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All about the bucks, Market Offerings, Farm Happenings

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

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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
-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.