On the eve of the summer solstice, in the pause between rain storms, the farm embodies lushness. Despite the occasional ponding of water in the kid barn or the afternoon flooding of the farm storage room when a gutter dam forced the rain under the door, the farm is green and growing.  The landscape is so vibrant, it is hard to look away.  The garden with vegetables setting and herbs begging to be plucked, the flower farm’s blooms so tidy in rows, the orchard floor so tall it masks the lower branches of the fruit trees-the lushness commands your attention. 

The summer solstice gives us the longest day, yet daylight and twilight have little distinction for the dairy farmers and cheese makers. The bending light of the late afternoon is hypnotic, even for the eyes tired from staring at white walls and lots of little white cheeses. The eastern sky reflects back the deepening colors of the western sky’s setting sun. The green lines of the pasture and prairie intersect with the watercolor pinks, reds, oranges and yellows, punctuated by the occasional brown and blue of a heron flying by. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 22nd Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, but we all should be used to all this rain by now. We have a great repertoire of cheeses this week, including a couple of seasonal debuts. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: FIRST of the SEASON!--our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” It is still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. Try some on a salad with early hot house tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.

Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.

Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is aging very nicely with subtle mushroom notes. ·  Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging nicely, yet the paste is somewhat firm and fudgy in consistency. Enjoy with a local salami.

NEWFleur du Prairie-a square bloomy with the delicate crinkly white mold similar to black goat. The squares were sprinkled with a mixture of dried herbs and edible flowers just as the rind was blooming. Aged for about 3 weeks, this cheese is slightly earthy with hints of thyme, fennel and chive flower in every bite. LIMITED offering!

Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted broccoli. Probably only two more weeks left and then it’s gone for the foreseeable future. 

Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning). Quarts and pints available.

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint (chocolate mint plant leaves steeped in the warm gelato base)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Honey-Lavender (lavender from Illinois Willows)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this Friday evening, 4-8 pm and weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. You can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products and NEW “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel

-NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

-NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out!

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

There are just five seats left for our “Early Summer Bounty with Beer” dinner this Saturday, June 22nd. Chefs Jordan and Arora of American Harvest Eatery have crafted a gorgeous, menu featuring the freshest summer veggies, many of our cheeses and beer pairings from Rolling Meadows Brewery. The brewer will be our guest to talk about the styles of beer and Rolling Meadows overall.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours in two weeks: June 29th/30th at 2 and 3 pm each day

For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.    


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 6/14/2019 2:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “terroir” lately.  Terroir is a French term most often used to describe wines and their flavor profiles as tied to specific geographic regions, their soils and micro-climates.  It is also used to describe cheeses. It is a quintessentially European concept, born of millennia spent developing food and beverage traditions in isolated mountain tops and valleys. 

In the U.S, especially here in the Midwest, our food and beverage traditions, if they ever existed, have been displaced by an embrace of uniformity, an erasure of place-based tastes.  To be sure, there certain cheeses made in specific regions with distinct flavor profiles. But our current food culture, even our “foodie” culture tends to underplay or ignore the relationships between food, flavor and place. 

As a dairy farmer and cheese maker, I obsess over terroir.  I am constantly thinking about our prairie soils amended with our goat manure compost and the forages they grow. We are frequently inspecting our pastures to make sure the mix of grasses, legumes and other plants stays diverse. I want to know what the goats are eating during their daily forays to the pasture and prairie.  The goat herders tell me what they’re craving (sometimes it’s tender grass shoots, other times it’s something with flowers or some cottonwood leaves), and I try to extrapolate how that’s affecting the formation of the curd and the flavor of the chevre. The chevre is my bellwether for subtle changes in the milk related to diet and weather, since we make it daily. 

Our geography and our little slice of central Illinois prairie matter. The genetics of our goat herd matter. Our dark deep soils and, the plants they nourish, feed our goats and flavor our milk.  To assume they have no bearing on the flavors and consistencies of our cheeses would be negligent.   

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 15th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon. The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, but don’t let that slow you down. We have a great repertoire of cheeses this week.  Surprise your favorite dad with flight of PFFC cheeses for Father's Day this weekend.

We still have a few containers of fresh ricotta, a limited number of yogurt quarts and a full house of bloomies. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Fresh Ricotta: simple, sweet, a foundation cheese upon which to build your savory or sweet creations

Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.

Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is aging very nicely with subtle mushroom notes.

Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging nicely, yet the paste is somewhat firm and fudgy in consistency. Enjoy with a local salami.

Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted broccoli. We are almost finished with our last wheels of this cheese, so grab some while it's still here. 

Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning)-VERY LIMITED--come early if you want some.

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

You can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden (finally planted and growing like crazy).  

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. The menu for the upcoming “Early Summer Bounty with Beer” is now posted on our website. Chefs Jordan and Arora of American Harvest Eatery have crafted a luscious menu featuring the freshest summer veggies, many of our cheeses and beer pairings from Rolling Meadows Brewery. We have a few seats still available for this dinner, so check out the menu and book your reservations.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: June 15th/16th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For those of you celebrating father's day, why not surprise your dad by taking him to the farm for a tour/tasting, and then order a cheese board with your favorite adult beverages.

For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.    


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.