News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 10/17/2019 7:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The swollen harvest moon rose to fill the eastern sky this past week, ushering in the neighbor’s grain harvest. The pallet of the October landscape is a study in contrast of farming—shades of brown for the stands of corn and soybeans awaiting the combine juxtaposed against the greens, reds and yellows of our cool season pasture and still flowering prairie plants.  The pale stubble of the cash grain crops barely masks the dark soil beneath. Devoid of color, the fields signal the end of their season. Our trees, leaves still green, barely show the hint of color belying their impending dormancy. The pasture, flush with new growth clover and grass, has no intention of calling it quits. 

The full harvest moon shone so brightly that we did not need a flash light to check on the goats before going to bed.  The dog was emboldened to venture out to the prairie for his evening predator patrol.  The goats, never fooled, were not convinced of the safety of the moonlight. They stayed nestled in the warmth of their straw bedding, pre-occupied by the scents and sounds of their newly arrived mating companions.   

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

Fall weather is in full swing, and this weekend should be gorgeous for being outdoors, shopping at the farmers' market and visiting our farm. There are only two Saturdays left to the outdoor market before we move inside the mall (First Saturday in November). 

Here's the line-up of cheeses for this weekend:   

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so fresh and light; it’s the perfect foil for your salads, soups or stews.
  • Limited Edition Seasonal Chevre Flavors
    • Honey chevre-a touch of natural sweetness from local honey (Sasse Apiaries). VERY LIMITED THIS WEEK
  • Black Goat—our current batch has achieved the perfect state of gooeyness and funk.  WE'RE RUNNING A SPECIAL THIS WEEK--BUY 2 AND GET $1 OFF TOTAL PRICE. Slather it over your favorite rustic bread; enjoy with fresh tomato slice and olive oil drizzle OR go the sweet route with honey or tart jam and apple slices.
  • Fleur du Prairie: our bloomy rind triangles topped with dried herbs and edible flowers. VERY LIMITED-last of the season.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our final batch of the season goat-milk camembert-style cheese. This batch is quite young (and firm), but has a lovely milky flavor.

Jarred products: I’ll be bringing a variety of our pickled veggies as well as some jams.

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Butter Pecan (with pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle IL)

Try a pint from 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 local fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Black Currant

-Peach-Bourbon

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? Check out our farm store’s Fall Hours: Fridays, 4-7 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Come on out on a Friday after work. There won’t be too many evenings left when it will be nice enough to sit outside.

We can even build a fire in our fire pit if you want. 

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, cider or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations. 

We have some new wines (from Valle de Guadeloupe, Baja Mexico) in the farm store as well as ciders from Virtue Cidery (Fennville MI).

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike) or just wander around the farm.  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, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

NEW IN THE FARM STORE: FRESH APPLES FROM RED CRIB ACRES, MONTICELLO

We've got four varieties of apples available in the farm store this weekend:

-Cosmo (crisp, sweet, a great fresh-eating apple)

-Grimes Golden (a yellow apple with a floral-sweet flavor, try with our chevre)

-York (heritage variety, large, sweet-tart, great for baking)

-Winesap (heritage variety, crisp, tart--my favorite)

Other Happenings 

Dinners on the Farm autumn is a beautiful season to experience one of our farm dinners.  We have a few seats left for our final two dinners-"Sunday Dinner with Vicia" (Nov. 10th) and "Whole Hog with Beer" (Dec. 8th).

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have cancelled the following events (the farm is still open Fridays 4-7, Saturdays and Sundays 1-4 pm through the end of October):

October 20th Italian fall “Festa” with Pizza M

October 26th and 27th Prairie Fruits Farm’s Third Annual Cider Days

October 26th "I love Pumpkins and Squash" Farm dinner

Fall Classes and Tastings We will be offering a few cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December. Stay tuned for details and registration information.  


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 10/10/2019 9:11pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The stereotype of goats as indiscriminant consumers is hard to shake.  People often mistake their marauding lips wrapping themselves around all things edible and not (hard to shake that image of a goat eating a tin can), as a penchant for “eating everything.” Nothing could be further from the truth. They use those labile lips to discriminate foods they like from those they don’t. They even sort food, leaving parts of their grain ration they don’t feel like eating.

Despite their picky eating habits, when they get sick, the first thing to go is their appetite. This is our most reliable clue that something is not right. The other reliable clue is the order in which they come in to be milked. When does normally in the first or second string of milkers end up on the last line, we know they don’t feel well. 

This past week, we had a mystery illness come through the herd, striking hard at their digestive systems. At the height of the outbreak, nearly 25% of the herd fell sick. The vets were called in and samples were collected to try to figure out what might be causing the severe intestinal flu-like symptoms. We gave them treatments, including plenty of electrolytes and probiotics to ease the dehydration and get their rumens working again. Still not knowing for sure what caused the illness, the herd’s health now seems to be turning a corner toward recovery.  Like family members who take ill, we worry when our girls don’t feel well. We fret when they don’t want to eat, and we rejoice when their appetite returns.  We are their care takers.

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

The weather will be cool this Saturday, so bundle up on your way to the market. There are only a few more outdoor markets before we move inside the mall (First Saturday in November). As I mentioned last week, we haven’t had a frost yet, so most farmers still have an abundance of both summer and fall produce. It’s such a great time to support the farmers’ market. 

Our cheeses go so well with all this produce bounty—either as a key ingredient or an adornment. We’re a little lean on diversity this Saturday, but we should have young little bloom available next Saturday and maybe another seasonal chevre flavor.  

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so fresh and light; it’s the perfect foil for your salads, soups or stews.
  • Limited Edition Seasonal Chevre Flavors
    • Honey chevre-a touch of natural sweetness from local honey (Sasse Apiaries). It’s perfect served with sliced apples or pears. Try poaching the fruit and serving with a dollop of whipped honey chevre.
  • Black Goat—our current batch is aging nicely; it has that lovely dense fudgy texture with a slight gooeyness along the edges.  Try it with one of our newest jarred creations-house made pickles or spiced pear butter.
  • Fleur du Prairie: our bloomy rind triangles topped with dried herbs and edible flowers. Beautiful and delicious!

Jarred products: I’ll be bringing a variety of our pickled veggies as well as some jams.

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Butter Pecan (with pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle IL)

Try a pint from 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 local fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Black Currant

-Peach-Bourbon

-Lime-Mint  

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? Check out our farm store’s Fall Hours: Fridays, 4-7 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Come out on a Friday after work. There won’t be too many evenings left when it will be nice enough to sit outside.

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) or just wander around the farm.  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, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Happenings 

Dinners on the Farm autumn is a beautiful season to experience one of our farm dinners.  We have a few tickets still open for this Saturday’s farm dinner “All things Fermented.” Check out the menu and grab the last seats.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are cancelling these two fall events:

Cancelled: October 20th Italian fall “festa” with Pizza M

Cancelled: October 26th and 27th Prairie Fruits Farm’s Third Annual Cider Days

Fall Classes and Tastings We will be offering a few cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December. Stay tuned for details and registration information.  


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 10/3/2019 8:29pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

September retreated in fits and starts, blowing its final breaths of hot air after dropping over three inches of rain on the farm in 48 hours. The unsettled nature of the weather has left the farm in a state of confusion.  Clean barns flooded, does coming into and out of heat, trees shedding crispy leaves onto a flush of greening pasture. Perhaps October will usher in a less turbulent autumn.

In the cheese vat, the milk reluctantly holds on to its summer character. The milk solids (butterfat and protein) have climbed only slightly, and the chevre retains its clean & lean flavor (with a hint of citrus).  We’ve made our final batches of goat-milk bloomies, and they’re dense, rich and delicious. Once goat breeding commences, we’ll anticipate the steady decline in milk volume coupled with an increase in richness.  We’ll turn our energies to making some new cheeses and squirreling away chevre for the cold dry months of winter.

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

The weather should be downright fall like this Saturday and there are only a few more outdoor markets before we move inside the mall. Yet most farmers still have a cornucopia of offerings (some summer produce as well as those from fall). It’s really the best time of year to shop locally. Our cheeses go so well with all this produce bounty—either as a key ingredient or an adornment. Here’s the lineup for this week: 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so fresh and light; it’s the perfect foil for your salads, soups or stews.

Limited Edition Seasonal Chevre Flavors

  • Tomato-Juliette tomatoes from our garden dried and chopped into our fresh chevre-this cheese captures the sweet heat of summer; enjoy on some hearty multi-grain toast--VERY LIMITED, Last chance
  • Jalapeño crunch-Fresh, chopped peppers from Blue Moon Farm--they give just the right amount of heat to the chevre. Perfect cheese for stuffing sweet peppers! Also very limited.
  • NEW: Honey chevre-a touch of natural sweetness from local honey (Sasse Apiaries). It’s perfect served with sliced apples or pears. Try poaching the fruit and serving with a dollop of whipped honey 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.” As the weather cools, this cheese is perfect for crumbling on roasted veggies or warming stews. Last of the season.
Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. The current batch is perfectly ripe, with hints of buttered mushroom flavor. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami-VERY LIMITED AVAILABILITY THIS WEEK
Black Goat—our current batch is aging nicely, but it has that lovely dense fudgy texture along with a hint of yeastiness on the palate.  Try it with one of our newest jarred creations-house made pickles or a tart jam.
Fleur du Prairie: our bloomy rind triangles topped with dried herbs and edible flowers. Beautiful and delicious!

Jarred products: I’ll be bringing a variety of our pickled veggies as well as some jams.

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

Try a pint from 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 local fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Black Currant

-Peach-Bourbon  

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? Check out our farm store’s Fall Hours: Fridays, 4-7 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) or just wander around the farm.  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, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Happenings 

Dinners on the Farm autumn is a beautiful season to experience one of our farm dinners.   We still have plenty of seats for the dinners in October, November and December, especially our “I Love Pumpkins dinner with The Great Pumpkin Patch (October 28th). Make your reservations now, before they sell out.

Cancelled: October 20th Italian fall “festa” with Pizza M

Cancelled: October 26th and 27th Prairie Fruits Farm’s Third Annual Cider Days

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are cancelling these two fall events. Hopefully, we can host them next year.

Fall Classes and Tastings We will be offering a few cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December. Stay tuned for details and registration information. 


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 9/26/2019 9:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

For those of you wondering why last week's newsletter had no blog post, I lost my mother last week, 86 years young.  My mother, born and raised in Boston, Mass, was a city girl at heart and the quintessential Jewish mother. Although apprehensive about her daughter’s decision to leave a tenured faculty job to become a goat dairy farmer-cheese maker, she came to embrace everything about our farm.

In the early days, she would come out during kidding season and cook our meals and do our laundry, so we could focus on helping does give birth.  She’d even put on her “work clothes”, roll up her sleeves and grab a bottle or two to help feed the needy baby goats. In a pinch, she would don a hairnet, gloves and apron to help me pack chevre. She would take winter coats to the dry cleaner and make numerous trips to the stores, hunting for bargains to keep the farm well supplied.

When we decided to try our hand at farm dinners, she flew out to be one of our trial “guests.” She was not shy about giving her “constructive” criticism, solicited or not.  As our farm grew and the ensuing responsibilities of running a complex enterprise prevented us from traveling, she’d hop on a couple of planes in spring and summer to help in whatever ways she could.  In her later years, her visits became less frequent, and her stamina for farm chores waned. Yet, she loved to be a guest at a summer farm dinner. Much to my embarrassment, she would regale her dinner table companions with stories from my youth! She was our biggest fan and our emissary to urban cousins and family members who couldn’t fathom how one of their kin could wind up in the Midwest, let alone become a dairy farmer.  Her loss has left a giant hole in my heart, but my memories provide some consolation. 

Farm News

The cycle of life continues at the farm. We’re gearing up for breeding season. The mating plans are in place, and we started cleaning out the doe barn today.  The crisp autumn weather has prompted some of the does to come into heat. Confined to the pasture, several found the weak links in their fence to pay a visit to the bucks. Thankfully, the hot wire surrounding the buck pasture was intact, and there was no breach. We’ll finish the set up tomorrow, and soon enough, their wishes will come true.

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

There's a chance of rain on Saturday, but don't let that slow you down for your weekly farmers' market shopping--just bring an umbrella. Here's our cheese line up for the market: 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so fresh and light; it’s the perfect foil for your salads, soups or stews
  • Limited Edition Seasonal Chevre Flavors
    • Tomato-Juliette tomatoes from our garden dried and chopped into our fresh chevre-this cheese captures the sweet heat of summer; enjoy on some hearty multi-grain toast--VERY LIMITED, PROBABLY THE LAST WEEK
    • Jalapeño crunch-Fresh, chopped peppers from Blue Moon Farm--they give just the right amount of heat to the chevre. Perfect cheese for stuffing sweet peppers!
  • 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-last of the season.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. The current batch is perfectly ripe, with hints of buttered mushroom flavor. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami-LIMITED AVAILABILITY THIS WEEK
  • Black Goat—our current batch is aging nicely, but it has that lovely dense fudgy texture along with a hint of yeastiness on the palate.  Try it with one of our newest jarred creations-house made pickles or spiced pear butter.
  • Fleur du Prairie: our bloomy rind triangles topped with dried herbs and edible flowers. Beautiful and delicious!

Jarred products: Megan, our newest farm preserver, has been very busy in the farm kitchen. She has been making and canning pickled veggies of many stripes (summer squash, cucumbers, gardinier, etc.) as well as jamming.

Her latest creation is spiced (warm spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) pear butter. We will have these available for sale in our farm store as well as the farmers’ market.

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

Try a pint from 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 local fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Black Currant

-Peach-Bourbon

-Michigan Blueberry (one pint left)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? Check out our farm store’s “Back to School” Hours: Fridays, 4-7 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, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Happenings 

Dinners on the Farm Autumn is a beautiful season to experience one of our farm dinners.  

We still have seats for the dinners in October, November and December, especially our “I Love Pumpkins” dinner with The Great Pumpkin Patch (October 28th). The menu for the October 12th "All things fermented" dinner is now posted as well. Make your reservations now, before they sell out.

October 20th Italian fall “festa” with Pizza M

Italy in Autumn-the next best thing to being there is a Sunday afternoon at the farm with Pizza M making their famous hand-tossed pies (with all locally-sourced ingredients, including the flour dough), freshly spun nocciola (hazelnut) gelato and lemon sorbetto.

Did I get you at Pizza M or the hazelnut gelato? Either way, we’re selling tickets to this event to make sure we don’t run out of pizza!! Check out the details and grab your “passport” tickets. --visit with the goats --enjoy a hay ride around the farm --peruse our farm shop, and much more….

October 26th and 27th Prairie Fruits Farm’s Third Annual Cider Days

The evocative apple-so enigmatic of fall—crisp, sweet-scented. In the last weekend of October, we celebrate all things apple with a two day festival.  Saturday (1-4 pm), we’ll offer fresh cider to drink, cider-gelato floats and bags of fresh apples from Red Crib Acres. Sunday, 1-5 pm, we’ll offer cider pressing, lots of cider drinks, doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers, hay rides and MORE... Check out the details, and mark your calendars. 

Fall Classes and Tastings

We will be offering our popular cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December.  We may even offer a cheese making class (held in our commercial creamery). Stay tuned for details and registration information. 


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 9/20/2019 11:26am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
I

new header

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

Saturday will be cooler than it has been-great farmer's market shopping weather. Here's our cheese line up for the market: 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so fresh and light; it’s the perfect foil for your salads, soups or stews
  • Tomato chevre-Juliette tomatoes from our garden dried and chopped into our fresh chevre-this cheese captures the sweet heat of summer; enjoy on some hearty multi-grain toast
  • 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.” 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. The current batch is aging nicely, with hints of buttered mushroom flavor. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami.
  • Black Goat—our newest batch is young, but it has that lovely dense fudgy texture along with a hint of yeastiness on the palate.  Try it with one of our newest jarred creations-house made pickles or spiced pear butter.
  • Fleur du Prairie: our bloomy rind triangles topped with dried herbs and edible flowers. Beautiful and delicious!

Speaking of jarred products, Megan, our newest farm preserver, has been very busy in the farm kitchen of late. She has been making and canning pickled veggies of many stripes (summer squash, cucumbers, gardinier, etc.) as well as jamming.

Her latest creation is spiced (warm spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) pear butter. We will have these available for sale in our farm store as well as the farmers’ market.

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): If you haven't tried our NEW LINE OF WHEY BASED SORBETTOS, ask us for a taste:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

Try a pint from 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 local fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Black Currant

-Lime-Mint (limited)

-Peach-Bourbon

-Michigan Blueberry (limited)

-Pear Frangelico (with our very own pears, of course-very limited)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? Check out our farm store’s “Back to School” Hours: Fridays, 4-7 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, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Happenings 

The Land Connection's Annual Fundraiser-Chef-Farmer Competition "Artisan Fork & Cup" is tomorrow night-Saturday, September 21st. Our cheese will be represented in one of the chef’s prepared dish, so please come out and support a good cause. 

Dinners on the Farm Autumn is a beautiful season to experience one of our farm dinners.  

We still have plenty of seats for the dinners in October, November and December, especially our “I Love Pumpkins” dinner with The Great Pumpkin Patch (October 28th). Make your reservations now, before they sell out.

October 20th Italian fall “festa” with Pizza M

Italy in Autumn-the next best thing to being there is a Sunday afternoon at the farm with Pizza M making their famous hand-tossed pies (with all locally-sourced ingredients, including the flour dough), freshly spun nocciola (hazelnut) gelato and lemon sorbetto.

Did I get you at Pizza M or the hazelnut gelato? Either way, we’re selling tickets to this event to make sure we don’t run out of pizza!! Check out the details and grab your “passport” tickets. --visit with the goats --enjoy a hay ride around the farm --peruse our farm shop, and much more….

October 26th and 27th Prairie Fruits Farm’s Third Annual Cider Days

The evocative apple-so enigmatic of fall—crisp, sweet-scented. In the last weekend of October, we celebrate all things apple with a two day festival.  Saturday (1-4 pm), we’ll offer fresh cider to drink, cider-gelato floats and bags of fresh apples from Red Crib Acres. Sunday, 1-5 pm, we’ll offer cider pressing, lots of cider drinks, doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers, hay rides and MORE... Check out the details, and mark your calendars. 

Fall Classes and Tastings

We will be offering our popular cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December.  We may even offer a cheese making class (held in our commercial creamery). Stay tuned for details and registration information. 


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 9/12/2019 9:05pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The challenge of a mid-September heat wave is the disruption of the natural rhythms of seasonal succession.  The farm was settling into cool nights and crisp dry days.  The harvest moon was nearly full. The garden was planted with late season crops (kale, carrots, beets and lettuce), the basil was shriveled and senescent, the does frisky with the prospects of finding some love.  The farm crew schemed over barn clean outs, manure spreading and cool-season pasture seeding.  Blood samples were drawn and spreadsheets filled with breeding pairs, all in preparation for fall breeding. 

The does would saunter out to the prairie in early afternoon to browse, no concern did we have for heat stress or exhaustion. The sudden rise in the mercury has upended these halcyon days of autumn. Fans are back on in the barns, cool water is refilled in the stock tanks several times throughout the day, and daily prairie walks occur right after the morning milking. We have reverted back to summer tricks to keep the girls’ milk production from plummeting.

The farm kitchen, abuzz with fall canning, is now the place for perspiration and iced drinks. The heat rising from the jams bubbling in pots or the tomatoes drying in the food dehydrator is no longer welcome. The coolness of the creamery provides respite. 

The scalding sun feels out of place in mid-September. I find it hard to accept the over ‘90’s temperatures more typical of July and August.  There is incongruence with the yellowing corn fields, ears already filled, waiting to dry before harvest.  There is unwillingness to accept that over which we have little control.  There is resentment over readjusting the weekly routine, waiting for the heat to move along and let fall be fall.

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

Saturday is looking promising for excellent farmers’ market shopping weather. Although our repertoire is a bit smaller this week, we have a great special with our feta: 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbes de Provence, cracked pepper-our chevre is so fresh and light; it’s the perfect foil for your salads, soups or stews
  • Tomato chevre-Juliette tomatoes from our garden dried and chopped into our fresh chevre-this cheese captures the sweet heat of summer; enjoy on some hearty multi-grain toast
  • 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.” EARLY FALL SPECIAL-$13 GETS YOU A CONTAINER OF FETA, A SMALL JAR OF HONEY AND A BUNDLE OF FRESH HERBS—all the ingredients you need to make my new favorite “Roasted Feta with Honey” from NY Times Cooking. I will have copies of the recipe to hand out with the special.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. The current batch is aging nicely, with hints of buttered mushroom flavor. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami.
  • Black Goat—our newest batch is young, but it has that lovely dense fudgy texture along with a hint of yeastiness on the palate.  Try it with one of our newest jarred creations-house made pickles or spiced pear butter

Speaking of jarred products, Megan, our newest farm preserver, has been very busy in the farm kitchen of late. She has been making and canning pickled veggies of many stripes (summer squash, cucumbers, gardinier, etc.) as well as jamming.

Her latest creation is spiced (warm spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) pear butter. We will have these available for sale in our farm store as well as the farmers’ market.

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): If you haven't tried our NEW LINE OF WHEY BASED SORBETTOS, ask us for a taste:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate—VERY LIMITED
  • Blueberry Cream—VERY LIMITED
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (Mileur Orchard)-VERY LIMITED

Try a pint from 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 local fruits. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you (the whey contains probiotic cultures and lots of healthful nutrients):

-Red Currant

-Black Currant

-Lime-Mint

-Peach-Bourbon

-Michigan Blueberry

-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, 4-7 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, pickles, salamis, syrups, honey, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Happenings 

The Land Connection's Annual Fundraiser-Chef-Farmer Competition "Artisan Fork & Cup" is Saturday, September 21st. Our cheese will be represented in one of the chef’s prepared dish, so please come out and support a good cause. 

Dinners on the Farm Autumn is a beautiful season to experience one of our farm dinners.  We now have a few seats open for our September 21st “French Midwest Connection." Grab ‘em before they sell out again.

We still have plenty of seats for the dinners in October, November and December, especially our “I Love Pumpkins” dinner with The Great Pumpkin Patch (October 28th). Make your reservations now, before they sell out.

October 20th Italian fall “festa” with Pizza M

Italy in Autumn-the next best thing to being there is a Sunday afternoon at the farm with Pizza M making their famous hand-tossed pies (with all locally-sourced ingredients, including the flour dough), freshly spun nocciola (hazelnut) gelato and lemon sorbetto.

Did I get you at Pizza M or the hazelnut gelato? Either way, we’re selling tickets to this event to make sure we don’t run out of pizza!! Check out the details and grab your “passport” tickets. --visit with the goats --enjoy a hay ride around the farm --peruse our farm shop, and much more….

October 26th and 27th Prairie Fruits Farm’s Third Annual Cider Days

The evocative apple-so enigmatic of fall—crisp, sweet-scented. In the last weekend of October, we celebrate all things apple with a two day festival.  Saturday (1-4 pm), we’ll offer fresh cider to drink, cider-gelato floats and bags of fresh apples from Red Crib Acres. Sunday, 1-5 pm, we’ll offer cider pressing, lots of cider drinks, doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers, hay rides and MORE... Check out the details, and mark your calendars. 

Fall Classes and Tastings

We will be offering our popular cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December.  We may even offer a cheese making class (held in our commercial creamery). Stay tuned for details and registration information. 


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 9/5/2019 9:40pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

There’s a crispness in the air, and the cerulean blue skies dotted with storybook cumulous clouds signal a change in the seasons.  This week, we focused our attention on the bucks. From April to August, the bucks are left mostly to their own devices. We feed and water them daily, and make sure their pasture has plenty of forage to keep them healthy, but we ask almost nothing of them through the dog days of summer.

September changes everything. Like athletes prepping for a race, we begin to get them in shape for breeding season.  They must be in tip top form for their main function on the farm—to breed the does and sire our next crop of kids. We begin to offer them more grain and better quality hay (to supplement their pasture). We give them special vitamins and minerals to bolster their stamina. We trim their hooves, perform routine health checks and even make sure their “working parts” are well, “working.”

On Tuesday, we loaded up our older bucks, Nate, Rik and Lentil, in the back of our pick-up truck and our two new breeding bucklings, Jasper and Zircon (in the back of my very old Toyota Corolla station wagon) and headed down to the vet school for their “breeding soundness exams.” The vets check them head to toe to make sure they are generally healthy and then collect some semen to count sperm and check their motility.  All of our older bucks passed with flying colors, but our two younger sires in waiting proved to be a bit too young for procreating.  This is all just as well, because Jasper and Zircon will not be called into action until November to work their charms on the doelings who will become new mothers next spring.  Everything in its time and its season.  Puberty cannot be rushed.   

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings-Labor Day Weekend

The weather is beginning to feel downright fall-like; perfect for your weekly outing to the farmers' market. We continue to have a fantastic lineup of cheeses this week, including special chevre flavors: 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Roasted poblano chevre-with just a couple of poblano pepper plants in our farm garden, we've been hoarding the peppers until we had enough to roast. These peppers have very slight heat and are loaded with flavor--come early if you want to snag a couple of containers of this seasonal flavor.
  • Tomato chevre-With the cooler nights, tomato ripening is slowing down. If you love this chevre flavor as much as I do, better start stocking up (yes, you can freeze this flavor of chevre just like all of our chevre flavors). 
  • 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 cheese is perfect for a tomato salad, crumbled a top a simple soup or stew or just drizzled with some olive oil and topped with fresh herbs.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. VERY LIMITED (a couple of rounds left)
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. We have a few aged rounds, and then a new (young) batch that will age out nicely in your fridge. Slice over roasted summer veggies (squash, eggplant) or enjoy on a burger or with some local dry-cured salami.
  • Fleur du Prairie—same species of white mold as our “black goat” made in the shape of a square (and cut into triangles). Just as the mold starts to ‘bloom’ on the cheese, we sprinkle a thin layer of dried herbs and edible flowers on top. VERY LIMITED this week
  • Black Goat—our latest batch of ashed rind bloomy is ooey-gooey perfectly ripe. We're running our special one more weekend: Buy 2, get $1 off.  

We've been harvesting some of our apples and pears in the orchard and we actually have enough to bring to market on Saturday. We'll have these for sale at our farm store too. They do have some blemishes (they are organic after all), but they are very tasty. 

--Seckel pears

--Macoun apples

--Mutsu apples

--"Mystery" apple (we don't remember the variety but it's dark crimson in color, crisp and tart)

Enjoy a pint of gelato (3 pint special —Buy 3, get $1/pint off): If you haven't tried our NEW LINE OF WHEY BASED SORBETTOS, ask us for a taste:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • 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 local 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
-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, 4-7 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, pickles, syrups, etc.) or take home some PFFC “merch” (tea towels, aprons, t-shirts, sweat shirts and….)

Other Happenings on and off the farm   

Japan House Matsuri Festival is happening this Sunday, September 8th, 12-9 pm. We will be there, serving gelato to beat the band--our special flavors are matcha gelato and plum shiso sorbetto (made with Damson Plums from Mileur Orchard). When we run out of those flavors, we start serving whatever we have available. We are sharing a booth with Pizza M too. 

The Land Connection's Annual Fundraiser-Chef-Farmer Competition "Artisan Fork & Cup" is Saturday, September 21st. Our cheese will be represented in two chef's prepared dishes, so please come out and support a good cause. 

Dinners on the Farm Fall is beautiful time to experience one of our farm dinners. While our September dinners are sold out, we still have plenty of seats for the dinners in October, November and December. Make your reservations now, before they sell out.

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 Days” on October 27th. Details forthcoming (we should have Facebook event pages posted next week, along with ticket sales for the Pizza M Pop-Up Fall Fest, but for now, save the dates. 

Fall Classes and Tastings

We will be offering our popular cheese tasting and cheese pairings classes (wine/beer/bubbly) in November and December.  We may even offer a cheese making class (held in our commercial creamery). Stay tuned for details and registration information.


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 8/29/2019 9:56pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

I flew solo this week, while Wes went to visit his family in Oregon. This being a farm, things tend to break routinely; yet, the frequency seems to escalate when Wes goes away. Over the years, as I have embraced my inner farmer, I have gradually let go of my fears of trying to fix things that break. My instincts to call Wes as soon as something breaks have given way to taking pause, determining how I might be able to repair it, and then finding the right tool.

Learning what tools to use did not come easy to me.  I barely new the difference between a Phillips head and a flat screw driver.  All things electrical-forget it.  I didn't understand the concept of circuit breakers or that they could be overloaded if you plug too many things into the same outlet.  Now I approach broken things in a scientific way--getting to the root cause of the problem, trying to solve the mystery of how it broke or why it doesn't work.  There is satisfaction in fixing it, just like there is satisfaction in a perfect cheese rind.

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings-Labor Day Weekend

The weather is great again for you farmers’ market shoppers and for those looking for a weekend outing to the farm. We continue to have a fantastic lineup of cheeses this week, including special chevre flavors and fleur du prairie: 

  • 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.”
  • 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. This is our final batch of Angel Food of the season, so grab a couple of rounds before they’re gone.
  • 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.
  • Fleur du Prairie—same species of white mold as our “black goat” made in the shape of a square (and cut into triangles). Just as the mold starts to ‘bloom’ on the cheese, we sprinkle a thin layer of dried herbs and edible flowers on top. The cheese is both gorgeous and savory delicious.
  • Black Goat—our latest batch of ashed rind bloomy is ooey-gooey perfectly ripe. Labor Day weekend special: Buy 2, get $1 off.  

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
  • 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 local 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
-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, 4-7 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. 

Check out our new “house-made” pickled patty pan squash. They are take on “bread & butter” pickles. They’re delicious on their own, but make a great accompaniment to our cheeses!

pickled pattypan squash

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   

 

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” THIS SATURDAY, August 31st. Chef Raquel will be preparing most of the meal "table side" from our wood-fired grill. 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; several are already sold out.

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 Days” 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 8/22/2019 9:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

 “Be careful what you wish for;” an overused refrain of weather obsessed farmers. When the incessant spring rains left our fields flooded in June, we wished for no more rain. The rains subsided in late June/early July and did not return.  When thunderstorms were predicted, we would watch the radar with hope and expectation, only to see the storms track north or south of us, time after time. At last, on Tuesday, a giant line of thunderstorms, stretching north to south along the state, appeared on the horizon, promising certain deluge (and even a tornado or two).

As the skies blackened to the west, the tornado warning sirens going off on everyone’s cellphones, we battened down the hatches. We closed up the goat barns, tested the farm generator to make sure we wouldn’t lose power, pulled inside anything that might blow and huddled in rooms with no windows.  The high winds arrived first, ushering in the pelleting rain. As the storm passed over us, we waited, holding our breaths, hoping the warnings of tornadoes were false.  After a while, the winds subsided and the rain persisted. It was clear that we had dodged the severest parts of the storm. 

Seeing only a few puddles in the driveway, my first impulse upon setting foot outside was to check the rain gauge—only ½ an inch-not enough to close the cracks in the soil, but enough to revive the dormant grass and quench the thirst of the garden plants.  While small in quantity, the impact of much-needed rain on the farm is profound.  The pasture will start to grow again, we might even be able to seed some fall forages.  The tomatoes are swelling (and cracking), and the orb spiders have set up a multitude of webs between the unruly vines.  Their abdomens are swollen with the booty of unsuspecting victims eager to lap up the vegetation’s raindrops. 

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. In fact, it might be feeling a bit like early fall. We have a fantastic lineup of cheeses this week, including special chevre flavors and fleur du prairie: 

  • 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.”
  • 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. This is our final batch of Angel Food of the season, so grab a couple of rounds before they’re gone.
  • 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.
  • Fleur du Prairie—same species of white mold as our “black goat” made in the shape of a square (and cut into triangles). Just as the mold starts to ‘bloom’ on the cheese, we sprinkle a thin layer of dried herbs and edible flowers on top. The cheese is both gorgeous and savory delicious.
  • Black Goat—our latest batch of ashed rind bloomy is young, but aging fast with hint of gooeyness and robust 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
  • 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 local 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
-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. 

Check out our new “house-made” pickled patty pan squash. They are take on “bread & butter” pickles. They’re delicious on their own, but make a great accompaniment to our cheeses!

pickled pattypan squash

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   

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his next "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend August 24th and 25th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  Michael Darin, our event coordinator, will lead 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.     

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; several are already sold out.

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

new header

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.